Are we really getting enough sleep? It’s a question that we ask time and again on our blog. As we wind down the days leading to the end of the year, you might be looking back and wondering how you came to be so tired. Was it just a lot of work that has you worn out? Or could it be a distinct lack of sleep due to other factors that has you exhausted?
While you might have bought a new bed in 2017, and while it might have somewhat changed your sleep, a new bed is not enough to have you completely rested if you have outside factors affecting your sleep. Stress remains one of the biggest reasons for our nightly tossing and turning. And now that the end of the year is upon us, not only are we stressed but we are also tired, which makes sleeping even more difficult to come by.
But what if stress is not the only thing keeping us up? What if being overly tired is not the only other factor keeping us awake?
We all know by now that without the right amount of sleep every night, our lives can be profoundly affected. When you are not getting enough sleep, not only are you going to feel like the walking dead, but you are also unwittingly making yourself more prone to anxiety, depression and a myriad of other health-related issues.
As we age and grow older, we tend to struggle to sleep. But recent research is showing us that this fatigue, which is generally only experienced by older people, is now affecting people of all age groups and all backgrounds.
And the cause, the blame of all this fatigue, is being placed squarely on modern living and social media.
Numerous medical professionals have agreed that social media such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter can burn you out when you are using these platforms in a consistently, unhealthy way.
Many studies have been done on the effects of social media on day to day life. Time and again, social media has been linked to depression, anxiety and all sorts of unwanted moodiness. Users of these platforms also experience higher levels of stress, which in turn affects sleep.
But why does social media have this effect?
Why does social media cause depression? Why does social media cause anxiety? Why does social media make me feel so lonely? These are just some of the most common search terms among people looking for answers about the effects of social media.
So why does social media cause depression and stress?
Some will say it is the instant gratification, a warm fuzzy feeling of being acknowledged, and cheered on, by your online peers. What happens when the constant applause dies? Researchers have found that those who spend extensive amounts of time on social media can possibly experience negative mental health-related side effects.
These side effects of social media engagement then create stress, which in turn has a direct effect on the quality of your sleep, not to mention the effect on your overall well-being and day to day moods. Social media can be mentally exhausting as well. Having to constantly be connected to the online world, whether via your smartphone or via a laptop or desktop computer, that constant connection is mentally fatiguing. Then there is the blue light that is going to affect the production of melatonin which is the sleep hormone that helps you to not only fall asleep but to stay asleep.
The studies into the effects of social media go back to those early years when we all first became interconnected via the online platform. Today, it is very difficult to imagine a world without social media. Our generation is the last to remember what life was like without the internet, and we are the last to know how to turn off. But many of us are very much attached to our social media, and as a result, many of us are now experiencing the effects.
There are a couple of reasons why social media can be blamed for causing stress; these are the 2 biggest:
Keeping up appearances
We are only human. So it is not surprising then that we have a habit of comparing our lives to the lives of those around us. And when we can’t compete, when that life looks better than our own, it can have a harmful effect on our mental health, and thus lead to stress. We forget, however, that people only share the good things on social media. At the end of the day, we are all quite similar, even if you drive a better car than me, you probably have many problems that you don’t care to share on your social media.
A lack of perspective and privacy
If you should feel compelled to share images of your next meal, or should you feel like you have to share your most intimate thoughts for a few ego boosting likes, then you are probably not even taking into consideration the amount of privacy you are sacrificing every time you hit send. Most times, what we post is constructed to improve our appearance with our peers while also competing with them. So we overshare and when others’ lives look better than our own, even after oversharing, we get stressed.
Anxiety in the younger generation
And so, being constantly connected and always sharing something, our younger generation is burning out fast. So fast, that not even a comfortable new bed can do the trick. Young adults are addicted to checking their social media at all hours of the day and night, craving the hollow interactions and the meaningless likes.
Social media makes them impulsive, and it gives them a constant sense of urgency. This leads to stress and anxiety which is, without a doubt, affecting sleep.