Most sleep tips on TikTok are backed by science

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A new study has found that most sleep tips shared on TikTok are supported by scientific evidence.

This research will be presented at the SLEEP 2024 annual meeting in Houston, Texas, from June 1–5.

Researchers discovered that out of 35 unique sleep tips shared in popular TikTok videos, 29 are supported by empirical evidence. Only six tips were not backed by scientific research.

Lead author Brian T. Gillis, an assistant professor of marriage and family therapy at Auburn University, noted, “These results suggest that the sleep research and sleep medicine communities have done a good job of promoting appropriate tips for sleep hygiene.

The public is learning what we want them to know about sleep on social media, where many people feel comfortable getting health information.”

The research team analyzed the most-viewed TikTok videos with tags like #sleephacks, #sleephygiene, and #sleeptips over two days.

They transcribed and reviewed 58 videos, identifying a total of 295 sleep tips, including repeated recommendations.

These tips were grouped into seven themes and compared to findings from various scientific studies, including randomized control trials and peer-reviewed articles.

Supported sleep tips included advice that helps people fall asleep faster, sleep longer, increase deep sleep or REM sleep, feel more satisfied with their sleep, or experience less daytime sleepiness.

Gillis emphasized that many adults use social media as a source of health information and often do not check the accuracy of this information with a healthcare professional.

“Given this trust in health advice shared on social media, it’s essential for content creators to provide medically sound guidance,” he said. “Health advice on TikTok is unregulated, but our research indicates that sleep recommendations seem to be an area where content creators are getting it right.”

Good sleep is crucial for health and well-being. If you have trouble sleeping, it’s best to talk to a medical professional for help before trying tips from social media. Your doctor may refer you to a sleep center accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Study co-authors included Emily R. Scott and Joycelyn R. VanAntwerp, graduate students at Auburn University, and Jack Peltz, assistant professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Brockport.

The research abstract was published online in the journal SLEEP and will be presented on Tuesday, June 4, during the SLEEP 2024 annual meeting, organized by the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, a collaboration between the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society.

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