MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jean-Philippe Chaput, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Ottawa
Research Scientist, Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group
Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: No studies to date have examined the association between social media use (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and sleep duration in a representative sample of middle and high school students, who are a vulnerable age group that has reported high levels of social media use and insufficient sleep.
Our findings suggest an important association between the use of social media and short sleep duration among student aged 11-20 years. Using social media for at least one hour per day was associated with short sleep duration in a dose-response manner.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: The fact that only one hour of social media use per day may negatively influence sleep is not trivial. It is possible that insufficient sleep also results in heavy use of social media (bidirectional relationship), highlighting the possibility of a vicious circle.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Mechanisms underlying the association between social media use and insufficient sleep remain unclear. These can include the direct displacement of sleep duration by social media, generally related to late-night use, which could shift the circadian rhythm towards a later mid-point of sleep and increase mental and physiological arousal before bedtime, which could delay sleep onset. It is also increasingly recognized that the blue light of screen suppresses melatonin secretion, resulting in a desynchronization of the circadian rhythm. Future research would need to determine whether the adverse effects of social media use on sleep patterns are similar to those observed with other electronic screen devices (e.g., TV or computers) in order to come up with promising intervention strategies.
No conflicts of interest to disclose
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