Young people use social media apps in bed before falling asleep to avoid facing difficult feelings and emotions, according to a British study.
More than half (56%) of people aged 18 to 24 use social media apps in bed every day, before falling asleep. In comparison, 76% of people in the same age group say they don’t take the time to think about their feelings and emotions on a daily basis.
A mental health and wellness expert warned that the frequent use of social media apps like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat at bedtime left young people with little or no time to reflect on their feelings and emotions. Tom Bivins, ergonomics and wellness manager at Vita Health Group, says the emotional avoidance tactic of using social media in bed contributes to the deterioration of young people’s mental health.
The study of 2,000 UK adults was undertaken by the leading healthcare provider, Vita Health Group. Respondents were asked about their social media habits before sleep and were asked how much time they spend thinking about their feelings and emotions.
Bivins said: “Night is often the first time that we are left alone with our own thoughts without distraction. While this may be a welcome relief for some, our research suggests that young people turn to social media extensively before sleeping and it could be an attempt to drive negative or uncomfortable thoughts from the mind.
Bivins said: “The danger of falling out for a distraction is that emotional avoidance is only a temporary fix. Not only will your body go to great lengths to keep them down, it’s likely that the feelings you are avoiding will get stronger, more intense, and out of control over time. It is worrying that only 24% of young people spend time reflecting on their feelings and emotions every day. The constant use of emotional avoidance tactics like scrolling through social media can adversely affect mental and physical well-being. Preventive management techniques will help people break the cycle, leaving them more comfortable with their emotions and better able to get restful sleep ”.
How often do Brits use social media apps in bed?
Overall, the study found that 50% of UK adults say they use social media apps in bed before falling asleep at least once a week or more, and 27% of Britons say it has become a daily habit.
48% of 25-34 year olds use social media in bed, every day, before falling asleep, while 38% of 25-44 year olds admit to doing the same.
How much time do the British spend thinking?
Three-quarters (75%) of Britons do not find it necessary to reflect on their feelings and emotions on a daily basis. In addition, almost a third (31%) say they do not spend time thinking about how they feel, reaching 45% for those 65 and over.
Bivins said, “Taking a little time each day to engage in self-reflection can be really beneficial. It can help people process their thoughts and feelings and provide the opportunity to put things in perspective. This is especially relevant to all of us at this time given the impact of the pandemic, especially when life can seem repetitive and difficult. “
If you are concerned about your mental health, please contact your GP first. In addition, people struggling with their mental health can access a free psychological talk therapy service, offered by VitaMinds.
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