Last Updated January 5, 2024

Doomscrolling is what you do when you scroll through your social media feeds or news articles for hours on end.  The news or the information that you are consuming could be good or bad. But the simple act of going through a lot of screen time can lead to negative effects on our mental health and sleep patterns.

how to avoid doomscrolling and protect our mental health and sleep

Studies show that Doomscrolling can lead to increased levels of anxiety and depression. Not only that, but it can also decrease your satisfaction with life. It can cause problems such as insomnia by disrupting our natural sleep patterns.

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But what are the reasons that, knowingly or unknowingly, we can’t resist the temptation of pulling the refresh button on the top of our mobile screen?

Why is doomscrolling bad?

Doomscrolling is bad because it can impact your daily schedule. And even when you want to sleep, the sheer act of scrolling, refreshing, liking, or watching stuff in your digital world can affect your real world.

a teenage girl in pajamas with a smartphone lying in bed at night

In fact, when you're doomscrolling, your eyes are constantly moving, and your mind is not getting any rest. Although you are sitting or seem to be relaxing yet, the reality is different. Scrolling through your phone or tablet can lead to fatigue, muscle cramps, and eventually, sleep deprivation. This further can have a negative impact on your work performance and health.

But the moot question is, why can’t we stop? Because Doomscrolling is addictive, that’s why. It’s hard to stop once you start.

How does doomscrolling affect your mental health and sleep?

When you're scrolling through social media feeds and seeing negative news articles, it can take a toll on your mood. We, humans, have a leaning toward bad news as we believe that knowing them will help us glide through the next crisis. Content on social media latches on to this mentality.

young woman with smartphone in bed at night

The more you read sad stuff, the more it can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression. Doomscrolling can affect your mental health without you even knowing about it.

So It's important to be mindful of the types of content you're consuming, especially if you're already feeling down.

How can social media affect your sleep?

There is a lot of research out there that suggests social media can have a negative impact on our sleep. The use of social media before bed leads to shorter sleep duration and poorer sleep quality.

Tired freelancer man at his home office

Another study shows that people who used social media more were more likely to report feeling tired and sleepy during the day. There can be several reasons for it.  One of the prime reasons is that social media can keep us up at night by stimulating our brains. And scrolling prevents our minds and bodies from getting the needed rest.

So, if you're having trouble sleeping, it might be worth considering how much time you're spending on social media. Try limiting your use of social media in the hours leading up to bed.  And see if that makes a difference in your sleeping patterns.

Why do we endlessly scroll on our phones and electronic devices?

There are many reasons why we scroll through our phones and other electronic devices. Number one, it's addicting. The constant notifications and updates keep us hooked. And social media companies get the incentives in the form of engagement from users like us.

businesswoman with smartphone at night office

Scrolling can also be a form of procrastination. We scroll through our phones when we should be working on something else. We also do it when we're bored and don't know what else to do. This can lead to wasted time and decreased productivity.

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Finally, some people scroll because they're looking for validation. They want others to like their posts or pictures on Instagram.  They're looking for someone to comment on their latest article on Twitter. This type of validation can be addictive, and it's often difficult to stop seeking it.

Couple using mobile phones while having dinner in a restaurant at night

It's important to be aware of why you're scrolling. You need to know how much is enough for you. When you know it, then you can try to limit the unnecessary use of electronic devices. Make a conscious effort to put your phone down and enjoy the present moment. It's worth it!

Can scrolling cause anxiety or depression?

We doomscroll because it gives us a quick hit of dopamine, the feel-good hormone. When we get notifications or new likes on our posts, our brains release dopamine, which makes us feel good.

But there are negative consequences to this endless scrolling. For one, it can affect our sleep. We're more likely to scroll through our phones and devices right before bed, which can keep us up at night. Additionally, scrolling can be stressful. It can cause anxiety if we're constantly comparing ourselves to others. The algorithm of the digital world is such that if you seek negative news, more related news will come to your feed. The more negative news you watch or read, the more depressive you will feel.

A man pointing to the computer screen

It can lead to depression and anxiety if we're exposed to negative content all the time. So why do we do it? Why are we so addicted to our phones and devices?

What does endless scrolling do to your brain?

Your brain is a complex organ that is always working. Even when you’re not thinking about anything in particular, it doesn't stop. When you scroll through your Facebook or Twitter feeds, your brain processes the information that you see. This puts your cognitive system in alert mode. The more you scroll, the more energy your brain spends on each piece of information.

A man with a laptop and coffee working in the office at night. He is sleepy and yawning

What can endless scrolling on electronic devices do to your brain?People who use social media all the time have more chances to be depressed or anxious. And scrolling through news feeds can lead to a decreased attention span and overwhelming emotions.

So what’s the solution?

How do I stop myself from doomscrolling?

It can be tough not to get sucked into the black hole of the internet. But if you are willing, then there are ways to prevent yourself from doomscrolling!

If you find that you're checking your phone a lot, try setting a timer to remind yourself how long you've been using it. You can do the same for your tablets, laptops, or TVs.

Try setting limits for yourself too, such as 20 minutes per day or one hour per week. Or, try using an app that tracks your phone usage or locks you out of certain apps after a certain amount.

Another way is to only use your phone or computer for necessary tasks, like homework or work. Finally, try to be more mindful of how much time you're spending on your devices. When you're mindful of how much time you're spending on your smartphones, you try to reduce it.

If all else fails, there's always the nuclear option: delete your social media apps from your phone. This way, you'll have to consciously decide to go on social media, and you won't be able to mindlessly scroll through your feeds.

But if you don’t want to go to that extreme, then you can try talking to a therapist or counselor about it. They may be able to help you get to the root of why you feel the urge to always scroll through your feeds. Taking steps to stop yourself from doomscrolling can be difficult, but it's definitely worth it in the end!

woman with smartphone and earphones meditating on yoga mat at summer park

Try to limit your exposure to doomscrolling, and make sure to take breaks from your phone or computer. Spend time outside, talk to friends and family, or read something positive. Taking care of yourself is key when it comes to maintaining your mental health. Do this, and your brain will thank you!

mother and little girl playing in the park

There's no one definite answer to these questions, but it's clear that social media, electronic devices, and the internet have a lot of power over us. Going through your phone can be really addictive and, at the same time, can have a negative impact on your mental health. But with awareness and some effort, we can break the habit of doomscrolling and improve our lives!

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Spending too much time in front of a screen is bad for a variety of reasons. It affects our sleep, causes stress and anxiety, and leads to depression. Yet, there are ways to prevent ourselves from this modern-day problem! Next time you find yourself scrolling through your phone or computer for hours on end, remember that it's not good for you!

Take a step back and try one of these methods to help you stop yourself from doomscrolling.

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Disclaimer: What is said in this article has been referenced from multiple sources and is intended only for educational and informational purposes. Please note that no content in this article is a substitute for professional advice from a qualified doctor or healthcare provider. Always consult an experienced doctor with any concerns you may have regarding a health condition or treatment, and never disregard any medical suggestions or delay in seeking treatment because of something you read here.

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