A Research Proposal on Determining the Effect of Social Media Usage on Sleep Time

Zeinab Hazime

University of Michigan- Dearborn


A Research Proposal on Determining the Effect of Social Media Usage on Sleep Time


It is no doubt that the use of social media is widespread among young adults and has been found to impact directly on the amount of sleep time among the students in colleges and Universities. Thus, continuous use of social networking site during sleep time leads to sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation refers to less sleep time than needed to keep the person awake and alert (AlDabal and BaHammam, 2011). Hence, this study is so interesting because it touches on an area that is so dear to most college students: social media.

The amount of time spent on social networking site directly eats up on sleep time. A study by Przybylski, Murayama, DeHaan, and Gladwell, (2013) found out that Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) was the major factor that drove students to be glued most of the time on social media. FOMO is regarded as a fear of regret that can result from a compulsive concern that people might be having social interaction, rewarding experiences, or a novel experience when in your absence (Przybylski et al., 2013). The anxiety is derived from a person’s desire to stay connected with what is being done by others. In other words, FOMO makes someone in constant worry of what he/she might be missing out and makes him/her imagine how things could be different when he/she could also benefit from the participation.

In that line, people ensure that they are connected with each another through Twitter streams, Facebook, Instagram updates, and LinkedIn updates (Przybylski et al., 2013). Thus, the FOMO on something is so intense to an extent that disconnecting from a cellphone becomes a problem, and even when a person decides to disconnect, he/she still finds himself/herself connecting “just once more”, to make sure that nothing has been missed out. Thus, the desire to keep in touch with friends most of the time has resulted in constant chats with friends, leading to poor sleeping habits. In that regard, sleep deprivation affects a person’s feelings and ability to stay concentrated, making the person more unsettled. That leads to small tasks to suddenly become monumental and smaller mistakes to become catastrophic to the sleep-deprived person. Additionally, the slight criticism from friends can only felt devastating and laughable jokes can feel like personal jabs (Kilburn, 2018). According to Kilburn (2018), such feelings are enough to drag a person down, including spurring a feeling of nervous wreckage. Additionally, sleep deprivation makes a person to develop negative bias whenever dealing with the racial minorities in critical decision-making contexts (Kilburn, 2018).

Therefore, I chose to conduct a study on students’ use of social media by finding out the average time spent on different social sites that lead to sleep deprivation. The study shall be conducted using a cross-sectional quantitative research design. My reference is the article “Impact of social media usage on daytime sleepiness: A study in a sample of tertiary students in Singapore” ( by A M A Nasirudeen, Lau Lee Chin Adeline, Koh Wat Neo Josephine, Lim Lay Seng, and Li Wenjie. One of the similarities of the proposed study and the article is that both pinpoint the commonly used social networking sites and the time the respondents spend on those social networking sites. In both cases, sleep time directly determines sleep deprivation. However, the difference is that in this study, data shall be collected in two stages, where the second step of data collection shall be done 1 week after the first step.

The Study Questions

For the proposed study, my research questions shall be: 1. How much time do students spend on social networking sites at night when there is no limitation? 2. How much time do students spend on sleeping per night after social networking? 3. How much time do students spend on sleeping with regulation on the time of social networking?

The Independent Variable

An independent variable is regarded as that variable which the researcher manipulates in order to determine its effect and influence on the dependent variable (Podsakoff and Organ, 1986). In my study, the independent variables shall be time spent on a social networking sites without regulations in networking times, time spent on sleeping without regulation in networking times, and time spent on sleeping with regulation of networking sites in place.

The Dependent Variable

The dependent variable is a criterion variable, which attempts to indicate total influence arising from an effect of the independent variable (Box and Tidwell, 1962). In this study, the dependent variable shall be sleep deprivation. The variable shall be determined through finding out the total sleep time. The hours of sleep of less than 7 hours shall indicate sleep deprivation while above 7 hours shall indicate enough sleep.

The Study Methodology

The study shall employ the cross-sectional quantitative research design whereby a brief questionnaire shall be administered to students that are in my school. Whereas the study can be done online, the researcher shall use in-class data collection since it is the quickest way of collecting data. The first data shall be filled on first day and the second on another day. Participants shall be requested to desist from using the social media for one week between 9.00 pm and 5.00 am for one week before moving on to the second part. There is no any special participant requirement, which could be problematic in the study since it involves some of my classmates and other students at University of Michigan. However, no respondent name shall be required to be filled in, thereby ensuring anonymity and reduce issues of bias in the study.

Custom Computer Programming

The Pearson correlation analysis of time taken on social media usage and hours of sleep shall be necessary for this exercise. In this case, I will need the help of the instructor to analyze the data.

Data collection time

The average time taken to fill the data shall be about 4 minutes for first part and 4 minutes for second part. The questions shall be simple since they shall be short structured using student-familiar languages. Hence, the study shall not involve any equipment that may be problematic to use.


AlDabal, L., & BaHammam, A. (2011). Metabolic, endocrine, and immune consequences of sleep deprivation. The Open Respiratory Medicine Journal,5, 31-43. Chokroverty, S. S. (2010). Overview of sleep and sleep disorders. Indian Journal of Medical Research, 131(2), 126-140

Box, G. E., & Tidwell, P. W. (1962). Transformation of the independent variables. Technometrics4(4), 531-550.

Kilburn, M. (2018) Can sleep deprivation affect your self-esteem? Avogel. Retrieved from on February 26th, 2019.

Nasirudeen, A. M. A., Lee Chin Adeline, L., Wat Neo Josephine, K., Lay Seng, L., & Wenjie, L. (2017). Impact of social media usage on daytime sleepiness: A study in a sample of tertiary students in Singapore. Digital health3, 2055207617699766.

Podsakoff, P. M., & Organ, D. W. (1986). Self-reports in organizational research: Problems and prospects. Journal of management12(4), 531-544.

Przybylski, A., Murayama, K. DeHaan, C.& Gladwell, V. (2013). Motivational, emotional, and behavioral correlates of fear of missing out. Computers in Human Behavior. 29 (4), 1841–1848