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A recent study found how social media use can cause sleep troubles.

A recent study found how social media use can cause sleep troubles.

Social media has come in handy for so many reasons, but it's also possibly disrupting your sleep. According to some new research, which will be available in the April print issue of the journal Preventive Medicine, young adults who spend too much time using social media are more likely to experience troubled sleep.

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine analyzed the social media use and sleep patterns of 1,800 Americans from the ages of 19 to 32. The results showed that the participants spend an average of 61 minutes a day on social media and visit social media sites, like Facebook and Instagram, 30 times a week. The researchers also uncovered that 30 percent of the study participants also reported suffering from sleep disturbances.

While the study didn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship between sleep problems and social media, it was able to conclude that participants who spent the most time on social media were twice as likely to have troubled sleep compared to those who spent less time. The study also found that people who checked social media sites more frequently throughout the week were three times as likely to have poor sleep than those who checked the least often. Jessica Levenson, a postdoctoral researcher in psychiatry at the university, said in a news release that this is the first study to provide evidence that social media use can affect sleep, particularly for the first generation to grow up with social media.

Dr. Brian Primack, the study's lead author and director of the university's Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health, explained the number of reasons why excessive social media usage could disturb sleep. It can replace sleep, cause emotional/mental/physical reactions that disturb sleep, or the circadian rhythm can be delayed by the bright light of devices used to browse social media sites. Primack added that some young adults use social media when they can't fall asleep or get back to sleep, which creates a vicious cycle.

"Difficulty sleeping may lead to increased use of social media, which may in turn lead to more problems sleeping," he said in the news release. "This cycle may be particularly problematic with social media because many forms involve interactive screen time that is stimulating and rewarding and, therefore, potentially detrimental to sleep."

The study comes after other recent research from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School found that texting at night can impact not only sleep but also performance in school. Both findings suggest that limiting use of technology before bedtime could offer a solution to many sleep issues. 

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