It’s World Sleep Day today. Now, is WhatsApp and Facebook keeping you up way past your bedtime? Then you’re not the only one, say doctors at Bengaluru-based National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS).
The study says that your internet activities are delaying your bed time by around 90 minutes every day.
In a study conducted by the Service for Healthy Use of Technology (SHUT) clinic at the NIMHANS, Bangalore, researchers found that use of the internet for Facebooking and Whatsapping were making people go to bed 1.6 hours later on average and wake up 1.5 hours later.
The study was published in January this year in the “Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine”.
The researchers also found that while the average quality of sleep was above average, most people usually checked their phones and tablets at least four times after going to bed.
If you want a medicine then shut off devices as you near bedtime and switch to something more old-fashioned like reading, or even having a conversation with other people in the house.
Doctors say that sleep disorder can contribute to conditions varying from heart disease to anxiety.
A 2015 study by a private hospital in Gurgaon revealed that 90 percent of young heart attack victims were those who didn’t sleep well.
The application keeping most people up was WhatsApp (58.5%), says psychiatrist Dr Manoj Kumar Sharma, additional professor at SHUT clinic, and one of the lead researchers in the study.
“This was followed by Facebook usage (32.6%). Messenger applications other than WhatsApp and Hike were used rarely (65.7%). Gmail was shown to be frequently used by participants (45.3%),” he adds.
Dr Sharma said the research also showed that 60 percent of the participants used their mobile along with other devices such as desktops, laptops, and tablet at home as well; with 42% of the participants acknowledging that they postponed work just to be on the internet.
Dr Suresh Kumar, neurophysician at Chennai-based Sree Balaji Medical College and Hospital, says he is seeing more patients with “delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS)”, where instead of the usual sleep cycle of eight hours from around 10 pm to 6 am, people are going to bed only by 3 am and waking up at 11 am.”It’s not just adults; children too are sleeping at 1 am,” he says.
Doctors say people with DSPS, otherwise referred to as “social jet lag”, are not successful at maintaining normal 9-5 workdays and complain of fatigue, headache, decreased appetite or depressed moods.
NIMHANS, Dr Kumar said, is now working on an app which will always analyze time spent on the internet and caution users about cutting down.