Stopping yourself from checking social media sites for the hundredth time today is actually more difficult than saying no to that second glass of wine.
A study of people’s everyday desires has found that trying not to check Facebook or Twitter for updates was actually harder than saying no to alcohol.
The research carried out by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business fitted 250 partakers with electronic devices that kept track of around 8,000 reports about their everyday desires.
Participants were asked seven times a day over the course of seven days to recognise desires they were experiencing and the strength of said desires.
Researchers assessed the answers — all 10,588 of them — and discovered they were more likely to give into the urge to check social media sites like Facebook, especially as willpower diminished over the course of the day.
Sleep and sex were high on the list of most participants, but it was social networking sites that proved hardest to resist.
Even alcohol and tobacco products that include highly addictive qualities did hold as much sway over those taking part.
Dr Wilhelm Hofmann, who led the study, published in journal Psychological Science, said: ‘Modern life is a welter of assorted desires marked by frequent conflict and resistance, the latter with uneven success.’
He also said that the research revealed how our constant efforts to resist the temptation of social networks or other desires throughout the day led to our willpower being drained by the end of it.
‘As a day wears on, willpower becomes lower and self-control efforts are more likely to fail,’ Dr Hofmann said.