Even world leaders tweet from bed these days, but that doesn’t mean you should. Sleep experts agree that there are few worse combinations than sleep and social media, but that doesn’t seem to be making a dent in Australia’s social media habits. Worryingly, 66% of Australian adults aged 18-31 access social media immediately before bed (that number is almost four out of ten for the general population). Here’s why we all need to work on curbing this unfortunate habit.
It can make you more anxious and depressed
Using social media increases the risk of anxiety and depression in young adults. It really makes sense when you think about it—scrolling through other people’s carefully curated social media personas is not exactly relaxing or confidence-inducing.
Your body can’t distinguish between LED light and sunlight
The blue light generated by your electronic devices wrecks havoc on your body’s ability to wind down. Special receptors in your eyes pick up the LED light and relay it to your body as though it was natural sunlight, confusing your delicate hormonal system into increasing your physical arousal levels, which is exactly the opposite of you want immediately before going to sleep. Activating nighttime filters like the "Night Shift" mode featured in iOS devices is better than nothing, but it’s far better to just switch to analog forms of entertainment when you’re trying to fall asleep.
You might make riskier decisions with regard to what you post
Some studies have shown that the later it is in the day, the quicker and riskier your decisions are. It follows that you may be a little more brazen about responding to a message or sharing a controversial post.
It messes with your bedtime routine
One of the best things you can do for the quality of your sleep is to establish a relaxing, consistent bedtime routine. Consistent is the key word here, and social media is anything but predictable. When you’re scrolling through Instagram on your mobile device, you open yourself up to text messages, emails, Instagram direct messages, Facebook messages, and so on. Take control of your bedtime routine by establishing a strict cut-off time from these services (as long as your job and personal life permits it).