Meigs Health Matters… Screen time, social media, sleep quality and mental health – Pomeroy Daily Sentinel

Living in a digital age, it’s hard to find someone who hasn’t heard of social media. A 2021 research survey estimates that 85% of the US population aged 18 and over owns a smartphone. In the 18-49 age range, an estimated 96% of the US population owns a smartphone. With a portal to the digital world so conveniently close by, social media has become a major player in human entertainment. For those under the age of 18, we commonly see teenagers playing games and watching YouTube on smartphones and tablets. Recently, there has been a growing body of evidence linking the correlation between screen time (social media use, gaming, video, etc.) and its effects on sleep quality and mental health.

It is reported that 81% of young people are in some kind of social network. There are many benefits to social media, but we must also be aware of the concerns. Concerns include a platform for bullying, age-inappropriate material, and the posting of personal information or photos for anyone to see, including online predators. Furthermore, it has been suggested that excessive screen time closer to bedtime is associated with increased cognitive activation, leading to delayed sleep latency and difficulty staying asleep. Please note that this can affect anyone; however, researchers believe that young people are still developing a sense of self-regulation and are therefore more prone to the adverse effects of screen time and social media that contribute to sleep deprivation and negative health outcomes. Mental health.

Have you ever noticed that some people can’t hold a conversation, attend an important meeting, or eat without checking their phone? Researchers have coined the phrase “fear of missing out.” This is a common theme among people who are on social media more than the average person. This “fear of missing out” has been linked to anxiety that can compound compulsions to constantly check your phone or social media accounts. Interestingly, not only is the volume of screen time of concern, but excessive screen time and social media use close to bedtime are highly correlated with poor sleep habits and depressive symptoms.

  बच्चों की डाइट में जरूर शामिल करें चिरौंजी, उनकी सेहत को मिलेंगे फायदे

Limiting screen time can be achieved. It is suggested that an individual should not exceed 2 hours of screen time per day. If your job requires screen time, you should be very careful to limit time on devices outside of work. You can easily access screen time reports within your phone or tablet settings. You can also set limits for yourself or your children.

Last year I read an excellent book called “The Crisis of Comfort”. The author embarked on a 33-day caribou hunting trip in the interior of Alaska. Hundreds of miles from the nearest civilization, healthcare, or grocery store. Just 3 people in the remote desert living in a tent. The author points out that when you are disconnected from civilization, you don’t worry about politics, the covid pandemic, or anything you can’t control. Once he returned, many of his loved ones noticed that he had changed. Her wife noticed that he was more attentive to conversations with her and her children, since he was never distracted by her phone again. Could social media and screen time really have a profound impact on our lives? There is a way to find out! If you or someone else needs mental health assistance, please visit our website at to view our directory of services.


Alonzo R, Hussain J, Stranges S, Anderson KK. Interaction between social media use, sleep quality, and mental health in youth: a systematic review. Sleep Med Rev. 2021 Apr;56:101414. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2020.101414. Epub 2020 December 10. PMID: 33385767.


Marc Barr is the Meigs County Health Commissioner.

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