Losing Sleep Over FOMO

phonepillow01Have you ever been in the library and checked your phone compulsively while slaving away on a final paper or cramming for a final exam? Are you checking to see what other people are doing—in case they’re having a more interesting life than you are?

That’s called FOMO, or fear of missing out.

And it might continue after you walk home at 2 a.m. and climb into bed—so you take your phone.

We at SOVA haven’t yet written much about FOMO, but it’s a real thing that can be detrimental to your wellbeing. A recent study looked at how much first-year college students are affected by FOMO on social media. Student participants in this study talked about how they kept their cell phones in bed, even under their pillows, for fear of being left out of interesting social situations. One student said,

I’ve been known to answer my [phone] or to answer texts while I’m sleeping.

Some other student participants talked about how they stay on social media while trying to fall asleep. One young woman’s FOMO led her to stay on Skype with her boyfriend so late into the night that they regularly fell asleep with Skype still open on their computers. Her roommate, a participant in the study, said,

One time I was sleeping in the room and I literally woke up because I heard her boyfriend snoring on Skype.

The study found that the participants who went to bed with their phones or computers lost significant sleep because of their FOMO. And good sleep is super important to our physical and mental wellbeing.

What does FOMO feel like to you? How has your attitude and behavior with taking your phone or computer to bed changed over time? If you take your device into bed, have you noticed any effects on your sleep? Let us know in the comments!

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Hi! The moderator is a research team member with a background in behavioral health. We're here to help answer your questions and stimulate some great conversation! We don't provide therapy and are not available 24-7 so please if you are in crisis, go to our crisis page: https://sova.pitt.edu/i-need-help-now We look forward to talking to you!

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