Is your “online self” more extravagant and deliberate than your “real self?” Are you under pressure to be perfect socially? Do you want to be socially “on” every minute? Do you shiver from social FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)? If the answers to all these are positive, you are probably addicted to social media, and its influence over you is inexplicable.
Today, the “online self” has become an idealized self which we want others to see, rather than be our usual self. These fictitious images feed into society’s standards on everything from beauty to behavior.
An unrealistic comparison develops within the mind – of being inferior, being lesser individuals, not good enough a person – which ultimately pushes a socially active individual to become a victim of depression, anxiety, and poor self-image.
Social media has become an inseparable part of a person’s life, an information sharing system and a way to stay perpetually connected. Social media is undoubtedly a boon to humankind, but excessive use of it makes people, especially teens, obsessed.
According to a report published on medicalnewstoday.com in 2015, on an average, Americans spent 7.6 hours a month on social media and majority of them accessed it via cell phones.
Teen and young adults are ardent users of social media today. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh examined social media use and sleep in a group of young adults in February 2016 and found that heavier users of social media are significantly more likely to experience sleep disturbances.
The analysis also showed a strong correlation between social media use and sleep disruption. Among participants, heavier volume and frequency of social media interaction was associated with significantly greater likelihood of sleep problems. The top 25 percent of heaviest users of social media have nearly two times sleep disruption as those in the lowest 25 percent. Among the most frequent social media users, the top 25 percent have nearly three times the risk of sleep disturbances as compared to those in the lowest 25 percent.
Impact of social media on sleep
Researchers are studying the impact of social media on human health. The latest research is one of the first studies to draw a link between social media engagement and risk of sleep disturbance. However, other scientific studies have shown social media to be a catalyst in sleep distortions and aggravating mental health problems.
Students who surf social media sites during sleeping hours are more likely to suffer from lethargy during daytime and in due course endure cognitive impairment. Most of the teenagers and adults tend to keep their phones beside their pillows or near their beds and tend to check status messages every now and then at night. Such people are prone to undertake sleep medications and get depressed or are overwhelmed if they don’t get significant response to their updates and messages.
Being too much social media frenzy can lower self-esteem and elevate levels of anxiety and depression among teens. According to experts, social media affects the psychological condition of children and young people. In fact, many teens are becoming victims of cyber-bullying due to excessive use of social media.
Depression and sleep have a bi-directional relationship, sometimes even complicating mental conditions of an individual. Each can significantly influence the other. People with depression often have trouble sleeping, and sleeping problems make them vulnerable to depression.
Road to recovery
It is a fact that excessive use of social media cannot give you a healthy mind and body. Though the exact effects are to be known, several researches have shown social media to cause depression, anxiety and sleep disturbances among teens and adults.
If you or your loved one is a social media addict which is taking a toll on your or his/her mental health, the Florida Mental Health Helpline can help you connect to experts. Please chat online or call 866-846-5588 for assistance. Let social media be an informational and recreational tool, not a cause for your unsettling mental health.