Doomscrolling during COVID-19 has considerably affected sleep — expert opinion

By Team

Active scrolling through the information about COVID-19 has adversely affected the mental state of young people during the lockdown. The feeling of despair caused by reading the news exacerbated stress and insomnia.

Doomscrolling means constant checking social networks (especially Facebook and Twitter), endless scrolling of news feed, and reading articles on specifically one or two subjects with negative connotations. The global pandemic has only exacerbated this negative habit, and journalists continue to generously give out the “bread and circuses” to people, exploiting fatalistic thoughts about the virus. Some broadcasters give public access to the news about COVID-19, while some of the materials are available on a paid subscription only.

Statistics says that the rates of social networks usage have drastically increased: time spent on Twitter rose by 24%, Facebook - by 27%. Dr. Patricia Celan, a psychiatry resident at Dalhousie University in Canada concludes:

"This habit is evolutionary predisposed, people need to get familiar with the dangers around in order to stay alert and gain a sense of safety."

Previous studies have shown that overuse of social networks increases the levels of depression and feeling of loneliness. The obsession with negativity dramatically escalated during the period of pandemic and lockdown. However, staying on top of the latest news doesn’t bring the anticipated feeling of safety. Negative articles only increase the feeling of fear, anxiety, and insomnia.

The desire to constantly scroll the news becomes obsessive over time, leads to sleep problems, causes increased levels of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, and even provokes diseases. Mindfulness and daily productivity considerably decrease. To reduce such negative effects, experts recommend:

· gradually cut the time spent on reading the news and in social networks (by 5-10 minutes every day);

· limit reading the news at the workplace;

· install the programs that help restrict the time spent on Twitter and other networks;

· turn off the news when you feel that your anxiety is increasing;

· use special applications for relaxation and good sleep.

The Hypnopedia app will help to get rid of negative thoughts and take care of your sleep. It has a set of relaxing natural sounds that will calm you down; affirmations that are played during your sleep and strengthen your mental health (you do not need to wake up); smart alarm clock with an adaptive period for a gradual wake-up. The whole complex was designed to improve the psychophysiological indicators of your emotional and mental health and in the long term increase such characteristics as productivity, motivation, etc.

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Based on

Mental health Sleep Well-being Positive thinking