‘Sleep problems: predictor or outcome of media use among emerging adults at university?’

An interesting article just published in the Journal of Sleep Research tracked around 1000 university students for three years to establish the relationship between sleep problems and ‘media’ use (including TV and social media).

The abstract reveals the surprising results:
[S]leep problems predicted longer time spent watching television and on social networking websites, but not vice versa. Contrary to our hypotheses, sleep duration was not associated with media use. Our findings indicate no negative effects of media use on sleep among emerging adults, but instead suggest that emerging adults appear to seek out media as a means of coping with their sleep problems.
This rings true to me, as much as we like to blame external factors for the ailment of youth. In my late teens and early twenties, it was very common for me to completely invert my sleep cycle after a two-week university break; it was usually compulsive book-reading or (later) nightlife that kept me awake until 4, then 5, then 6, etc., into the morning.

A big regret from that phase in my life was that I wasted so much time reading books that I'd either read before or that just weren't very good books. As fun as it might be to read something like The Wheel of Time (and I gave it up entirely in the early 2000s before the series was complete), I can't but help wonder what difference it would have made had I read real literature instead.