Depressed? Not sleeping enough? According to a recent study done by the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, the two are very strongly related: if you lose sleep, you’ll become depressed, and if you are depressed, you’ll lose sleep. Apparently 70% of adolescents don’t meet the 9-to-10 hour recommendation put forth by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
This isn’t exactly news, seeing as my body has been forced to train itself to function on half of that amount at this point. What was surprising about this study was the fact that lack of sleep coupled with excessive Internet use was also associated with depression. Danuta Wasserman, one of the authors of the study, states that while there’s a connection, more research needs to be done to determine exactly how sleeplessness and Internet use affects depression. Therefore, in an attempt to aid the great scientists of the world, I compiled a list of the ten weirdest things adolescents do online after 1 a.m. that are probably making us depressed. You know – just for research purposes.
1. Deeply research ex-boyfriend/boyfriend’s ex-girlfriends on Facebook
What is it about Facebook that makes me hate myself? Is it the fact that the “Search for people, places and things” text box on top of the screen always tempts me into masochism? The answer is yes. There’s no more horrifying or irrational rabbit hole to go down than the hole of the past: your romantic past, your boyfriend’s romantic past, your boyfriend’s romantic past’s romantic past, and so forth. You’ll end up either trying to figure out past relationships between some stranger and your ex- or current significant other by using tagged photos or wall posts as clues, or comparing yourself to said complete strangers who, more than likely, have one time or another compared themselves to you. Stop. Spare yourself. Ignorance is bliss.
2. Stalk your own Facebook history
My best year of high school was 2010. I was Frenchie in the school musical, Grease, and I had a tight-knit group of friends and an awesome boyfriend. Life was good. In 2011, my weight was the lowest it had ever been. I went on a massive diet before my senior prom and lost ten pounds. I felt great and I looked great. Nowadays, it’s easy to feel not so great when I stalk myself on Facebook and fondly recall how thin and fulfilled I was. Obviously, I was three years younger in those photos I tend to stalk and my body probably hadn’t matured into a fully formed grown woman yet, and I have obviously found other – even better! – sources of happiness and romance in college, but 1 a.m. knows no logic. We tend to over-romanticize the past as something more extravagant than it actually was, especially if we go down memory lane late at night. Just wait until tomorrow.
3. Enter the black hole of Wikipedia clicking
How does one manage to go from innocently researching information about the cast members in Top Gun to reading about the statistics of mass suicides? This is all Wikipedia’s fault. In every Wikipedia article, every interesting word is linked to an interesting article that contains interesting information with more interesting words linked to more interesting articles that eventually lead to you reading about depressing topics like female genital mutilation or AIDS. It’s inevitable.
4. Enter the black hole of YouTube video viewing
Entering the black hole of YouTube video viewing may be worse than entering the black hole of Wikipedia clicking. Those related videos on the right side can lead to some crazy findings that, for some reason, we always end up watching: that insane episode of TLC about the man with no face, a Westboro Baptist Church member boycotting a soldier’s wedding, actual bloody footage of open heart surgery, those eerie 911 phone calls on 9/11, etc. YouTube is a depressing and violent place at 1 a.m.
5. Google sex tips and feel inadequate about your sex life
Around 1 a.m., it’s likely that you’ve experienced crippling loneliness and a need for some loving. What better way to satisfy this craving than to research sex tips and feel inadequate about your current sexual abilities or – even worse – feel depressed because you have nobody to practice on/your boyfriend is not next to you at that exact moment? I mean, you could just watch porn, but apparently individuals who watch porn every day are also severely depressed! We can never win.
6. Become incredibly jealous of any recent mobile upload
Mobile uploads that occur at night (on any form of social media) are indicative that the action occurring in the photo is happening right that second. And what’s more depressing than seeing somebody out at a bar enjoying a beer with some friends while you are stuck in bed with your Spongebob pajama pants and retainer? Few things, that’s what.
7. Publicly blog about your private feelings
Trust me: Don’t do this. When you blog publicly about something you’d rather be kept private, you may feel good in the moment, but your anxiety will heighten once you realize that anybody can find your entry online. Also, it becomes permanent. Your best bet is either to password protect everything or just buy a huge 5-subject Five Star notebook for all of your journal-entry-style whining. I’ve had mine since 2008. And If I, a venting maniac, haven’t run out of pages yet, you will be fine.
8. Enviously browse the Instagrams of celebrities and people with seemingly fabulous lives
I love a well-colored and well-framed Instagram photo when I see one, but my 1 a.m. brain cannot differentiate “That’s definitely just an Amaro filter” from “Wow, the light is reflecting off of this photo of this perfect penthouse apartment in such a perfect shade of bronze.” On Instagram, fantasy crashes with reality. You already feel bad that you don’t have a penthouse apartment, but you’re going to feel even worse if you think that shade of bronze is real. Everything looks more magical on Instagram than it is in real life. This should be your mantra at 1 a.m.
9. Peruse expensive store websites and ogle at things you can’t afford
For some reason, merely browsing through unbelievably beautiful necklaces and handbags and sweaters on the Nordstrom website or the Kate Spade website gives us a false sense of hope that we can actually afford these items. But even the price ranges of the cheapest items go from “Unbearable” to “Actual Seizure-Inducing,” and the harsh reality of our poverty sets in late at night. Cue depression.
10. Search through Netflix and find absolutely nothing
The best late-night use of the Internet has finally hit you: Netflix! Even better, the account you use – you know, the one you share with your friend and her mother, brother, ex-boyfriend, and co-worker – is actually free for the first time in a week. You excitedly search through New Releases – but nothing really sparks your interest. You don’t want to force it, so you move on. You search through Comedies, and the same thing happens. Hmm. What about Dramas? Nope, nothing you care about seeing. Sci Fi & Fantasy? Nope, again. Action & Adventure? No. Classics? Documentaries? Nope. Nothing. Nothing at all. How is this possible?!?!?! you angrily ask yourself, feeling like a bratty 13-year-old girl who looks into her closet bursting with clothes and insists she has “nothing to wear!” Defeated, you go to bed. Sigh.