Are You Sleep Texting?

by Sam Malone

Everyone is aware of the fact that texting while driving or when you are drunk is a bad idea. However, doctors are now seeing the phenomenon of sleep texting in many smart phone users. Don't be surprised even if you get a message from someone whose status update has "ZZZZ" or a "sleeping" emoticon. In fact, you may be the next one to start sending text messages while you're asleep, especially if you are in the habit of taking your mobile phone to bed with you.

Sleep texting is a new nightmare that is seeing an upward trend across the globe. It occurs when you wake up from deep sleep (probably due to a beep or the light from your phone), check your handset and send out a message when you are only half conscious. Of course, even if you are a literary genius, your texts are unlikely to be very different from "hg.hy2txhgb". In case you are a text-addict, this could happen to you at any time. What's worse is that you will have no recollection of sending out messages when you wake up.

When Nursing Professor Elizabeth Dowell from Villanova University, heard stories from students about sleep texts, she decided to investigate it further. A class survey conducted by her in April 2013 showed that out of 400 students, around 130 had admitted to sleep texting.

Dr. Lina Fine, Specialist in Sleep Neurology & Psychiatry at the Swedish Medical Center, Seattle, states that this behavior is on a rise and has increased significantly in the last 2 years. She adds that sleep texting is more likely to occur in those who are phone-savvy and really well-versed with social media. She does believe that it is a rare condition that isn't seen in everyone.

The problem is that sleep texts are not limited to replying to messages. You could happen to send random texts to friends, colleagues or even mere acquaintances in your list. If you are thinking about the embarrassment you will probably face the next morning that is the least of your worries. As technology invades the bedroom, the quality of sleep reduces.

Professor Dowell believes that the current generation of young adults and teens anyway has a reputation of being sleep-deprived. When the little sleep people get is further interrupted by texting, it means that they are getting poor-quality sleep! Dr. Fine agrees with this, by adding that people are now getting fragmented sleep.

There is hope, even for a phone zombie, though the solution may be a difficult one. The only way to get uninterrupted sleep and avoid sleep texting is by physically separating yourself from your phone during bedtime.

Dr. William DePaso, Sleep Medicine Specialist at Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle suggests that if you cannot place your mobile phone far away, make sure it is difficult to get to. He adds that people who sleep text may actually be fully awake and conscious, (albeit drowsy) for a few seconds. However, they have no recollection of sending the text because they need to be awake for at least 30 seconds in order to remember.

The million dollar question is "are you in the habit of sleep texting?" While you may not remember doing so, you will definitely see some evidence of having sent a text like an open message window or someone asking you what your message meant. Unless that happens, you can assume that you haven't sent any texts in your sleep recently.

You can spare yourself the embarrassment of explaining your coded message and at the same time get good quality, uninterrupted sleep during the night without sleeping pills. Find a lover, a cuddly kitten or puppy or simply take a stuffed toy to bed, but ditch that phone when you hit the sack!

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