Social media plays an important role in most of our lives, even though it hasn't been around for that long. According to the Pew Research Center, the number of Americans using social media has jumped from 5 percent in 2005 to nearly 70 percent in 2011. Social media is a fun way to connect with friends and family members all over the world. However, are we a little bit too connected with such an overwhelming majority of people on the same platforms daily? Many people seem to think so, which has led to the popularity of social media cleanses. Keep reading to find out more about the potential effects of social media and the benefits of a cleanse.
Side Effects of Social Media Usage
There are tons of studies that show how our dependency on social media and our smartphones can have a negative impact on our health. In an article on Self.com, just a few examples include having a lower quality sleep, having trouble with interpersonal interactions and increased anxiety. Many of these side effects deal specifically with your mental health and are telling of many people's experiences with social media.
For example, in terms of your quality of sleep, social media encourages you to spend time in bed scrolling on Instagram or watching Snapchat stories instead of falling asleep immediately. Many of us sleep with our smartphones next to our beds, so it's tempting to check our phones if we wake up during the middle of the night. All of these moments of screen time throughout the night cause our brain to remain active, which leads to a poor night's sleep even if you sleep the recommended eight hours.
Three Benefits of a Social Media Cleanse
Is doing a social media cleanse for you, now that you know some of the side effects of social media usage? The decision to do a social media cleanse is ultimately a personal one, so take into account your own experience with social media and the side effects previously mentioned. That being said, here are three benefits to doing a cleanse in case you need some convincing
1) One benefit of doing a cleanse is that you will be able to fall asleep and stay asleep faster. Your outlook on your day will be completely different if you're able to have a restful night's sleep, so that's definitely a great pay off for less screen time.
2) Another benefit is you'll probably be a lot happier. Many studies point to the fact that the constant comparison encouraged by social media can be linked to depression, so spending less time on social media is connected to improving your overall happiness.
3) Lastly, according to Business Insider, doing a social media cleanse can make you more productive. Social media can be a huge distraction, with its constant red hearts and blue thumbs-up notifications. Think about how much faster you'll be able to get your work done by being able to focus on the task at hand without the constant buzz of notifications.
Social media can be a great tool to connect to others, but it can also impact our mental health if we let our usage go unchecked. Try cutting back on your social media use for just a week and see the positive impact it can have.