Why too much social media usage is making teens sleep-deprived

Staying plugged in until the moment you hit the hay is unhealthy for everyone, but one age group is especially impacted: teenagers. Researchers in Australia report that too much social media usage is making teens sleep-deprived for several important reasons.

Teens require more sleep than adults — approximately 8 to 10 hours compared to the 7 to 8 hours needed by most adults. So, they miss out on much-needed shut-eye while browsing Instagram and Facebook into the wee hours. Furthermore, teenagers, more likely than adults, feel pressured to not miss out on anything — so they'll sacrifice sleep in favor of staying connected with their friends through social media.


According to sleep physician Dr. Chris Seton, this combination creates a perfect storm. “The screens not only take away sleep because they take up time, but they make kids more wakeful, and the more wakeful they are, the more activity they do, so it’s a vicious cycle,” he explained, as reported by ABC Australia.

And the problem is only getting worse — complaints of inadequate sleep among 18 to 24-year-olds have increased rapidly over the past six years. Sixty percent of people in this age range are sleep deprived, and there's evidence that it's increased the risk of behavioral problems among teens and young adults.


Our physical and mental health is dependent on getting sufficient sleep — so, although teens are the most impacted age group, we could all take a lesson from this study and make a conscious effort to disengage from social media at night. Our bodies and minds will be eternally grateful.

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