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Teens are literally losing sleep over social media

Researchers from the Eastern Ontario Research Institute have found a link between social media use and sleep deprivation in teens. The study was focused on over 5,000 Canadian students between the ages of 11 and 20. The experts demonstrated that greater use of social media directly corresponded with a lack of sleep.

This research adds to a growing collection of evidence that screen time is having a negative effect on young adults. For example, a recent analysis from San Diego State University revealed that students who spent more time online were less happy than those who engaged more often in non-screen activities. The researchers believe that screen time is driving unhappiness, and not the other way around.

For the current study, 63.6 percent of participants reported sleeping less than recommended, while 73.4 percent of students reported using social media for at least one hour per day.

In a separate study, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that sleep deprivation lowers activity in the brain’s reward system. They demonstrated that a chronic lack of sleep drives both depression and addiction, particularly in teens. In addition, sleep deprivation can cause major health issues including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
“The impact social media can have on sleep patterns is a topic of great interest given the well-known adverse effects of sleep deprivation on health,” said senior author Dr. Jean-Philippe Chaput. “Electronic screen devices are pervasive in today’s society and we are just starting to understand their risks and benefits.”

The current study is published in the journal Acta Paediatrica.

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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