10 Ways Facebook Completely Messes With Your Life

Time to log off for a while.

If you're like most digitally active Americans, you've sunk countless hours into social media. But spending too much time on sites like Facebook can also damage your physical and mental health.

Compulsively checking the site can disrupt your sleep, make you envious of friends and whittle away at your attention span, among other things.

Here are 10 reasons you should consider taking a break from the social network, at least for a little while:

It Can Mess With Your Sleep
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Heavy social media use can upset sleep patterns, studies have found. And not getting enough sleep can cause you to check Facebook compulsively.

The result is an exhausting feedback loop that could leave you fried.
It Can Make You Depressed
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Spending too much time on Facebook could stir up feelings of envy, according to a study published in 2015. Envy, in turn, could make you depressed.

“We found that if Facebook users experience envy of the activities and lifestyles of their friends on Facebook, they are much more likely to report feelings of depression,” study co-author Dr. Margaret Duffy, a University of Missouri journalism professor, said in a press release.

But, simply being aware that people are presenting their best selves -- and not necessarily their real selves -- on social media could help you feel less envious.
It Can Drain Your Smartphone Battery
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Facebook's Android and iPhone apps are real battery sucks. Facebook has said it's addressing the problem. In the meantime, deleting the app from your smartphone could boost your battery by up to 20 percent.

Here's how to do it.
It Can Sap Your Focus
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The average attention span is decreasing, according to research. Constant distractions created by our "digital lifestyles" could be changing our brain chemistry and sapping our focus. Yikes!
It Can Ruin Your Relationship
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Social networks bring people together, but they can also drive a wedge between married couples, according to psychologists. Constantly checking Facebook can ruin intimate moments, and the ability to connect with old flames online can spark extra-marital trysts.
It Can Make You Socially Awkward
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Our dependence on social media could be making it more difficult to connect with others in person. “I think it’s the death of an actual civilized conversation,” Justine Harman, features editor at Elle.com, told The Huffington Post in an interview in 2014.

What's more, most of your Facebook friends don't really care that much about you.
It Can Be A Huge Waste Of Time
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The more time you spend on Facebook, the worse you feel, according to behavioral science research. That's because Facebook feels to many people like a waste of time.

“It appears that, compared to browsing the Internet, Facebook is judged as less meaningful, less useful, and more of a waste of time, which then leads to a decrease in mood,” Christina Sagioglou and Tobias Greitemeyer, behavioral scientists at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, wrote in a paper published in 2014.

Facebook doesn't always make us feel crummy. But, if it does, it's time to do something else.
It Can Create An Echo Chamber
Critics of social media have long suggested that Facebook's algorithm -- which determines the posts you see based on posts you've clicked -- can create "echo chambers" online. Being exposed to content you already understand or agree with can insulate you from diverse views, critics argue.

But Facebook disagrees, saying last year that it was not responsible for creating echo chambers. Either way, Facebook still plays a big role in how people consume information online.
It Tracks (And Shapes) Your Behavior
Facebook uses complex machine learning algorithms to decide what you see on the site. If it notices you like posts related to soccer, for instance, it might surface more soccer posts in your feed. But it doesn't always get this right.

Eventually, it may get better at understanding people's preferences -- so much better that some experts fear how precisely future marketing and political campaigns will be able to target people. We might even come to "question whether we still have free will," Illah Nourbakhsh, a robotics expert at Carnegie Mellon University, told HuffPost in an interview.
It Knows When You Go To Bed At Night
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Turns out, Facebook has enough information about you that it can be used to track when you turn in for the night and when you wake up in the morning. Danish software developer Soren Louv-Jansen developed a tool that used Facebook data to let people observe their friends' sleep patterns.

Though Facebook asked him to take down this tool, the stunt pointed to a larger issue of data privacy: We all reveal a huge amount of personal information online, and we can't always control how others use it.