Social media use before bed is associated with greater insomnia, according to research recently presented at SLEEP 2022, held from June 5 through June 8, 2022, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Prior studies indicate the use of digital devices before bed can harm the circadian rhythm and sleep, but few studies have explored social media use in relation to insomnia. Social media use during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic could have introduced more stressors with the availability of negative content and known correlations with depression and anxiety, the researchers noted. The objective of this study was to analyze how social media use before bed influenced various forms of insomnia in the first few months of the pandemic.
The investigators surveyed 4138 adults (aged mean 45.8 years 79% women) across the United States from April through June 2020. They measured social media use before bed by asking participants “How often do you use social media in the 15 minutes before you go to sleep?” in terms of the number of days per week. Participants completed retrospective, past-month sleep diaries and the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI).
Regression analyses indicated social media use before bed was associated with greater ISI scores (b=0.25 t=8.0 P <.001). Individuals who used social media before bed daily reported a mean 9.5 ISI score and a mean 37.5 minutes of sleep latency while individuals who reported never using social media before bed reported a mean 7.7 score and a mean 27.9 minutes of sleep latency.
“The present data supports that social media use before bed is related to insomnia symptoms, specifically difficulty with sleep initiation,” the researchers said. “These findings are significant as they may help us understand which aspects of insomnia are most vulnerable to the negative impact of online social interactions, especially during a highly stressful period, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Snyder H, Walker J, Bell J, Egeler M, Hire V, Vargas I. Does social media use before bed lead to sleep continuity disturbance? Presented at SLEEP 2022; June 4-8; Charlotte, North Carolina. Abstract 433.