The Impact of Social Media on Sleep Patterns and Understanding Desires


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 21, 2023

3 min read


The Impact of Social Media on Sleep Patterns and Understanding Desires


In this article, we will explore the effects of social media on sleep patterns and delve into the concept of desires. We will uncover how certain social media apps, such as TikTok, can disrupt our sleep cycles. Additionally, we will discuss the nature of desires and how they differ from needs. By understanding these topics, we can make informed decisions about our social media usage and gain a deeper understanding of our own desires.

Social Media Apps and Sleep Patterns:

According to an infographic titled "Which Social Media Apps Have the Biggest Impact on Sleep Patterns?", TikTok has been identified as the app with the biggest impact on sleep. Individuals who spend their pre-sleep time scrolling through their 'For You' feeds only spend 14% of their sleep cycle in the vital REM phase, significantly lower than the recommended amount. However, the good news is that the biggest impact on sleep comes from blue light emission from phone screens. By switching to dark mode in our apps, we can reduce this impact.

Understanding Desires:

Desires are distinct from needs as they are intellectual appetites for things we perceive as good, even without a physical or instinctual basis. The philosopher Thomas Aquinas referred to desires as part of the 'will' and explained that when we possess the object of our desire, we find joy in it. However, desires are social processes and often stem from mimetic influences.

Mimetic Desire:

Desire is not entirely within our control; rather, it is largely influenced by our social interactions. We mimic desires from those around us, both within our immediate circle and from external models such as celebrities or historical figures. Social media falls into a gray area, as it exposes us to both internal and external models of desire. We tend to pay more attention to individuals who resemble us and are more relatable.

Navigating Desire:

To better understand our desires, it is essential to identify the specific models influencing us. We must ask ourselves who embodies the lifestyle we desire and who influenced us in our formative years. By mapping out the system of desire we are enmeshed in, we can gain critical distance and make intentional choices rather than defaulting to societal expectations.

Taking Ownership of Desires:

While desires may initially be mimetic in nature, we have the power to take ownership of them and give them our creative freedom. By understanding their origins and aligning them with our values, we can become the authors of our own desires. It is important to distinguish between healthy and temporary mimetic desires and cultivate those that align with our authentic selves.

Finding Satisfaction:

Restlessness of desire can be a driving force for personal growth, but persistent restlessness may indicate that our desires lack the power to truly satisfy us. It is crucial to remain open to wonder and let reality surprise us, as it often exceeds our expectations. Additionally, in relationships, we must avoid falling into mimetic rivalries and strive for generosity without expecting reciprocation.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Limit social media usage before bed and switch to dark mode to reduce the impact on sleep patterns.
  • 2. Reflect on the models influencing your desires and evaluate whether they align with your values and aspirations.
  • 3. Take ownership of your desires by understanding their origins and actively choosing which ones to cultivate.


Social media apps can significantly impact our sleep patterns, with TikTok being identified as particularly disruptive. Understanding desires as separate from needs allows us to navigate the mimetic nature of desire and take ownership of our own aspirations. By implementing actionable advice, we can strike a balance between our online interactions and our well-being, ultimately leading to a more fulfilled life.

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