Social Media: How it can affect your teen's sleep and anxiety

Social media could be to blame for your teen’s poor sleep habits and anxiety

It seems like they are always on it: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Sometimes all at the same time. It can drive you crazy as a parent to see that your teen seems addicted to their phones and computers with social media. New research indicates that you may have a reason to be questioning your teen’s social media use.

Researchers use 467 teenagers between the ages of 11 and 17 about their use of social media on a daily basis. Other tests in the study examined the teens’ sleep quality, self-esteem, anxiety and depression. They also looked at whether teens felt pressure to be on social media and maintain a constant presence on each site.

It may not be surprising that researchers found that using social media at any point was significantly related to decreased sleep quality, lower self-esteem, increased anxiety and depression levels in the study participants. Especially when it comes to sleep quality, participants who logged on at night were “particularly affected,” study author Heather Cleland Woods, of the University of Glasgow in Scotland, said in a statement.


The solution may not be as clear as it seems

Teenagers are already at higher vulnerability to depression and anxiety, and poor sleep can increase these conditions. Research is also increasingly suggesting that there is a link between social media and an overall feeling of well-being, particularly in adolescents.

While some parents may see this study as a reason to keep their teens away from social media, study authors suggest that they may not need to. “We all do it,” Cleland Woods told LiveScience. “However, we need to think about how and when we are online.”