Are you obsessed with checking Facebook? If you find yourself looking at Facebook many times a day, it may be a sign that you’re not getting enough sleep. A new study finds a link between obsessive Facebook checking and sleep-deprivation; correlating exhaustion, irritability, attention span with reliance on Facebook browsing.
“When you get less sleep, you’re more prone to distraction,” said head of research Gloria Mark, a University of California, Irvine (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.”
Specialists in the field of interplay between humans and computers seek to answer how lack of sleep impacts individuals so they can design better technologies and commodities.
“There have been lots of studies on how information technology affects sleep. We did the opposite: We looked at how sleep duration influences IT usage,” said Mark.
The research team gathered informational data from 76 UCI students — 42 females and 34 males — for seven days amid the spring semester in 2014. The study controlled for undergraduates’ course load, homework due dates, age and gender, and depended on sensors to impartially measure their conduct, activities and anxiety levels.
Undergraduates’ cellphones and laptops were rigged with a logging program, and time stamps were documented when research participants moved from one application window to the next and when they answered a call on their smartphone or texted a friend. They were requested to complete a survey of their sleep every morning and an end-of-day survey before going to bed.
Study subjects also completed a general questionnaire before the study and sat for an end-of-study assessment. Routinely during the week, they were presented with examining queries from the studies’ analysts with reference to their mood, the apparent difficulty of the chore that was at hand, and their status of activity in their work.
Mark said the research’s discoveries additionally found that the less sleep individuals have, the more periodically their concentration shifts between separate computer windows, which implies elevated inability to maintain one’s attention.
Mark’s UCI colleagues on the research were Melissa Niiya and Stephanie Reich from the School of Education and Yiran Wang from the Department of Informatics. The study was supported financially by the National Science Foundation.