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Study: Link between sleep loss and social media usage

By Shawn Price   |   Feb. 17, 2016 at 2:04 AM

IRVINE, Calif., Feb. 16 (UPI) -- A new study from the University of California at Irvine found a link between social media usage and lack of sleep.

The study didn't look at how much social media usage might cause lack of sleep, but how people who aren't getting enough sleep use social media, like Facebook. Ultimately, the less sleep they got, the more irritable they became and the more likely they were to shift between computer screens and have "heightened distractibility."

"When you get less sleep, you're more prone to distraction," said lead researcher Gloria Mark, a UCI informatics professor. "If you're being distracted, what do you do? You go to Facebook. It's lightweight, it's easy, and you're tired."

The study looked at 76 students across gender, age and course load and equipped their phones and computers with sensors to record how and when they used social media and had the test subjects were interviewed to find out how they felt.

Sleep deprivation has ripple effects through an economy, leading to greater incidence of workplace accidents and car crashes. If experts like Mark can better understand how sleep deprivation affects people, better products and better technology can be utilized to alleviate it.

The results of the study will be released in full in May.

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