Put your phone down and go to sleep

February 15, 2022 Sean Carey
New research shows social media scrolling before bed can hurt your sleep quality. So even if you log 8 hours of ZZZ's, you might not feel rested.

I recently came across some interesting research by Sleep Junkie that highlights the impacts of different social media apps on sleep hygiene. Spoiler: It’s not good news. 

This may not be a surprise to you. The deleterious effects of blue light on average hours of sleep are well documented, and I hope by now we’re all familiar with the ways to reduce these effects—like using dark mode options on smartphones at night when available. 

What I found really interesting wasn’t their data that showed it took longer for people to fall asleep after using social media. What stuck out here was that they also measured the impact on quality of sleep. 

The most restorative parts of our sleep cycles are spent in REM sleep. While a healthy sleep cycle is spent about 20-25% in REM, the use of social media right before bedtime was shown to reduce that percentage significantly, with TikTok being the biggest offender at just 14% REM. 

As a member of the social media and communications team, you’d probably think I’d want to move on, pretend I never saw this and definitely not share it with you, right? I mean don’t we just want more clicks and views from you on our amazing content? 

Of course we do. We’re proud of what we put out on our corporate channels—and following our experts like Liz Ann SondersJeffrey Kleintop, and JJ Kinahan on Twitter is highly recommended. But we also want you to be well rested enough to take in what you’re seeing and make smart decisions!

The short and sweet version:

It’s okay to use social media, just use blue-light reduction tools and give yourself a buffer between screen time and bedtime. Endless scrolling at bedtime leads to poor sleep quality. Poor sleep quality leads to a tired and unhealthy you.

The even shorter version:

Count sheep, not likes.