Is Social Media Killing Your Sleep? Here Are 6 Soul-Soothing Bedtime Activities to Try Tonight
With daily users in the hundreds of millions, Instagram is a social platform that a huge portion of the world's population has become obsessed with (including us). Then there's the ever-popular Facebook with its over two billion global users. Oh, and we can't forget about Tik Tok—our newest social media addiction. Most of the people I know spend a couple of hours each night in bed with their phone in front of their face scrolling through the (endless) amount of content that's available each day. Most people I know also complain about not getting enough sleep and feeling tired all of the time. Is there a link here? Most definitely.
Because nearly everyone interacts with some sort of social media on the daily, recently researchers have been focused their studies on the correlation between excessive screen time and its effects on our mental health and sleep patterns. When it comes to interrupted sleep, two huge factors are feelings of stress and depression. As it turns out—and you may have experienced this first hand—constant social media use can elevate levels of stress in your body and lead to a lower mood and even symptoms of depression. It can be really tricky to establish healthy boundaries for ourselves, especially when the lines are blurred between real life and a filtered lens. As well as that, you're physically being exposed to blue light which messes with your natural circadian rhythms and makes it harder to fall asleep after taking in so much content so quickly.
So, it's time to set up a nightly routine that will nourish your mind and body and allow you to get the rest you need to thrive.
1. First of all, consistency is key
If you're sick of going to bed after an Insta scroll and tossing and turning while thinking about how perfect that influencer's dinner looked compared to yours, you'll want to establish a consistent bedtime routine to follow. To keep yourself feeling as optimal as possible, it's recommended that you go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day (yes, including weekends). This will keep your sleep cycle regular and your body will naturally begin to know when it's time to drift off. You might miss out on Sunday sleep-ins, but you're going to feel refreshed and full of energy to actually enjoy your weekends once you get into a healthy pattern. Be strict, habits are hard to establish but you'll thank yourself for establishing a healthy routine.
2. Go for a walk
If I actually take a second to think about the time I spent on social media last night, I could have easily fit in a long walk that would have provided me with fresh air and a connection to the outdoors. Instead, I chose to catch up on Tik Tok's latest trends. Tonight I'm going to leave my phone at home and hit the pavement to wind down in the hours leading up to bedtime, and I implore you to do the same. You should be focusing on lowering your heart rate and shaking off any stress from the day instead of getting yourself worked up over what people are posting on Facebook every night. Plus it's great exercise.
3. Read a few pages
I'll admit it—my new favourite book tends to get left on the shelf in favour of a social media stickybeak each night because social media is literally designed to overstimulate our brains and leaving us craving the next notification and a huge fear of missing out. Have you ever felt anxious about turning off your phone for a long flight only to realise you really didn't miss out on anything of significance at all? I find that if I leave my phone in another room or away from me, I'm more likely to pick up my book and indulge in a few pages. If you're just beginning your digital detox like me, having your screen next to you is too tempting.
4. Take a bath
The nights when I've chosen to run a warm bath after work have been some of the most relaxing nights. How many times have I done this? Maybe three. So, I'm going to challenge myself to take a bath this week as a part of my nightly routine to help break the social media addiction and focus on some much-needed self-care. A great way to fall asleep fast is to drop your body temperature a couple of hours before sleep, and interestingly enough, taking a warm bath is a perfect way to begin this process.
I've recently been really enjoying a meditation app I downloaded that's helped me to wind down and focus on deep breathing techniques. It's using my phone, sure, but without some guidance from the app I would have felt a bit lost. So, I'm going to give these types of apps a pass when it comes to screen usage. I personally use Balance which actually has a particular sleep section amongst other categories that are useful for different scenarios. If you're new to the world of meditation, I'd recommend starting with a five-minute guided session with a virtual coach before you learn the ropes yourself.
6. Enjoy a warm drink
I've missed the nightly tea that I regularly made each night before bed. I guess I just never replaced my stash, but now that I think about it, I'm adding tea to the shopping list as we speak. If you're feeling like something nice and warm before bed, definitely steer clear of sugars and caffeine and opt for a natural tea or drink that will warm you up that you can sip while enjoying your favourite bedside book.
Since it's Sleep Week, check out the best positions for a deep sleep.