The association between social media use and sleep disturbance among young adults

Levenson J.C., Shensa A., Sidani J.E., Colditz J.B., & Primack B.A. (2016). The association between social media use and sleep disturbance among young adults. Preventive Medicine, 85, 36-41. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2016.01.001


Introduction: Many factors contribute to sleep disturbance among young adults. Social media (SM) use is increasing rapidly, and little is known regarding its association with sleep disturbance.

Methods: In 2014 we assessed a nationally representative sample of 1788 U.S. young adults ages 19–32. SM volume and frequency were assessed by self-reported minutes per day spent on SM (volume) and visits per week (frequency) using items adapted from the Pew Internet Research Questionnaire. We assessed sleep disturbance using the brief Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS®) sleep disturbance measure. Analyses performed in Pittsburgh utilized chi-square tests and ordered logistic regression using sample weights in order to estimate effects for the total U.S. population.

Results: In models that adjusted for all sociodemographic covariates, participants with higher SM use volume and frequency had significantly greater odds of having sleep disturbance. For example, compared with those in the lowest quartile of SM use per day, those in the highest quartile had an AOR of 1.95 (95% CI = 1.37–2.79) for sleep disturbance. Similarly, compared with those in the lowest quartile of SM use frequency per week, those in the highest quartile had an AOR of 2.92 (95% CI = 1.97–4.32) for sleep disturbance. All associations demonstrated a significant linear trend.

Discussion: The strong association between SM use and sleep disturbance has important clinical implications for the health and well-being of young adults. Future work should aim to assess directionality and to better understand the influence of contextual factors associated with SM use.

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