Not getting enough sleep? You're probably on Facebook, says new study
Feb 12, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
Feb 12, 2016 12:00 am
In a recent study conducted at the University of California, Irvine, researchers found that a lack of sleep is linked to a higher level of online browsing, including checking social media websites such as Facebook. Investigating how sleep duration affects internet use, rather than how internet use affects sleep, the team recruited 76 UCI students and monitored them for a one-week period. Using logging software, the team monitored participants' computers and smartphones to see how often they spoke on the phone, texted, or used applications. Participants were also asked to complete a survey every morning reporting on their sleep, and to complete an end-of-day survey at night.
After accounting for factors such as gender, age, university work load, and course deadlines, the results showed a direct connection between a chronic lack of sleep, a cranky mood, lower productivity, with more time spent checking Facebook. The researchers also found that insufficient sleep leads people to be more easily distracted, with their attention flicking between different computer screens and apps. "When you get less sleep, you're more prone to distraction," said lead researcher Gloria Mark, "and if you're distracted, what you do? You go to Facebook. It's lightweight, it's easy, and you're tired." The study's findings will be presented at CHI2016, a leading computer-human interaction conference held in May in San Jose, California.
The effect of technology on quality of sleep has been shown in many previous studies, with a study published last month in the Journal of Child Neurology finding that teenagers who continue to text at night after they have switched out the lights experience poorer sleep and receive lower grades than those who text with the lights on. The study found once the lights go out, the "blue light" emitted from smartphones and tablets is intensified in the dark, delaying the release of melatonin, the hormone that makes one feel sleepy, disrupting sleep patterns and quality.
Blue light can affect the release of melatonin and our sleep, even if emitted from the phone while eyelids are closed.