Are You Losing Sleep Over Social Media?

If you’re like me and have scrolled past this TikTok late at night while binging on TikToks, we may have the same issue when it comes to not being able to put our phones down before going to sleep. As I reflect upon my digital usage and the amount of time I spend a day on my phone, I feel that my biggest concern is how it is affecting my sleep. I am someone who says they’re going to bed between 10:30 and 11 PM every night, yet I find myself browsing social media until 12 or 12:30 AM. As research has shown, using a phone at night can impact your health as it keeps your mind psychologically engaged late at night, the blue-light from the screen suppresses melatonin, and it can lead to distracting emotions, thoughts and anxieties.

I am someone who only has notifications turned on for phone calls, texts, and school emails, so I don’t find myself using my phone as much during the day, but this causes me to spend a ton of time at night catching up on Instagram posts that were posted by friends throughout the day, spending hours watching TikToks, or scrolling through Twitter to see what’s going on in the world. While I don’t want to drastically increase my digital usage during the day, I do want to shift the time that I am on my phone to an earlier time. If it were normal times and I was able to interact with more people in-person, I do feel that I would not use as much of my time to catch up on what others are doing on social media, but I do want to stay connected. Instead of binging on these apps at night, I could begin allotting 15 minutes for 3 different times throughout the day to check social media and catch up on what is going on so I can continue to stay connected while still setting boundaries.

While I don’t think I would participate in a 30-day cleanse, especially during the pandemic, I have taken steps to stop using some social media apps such as Facebook because of the stress it was causing me in regard to a lot of ignorant posts I was seeing. Although I do believe I should be more conscious of the apps I am using and how they make me feel. This is important, especially if I find myself using my phone late at night because if I am stressing over a post that I saw before going to sleep that may keep me up later because of the distracting thoughts.

So how can I reduce the amount of time I am spending on my phone before bed? While turning off my phone is one option, the issue is that I use my phone as my alarm clock in the morning. Another option, that I plan on attempting, is keeping my phone out of reach and putting it on my dresser to charge at night rather than on my night stand which is next to my bed. This is something that I will have to continue to do so that it becomes a habit and if you have the same issue as me, I encourage you to do the same.



University of Minnesota

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