Health News – A new study sheds light on the negative relationship between bedtime media use, duration of sleep, and sleep quality. It also claims that such sleep disruptions can lead to serious disorders like obesity and depression.
Researchers have suggested ways in which bedtime media use can be regulated to avoid disruption of sleep.
They combined a media diary methodology with electroencephalography (EEG) to understand the relationship between sleep and media use before bed, such as browsing the internet or YouTube, watching television, listening to music, etc.
The study, now published in the Journal of Sleep Research, had 58 participants, aged 19–66 years, associated with Michigan State University. The 3-day sleep and media diary study was conducted in two phases.
In the first phase, the participants kept “media diaries” for three days. They recorded information, such as media usage before bed, time spent in media session before bed, location, and multitasking before media use.
In the second phase, the participants wore EEG sleep monitors to bed at home. The device used small metal discs attached to the scalp to detect brain activity during sleeping hours. The monitors captured parameters like total sleep time, onset of bedtime, and sleep quality.
The findings reveal that bedtime media use is generally linked to early bedtime and it does not affect sleep quality. But, it is the duration of media sessions and the habit of multitasking that actually impact total sleep duration.
According to the results, if a person does not multitask and limits his/her time of media usage, she/he experiences earlier bedtime and longer sleep duration. But, if a person multitasks and his/her media sessions last longer, then she/he has a later bedtime and reduced sleep duration.
Earlier studies have already confirmed that bedtime media use can be problematic for sleep. But, it is a fairly common practice, given that over 40% of participants reported using media in bed.
While this habit cannot be completely curbed, it can be controlled to avoid disruptions in healthy sleep schedules that lead to serious health conditions like obesity, cardiovascular diseases (CVD), depression, anxiety, etc.
One of the lead authors, Morgan Ellithorpe, said, “If you are going to use media [before bedtime], keep it a short, focused session and you are unlikely to experience any negative outcomes in your sleep that night.”
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Ellithorpe, M. E., Ulusoy, E., Eden, A., Hahn, L., Yang, C. L., & Tucker, R. M. (2022). The complicated impact of media use before bed on sleep: Results from a combination of objective EEG sleep measurement and media diaries. Journal of sleep research, e13551. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1111/jsr.13551