Social media usage is on the rise, as is stress, and lack of sleep. In this article, we will highlight the link between the use of social media leading to stress which, in turn, causes insomnia. Overexposure to social media triggers a continuous cycle of emotional and mental strain which culminates in insomnia.
“We’re competing against …technology …It’s so addictive and so hard to compete with…We’ve had this natural experiment with the Internet that swamped everything else.”
Are You a Slave to Social Media?
Social media (SM) holds billions of people in its grip. Currently, over 4 billion users have social media accounts. Facebook leads all social media with well over 2 billion users. YouTube follows on its heels, also at over 2 billion. Third, in the top 3 is WhatsApp with more than 1.5 billion users. Predictions show that by 2020 the total usage will be over 0.5 billion more users than at present.
In a report, which takes its data from several sources, statistics show that South Africans spend close to 3 hours a day on SM. Generally, teens spend much more time on SM than adults do. Adults and teens already have busy lives even without the time they spend on social media. Time spent on social media equals less time for real interactions and sleep, which results in more stress.
If SM is taking your time away from time to rest, you may be one of its billions of slaves. Set yourself free from social media and reduce stress by increasing time for precious sleep.
Social Media Interaction Causing Isolation and Stress
Online interactions often exacerbate a feeling of isolation and science links social media usage with higher stress levels. Social isolation leads to stress, anxiety and depression. On social media, people reveal only that which they wish to reveal. They sculpt a life that is an airbrushed version of their day to day reality. Most people want their social media contacts to see them as perfectly happy and successful.
When looking at the posts of others, you may begin to feel inadequate. You may feel that both you and your life are sub-par when you compare yourself to others. Stress, depression and anxiety often follow. Neither of these states are contributory to a peaceful sleep.
Disconnection and Addiction
A sense of disconnection adds to stress. Since human beings are social creatures, they need meaningful contact for emotional health. In fact, a face to face connection with others releases stress which may otherwise lead to depression. In modern times, many people work long hours and are then too tired to make the effort to go see their friends. This is especially true for those who have access to online relationships.
Aside from a few important benefits, such as keeping in touch with friends and family far away, social media is addictive. Therefore, it is damaging for the most part. Participants get dopamine, serotonin and even adrenalin hormone fix as a result of their online interactions. These feel-good hormones are apparently as addictive as drugs! Unlike using drugs, however, is being on social media a socially acceptable form of behaviour. Consequently, developing a dependency on your online relationships provides round the clock hormonal boosts.
This is precisely why people allow online interactions to rob them of their quiet time. This time is so necessary to prepare the mind for sleep at the end of a busy day. Time for proper sleep hygiene goes out the window. Upgrade your sense of connectedness by reducing your interactions on social media whilst simultaneously reducing stress and increasing sleep.
Sleep Deprivation and Social Media
Without winding down before bed, neither body nor mind is in the right condition for deep sleep. In fact, the blue light from an electronic device stimulates the production of the hormones that keep you awake. This is a factor that plays a big role as to why over 30 percent of adults experience sleep issues.
In addition, people allow social media to infringe on actual time spent sleeping. There are certain processes that happen only during sleep and a loss of shut-eye has mental, emotional and physical consequences. Even dread disease is linked to sleep deprivation. Sleep is a physical and mental restorative. Getting less sleep is very stressful on your body and mind. It is not worth jeopardizing your health for social media interactions.
The most obvious advantage of social media is that it allows the convenience of a form of contact regardless of time, space or energy levels. Naturally, this is practical when there is a group of friends involved who live at a distance from one another. In this instance, however, a group video call where each participant can see the others is a far healthier option.
Connecting with your friends from far away in this manner is more emotionally real and satisfying than doing so on a faceless social media account or via unrealistic photographs. Feeling good about yourself and your connections always leads to a happier mood and, in turn, deeper sleep.
“To touch can be to give life” Michelangelo
The truth is that humans are meant to have a face to face social interaction. When people are in the same space as together, they can pick up subtle nuances that social media interaction lacks. In addition to this will a touch on the arm or a hug provide the physical contact that is essential for emotional wellbeing and development.
Connecting socially face to face, elevates your feel-good hormones, your social skills and your feelings of true connection to the human race. Feeling at one with others is calming and sleep is easier to embrace. So, take those all important steps and give yourself more time. Communicate face to face, reduce social media, eliminate stress and sleep well!