Right. Where were we?
According to new research, if you have trouble sleeping, you’re probably feeling that pretty hard right now. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), looked at how we use technology when we’re short on sleep.
“There have been lots of studies on how information technology affects sleep. We did the opposite: We looked at how sleep duration influences IT usage,” said lead researcher Gloria Mark in a release.
76 UCI undergraduates took part in a study that involved automatically logging their computer and smartphone usage, filling out a daily sleep surveys, and recording their moods every night. The study controlled for gender, age, course load and deadlines.
Participants were asked questions regarding their mood, the perceived difficulty of whatever task they were working on, and their level of engagement in their work.
Mark will present the full findings this spring at ACM CHI 2016, a conference for human-computer interaction, but she has already revealed that the study’s findings show a direct connection between chronic lack of sleep, worsening mood, and increased Facebook browsing. The less sleep participants had, the more they also shifted their attention between computer screens.
“When you get less sleep, you’re more prone to distraction,” Mark said. “If you’re being distracted, what do you do? You go to Facebook. It’s lightweight, it’s easy, and you’re tired.”
If you find yourself spending a lot of time listlessly browsing your social feeds, it might not say much about your work ethic, mental health or appreciation for the minutia of your friends’ days. You might just need more sleep.
Of course, that may also be easier said than done. Depression and anxiety are both tied to insomnia and poor sleep, as are other mental health issues. If you’re suffering from insomnia, talk to your doctor. If you just need a little help getting more rest, try making sleep hygiene a priority.
Better health and mood aside, if it means less time numbly scrolling through Facebook, a good night’s sleep would be well worth it.