a recent study by the University of California, Irvine, researchers found that
a lack of sleep is linked to a higher level of online browsing, including
checking social media websites such as Facebook.
Wanting to look at how sleep duration could affect
internet use, rather than how internet use affects sleep, the team recruited 76
UCI students and monitored them for a one-week period.
Using logging software the team could monitor
participants’ computers and smartphones to see how often they spoke on the
phone, texted, or used applications.
Sensors were used to measure their behavior, activities,
and levels of stress.
Participants were also asked to complete a survey every
morning reporting on their sleep and to complete an end-of-day survey at night.
The students also had to complete a general questionnaire and take part in an
taking into account factors such as gender, age, university work load, and
course deadlines, the results showed a direct connection between a chronic lack
of sleep, a cranky mood, lower productivity, and also more time spent checking
The researchers also found that not enough sleep leads
people to be more easily distracted, with their attention flicking between
different computer screens and apps.
“When you get less sleep, you’re more prone to
distraction,” said lead researcher Gloria Mark, “If you’re being distracted,
what do you do? You go to Facebook. It’s lightweight, it’s easy, and you’re
The study’s findings will be presented at CHI, a leading
computer-human interaction conference in May in San Jose, California.