Many patients tell me they scroll through Facebook and Instagram to “zone out”. When people can’t sleep, it’s almost reflexive these days to grab your phone and start scanning.
But this ‘zoning out’ with social media is far from beneficial for your falling asleep.
Why is this counterproductive for falling asleep?
Scrolling through your phone actually helps to keep you awake.
Physically moving your finger is like fidgeting, a way for your body to fight drowsiness.
Light from cellphones can suppress melatonin, keeping us alert.
What we scroll through isn’t neutral. Often the images trigger emotional reactions just outside our awareness. Perhaps you notice a photo of supposed “friends” at an event where you weren’t included. Your partner commenting on someone else’s attractive selfie. Or maybe you end up time travelling down the internet rabbit hole and find yourself looking at photos of an ex from 5 years ago.
These are all important and valid human emotions, but not likely the ones you want to invoke when you want to get some zzzzzzz.