The One Mistake You Make Before Bed That Keeps You Awake For HOURS, According To Scientists
Late-night caffeine and midnight parties are known to disrupt our sleep, but experts warn there’s something else driving restless nights.
Posting on social media shortly before bedtime can delay the time it takes people to fall asleep by up to three hours, according to a Duke University study.
Researchers of 50,000 people found that those who posted on social media within an hour of bedtime were almost twice as likely to stay up late.
Those who posted multiple times shortly before bed were also more likely to stay up late at night than those who posted just once.
Getting likes and comments is believed to cause an adrenaline rush that blocks sleep hormones. Exposure to blue light from our phones is also known to disrupt the sleep cycle.
Posting on social media an hour before bedtime makes someone stay up later, study finds (file image)
Dr. William Meyerson, a data scientist who led the research said Sun: “This could be the result of several factors, from screen lights disrupting the circadian rhythm to anticipation of a response,” he said.
“Reddit users are more likely to stay up past bedtime and post at night when they posted an hour before bed, especially if they were active on high-engagement forums.”
For the study, published this month in the journal sleep medicinethe researchers analyzed data from 51,000 people who used Reddit.
They looked at 236 million user-published posts between 2005, when the platform was created, and 2021.
The scientists used a model to estimate users’ bedtimes based on the timestamps of their Reddit posts.
They then analyzed data from when users posted within an hour of their average bedtime compared to nights when they posted much earlier to find out if their bedtime was delayed.
The results showed that on nights when users first posted early in the evening, only about six percent were still posting past their estimated bedtime.
The data also showed that when users posted a post late at night, 10 percent were still posting after they went to bed.
But when they posted four or more posts late at night, 23 percent were still posting after they normally fell asleep.
The researchers wrote in the study: “We observed that users were much more likely to stay on Reddit one to three hours past their respective estimated average bedtimes on nights when their last Reddit posts before bedtime were within one hour from your estimated average bedtime. ‘
Researchers have long warned that late-night screen use can keep someone awake because it disrupts the circadian rhythm, or the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
At night, when the sun goes down, levels of melatonin, the sleep hormone, start to rise in the brain, making us feel drowsy.
But being exposed to blue light from screens can suppress the release of the hormone.
Posting on social media late at night could also disrupt sleep because it can leave you with a feeling of anticipation.
Many will wait for notifications in response to their post, each triggering a release of dopamine, the feel-good hormone, in the brain.
This increases mental activity and alertness, making relaxation more difficult and delaying the rest needed before bed.
Limitations of the study included that it was based on estimated average bedtime, rather than user reports.
It also couldn’t account for people passively consuming social media or viewing and reading posts without commenting.