Poor sleepers turn to Facebook more often as an easy distraction from tiredness.
Lack of sleep leads to more frequent online activities such as browsing facebook, according to a new study at the University of California.
“When you get less sleep, you’re more prone to distraction,” said lead researcher Gloria Mark, a 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.”
Sleep deprivation can lead to loss of productivity throughout the economy. It can cause workplace mishaps and make drivers fall asleep at the wheel..
“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, who will present the findings at a leading computer-human interaction conference in May.
She and her colleagues collected data from 76 UCI undergraduates – 34 males and 42 females – for seven days during the spring 2014 quarter..
Central to the study was a concept known as “sleep debt,” the accumulated difference between the amount of sleep needed and the amount experienced.
Mark said the study’s findings showed a direct connection among chronic lack of sleep, worsening mood and greater reliance on Facebook browsing.
She also found that the less sleep people have, the more frequently their attention shifts among different computer screens, suggesting heightened distractibility.