Social media use and adolescent sleep patterns: cross-sectional findings from the UK Millennium Cohort Study

Scott, H. , Biello, S. and Cleland Woods, H. (2019) Social media use and adolescent sleep patterns: cross-sectional findings from the UK Millennium Cohort Study. BMJ Open, 9(9), e031161. (doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-031161) (PMID:31641035) (PMCID:PMC6830469)

190611.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.



Objectives: This study examines associations between social media use and multiple sleep parameters in a large representative adolescent sample, controlling for a wide range of covariates. Design: The authors used cross-sectional data from the Millennium Cohort Study, a large nationally representative UK birth cohort study. Participants: Data from 11 872 adolescents (aged 13–15 years) were used in analyses. Methods: Six self-reported sleep parameters captured sleep timing and quality: sleep onset and wake times (on school days and free days), sleep onset latency (time taken to fall asleep) and trouble falling back asleep after nighttime awakening. Binomial logistic regressions investigated associations between daily social media use and each sleep parameter, controlling for a range of relevant covariates. Results: Average social media use was 1 to <3 hours per day (31.6%, n=3720). 33.7% were classed as low users (<1 hour; n=3986); 13.9% were high users (3 to <5 hours; n=1602) and 20.8% were very high users (5+ hours; n=2203). Girls reported spending more time on social media than boys. Overall, heavier social media use was associated with poorer sleep patterns, controlling for covariates. For example, very high social media users were more likely than comparable average users to report late sleep onset (OR 2.14, 95% CI 1.83 to 2.50) and wake times (OR 1.97, 95% CI 1.32 to 2.93) on school days and trouble falling back asleep after nighttime awakening (OR 1.36, 95% CI 1.10 to 1.66). Conclusions: This study provides a normative profile of UK adolescent social media use and sleep. Results indicate statistically and practically significant associations between social media use and sleep patterns, particularly late sleep onset. Sleep education and interventions can focus on supporting young people to balance online interactions with an appropriate sleep schedule that allows sufficient sleep on school nights.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Scott, HOLLY and Cleland Woods, Heather and Biello, Professor Stephany
Authors: Scott, H., Biello, S., and Cleland Woods, H.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Journal Name:BMJ Open
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN (Online):2044-6055
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in BMJ Open 9(9):e031161
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record

Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
591542ESRC Doctoral Training Centre 2011...Mary Beth KneafseyEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/J500136/1VPO VICE PRINCIPAL RESEARCH & ENTERPRISE