Most sleep tips on TikTok are supported by science: study

Don’t sleep on these TikTok tips.

As younger generations increasingly use social media for health information, a new study from Auburn University finds that most sleep hacks shared on TikTok are supported by scientific evidence.

The researchers transcribed the most-viewed TikToks on Nov. 15 & 16, 2023, that used the tag #sleephacks, #sleephygiene, or #sleeptips — 295 sleep tips (including some repeat recommendations) were collected from 58 videos.

Of the 35 sleep tips found on TikTok during a two-day period in November, 29 were backed by scientific research, according to the study findings. Getty Images

Thirty-five unique sleep tips were identified and grouped around seven themes: calming activities (such as breathwork before bed), use of electronics (limiting screen time before bed), environment (like sleeping in a cool, dark room), foods/substances to avoid (caffeine before bed), foods/substances to use (magnesium), schedule (having consistent bed and wake times), and other sleep-related behaviors (such as mouth taping). 

Of the 35 tips, 29 were backed by scientific research, according to the study findings, which will be presented Tuesday in Houston at the SLEEP 2024 meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. Only six sleep tips were unsupported by scientific evidence.

“These results suggest that the sleep research and sleep medicine communities have done a good job of promoting appropriate tips for sleep hygiene,” lead study author Brian Gillis said in a statement.

“This means the public is learning what we want them to know about sleep in a place — social media — where many people feel comfortable learning health information,” Gillis added.

A poll last year found that 87% of millennial and Gen Z TikTok users glean nutrition and health advice from the platform.

About 57% admit they are influenced by or frequently adopt nutrition trends promoted on TikTok, according to the survey from the nutrition and food tracking app MyFitnessPal.

Health advice on TikTok is unregulated — and a recent analysis from the University of Chicago found that around 44% of sinusitis-related TikToks contain non-factual information.

The researchers called on health care professionals to be more active on social media to combat misinformation.

Only 15% of TikToks from medical professionals included non-factual information, the University of Chicago study determined, compared to nearly 60% of videos from nonmedical influencers.

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