Finding Your One Thing: Social Media and Television Habits

This article is part of an author series on improving sleep hygiene by focusing on one thing at a time. Check out Part 1: Getting Enough Sleep and Keeping a Schedule.

In our first discussion, we said that insomnia may exist outside of sleep apnea. Our second point was that trying to fix insomnia is hard and overwhelming. Our third discussion point asked if there is one principle or, in other words, “one thing” we can start doing to improve insomnia, and our final move is to begin to compile that list.

The list began with 2 sleep principles: first, getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep, and second, maintaining a sleep schedule.

Looking at 2 more sleep principles

In this article, we will continue to peel back more sleep hygiene principles. Really, that’s my job. Your job? Decide. What’s your one thing?

Here are the 2 sleep principles: social media and operating television before and during sleep.

Social media usage and sleep

Isn’t social media incredible? The amount of information you can receive instantly is awesome. You can know what’s going on in culture, what’s going on in the sports world, or see what’s new in your friends' and families' worlds just by clicking on an app. I remember having to wait until the next day for ESPN to post highlights from yesterday’s games. Now the whole game is posted on YouTube within 24 hours.

The downside to social media

But, like most things in life, the things we find so incredible also have a downside. Social media is no exception. Social media can cause anxiety and pressure; it can make you feel discontent with your life as you struggle to keep up. Perhaps you are wondering what does that have to do with sleep?

Anxiety and insomnia

That’s a fair question. In my time as a sleep technologist, I’ve found that anxiety can cause insomnia – it can be the biggest cause. Let’s be honest about social media; it can affect us in negative ways. How can you lie down at night with peace of mind when you’ve scrolled through 16 friends' Instagram highlights? After all, you didn’t accomplish that much today, but what you failed to remember is you're 1 person, not 16.

Tip 1: Keep perspective

A couple of things solutions to help: first, scroll through your Instagram or Facebook account...I’ll wait. I know what you discovered. Who is that impressive person? It looks like you. We all have a tendency to look at our internal feelings and the small details that didn’t go right and then compare our life to those highlight reels.

Tip 2: Set boundaries

Limit your time on social media and potentially eliminate the one that affects you the most negatively.

Television habits and sleep

Do you remember the days you refused to let your children watch a scary movie before bedtime? Why did you do that? Because you’re a good parent and you understood that movie could affect their sleep. Watching the nighttime news might be equally as frightening.

Too much negativity

The news doesn’t usually bring positive and uplifting feelings. Why? Because negative news sells better. Therefore, if you watch Fox News or CNN right before bedtime, you might be more anxious, you might be more fearful, and even angry. The truth is, the world is messy – we all know that – but news media has a way of making you look at the world through one lens.

Tip: Set a sleep timer

Timer the television if you need it to fall asleep. I understand the need to use it to fall asleep, but I don’t want your sleep disrupted by a Bob Rohrman commercial.

So what’s your one thing? Please add comments below. And check out Part 3: Two Things to Avoid and Part 4: Fine-Tuning Your Sleep.

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