TORONTO: One hour a day on social media can derail your sleeping pattern, a new study warns.
The report by Canadian researchers was commissioned to assess why so many young people struggle to sleep eight hours.
They found the root problem to be social media: those who spent at least 60 minutes on WhatsApp, Facebook or Snapchat suffered more sleep issues than those who did not.
The more time they used the apps and sites, the less sleep they got.
The study found that teenage girls were the most addicted to social media and, therefore, more likely to be sleep deprived, but it affects boys just the same.
Canadian researchers said the findings were important as social media has grown rapidly, children and teenagers are more likely to use the new technology and develop and consolidate bad habits which they carry on as adults.
Previous studies found poor sleep has been linked to poor academic performance, and those most likely to be sleep deprived were older teens, boys, those who did less exercise or had poor mental health.
Experts suggest those aged six to 13 should get between nine and 11 hours a night, those aged 14 to 17 eight to 10 hours and those at over 18 at least seven to nine hours to maximize overall health and well-being.
Senior author Dr Jean-Philippe Chaput of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute elaborated, “Sleep is an essential component of healthy development and an important contributor to physical health and mental health.”
“However, insufficient sleep has become widespread among adolescents over the last few decades. Insufficient sleep among adolescents has often been attributed to factors such as artificial light, caffeine use, no bedtime rules in the household and the increased availability of information and communication technology.”
Dr Chaput added: ‘We observed that social media use was associated with greater odds of short sleep duration in a dose-response manner.
“Importantly, significant associations were found when social media use exceeded one hour per day, suggesting that even this level of social media may be negatively associated with sleep duration.”
“Although females spent significantly more time using social media than males, the relationship between the use of social media and sleep duration did not differ by sex.”
“The impact social media can have on sleep patterns is a topic of great interest given the well-known adverse effects of sleep deprivation on health.”
“Electronic screen devices are pervasive in today’s society and we are just starting to understand their risks and benefits.’”