Sleep-texting epidemic

At some point in our lives, we drunk texted someone we shouldn’t have, accidentally sent a text to the wrong person, and even…I’m sad to admit this…had a phone conversation with the wrong person without realizing it. These are some of the problems that millennials experience as they go through life. Unfortunately, the list of millennial struggles becomes bigger and bigger every day. Now, you can suffer from…sleep texting.

Sleep-texting is defined as reading and responding to text messages while asleep. It’s an abnormal sleep behavior that’s similar to sleepwalking.  Sleep-texting is a form of parasomnia (Sleep disorder) where the person exhibits strange actions while asleep.

Sleep-texting is a combination of social media, sleepwalking and sleep eating. You now can suffer from unconsciously posting on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and texting someone you shouldn’t have. Sleep-texting is so new that there isn’t a true study that can tell us why people suffer from this awful disorder.

According to Dr. Volpi, sleep texting “occurs during the rapid eye movement or REM sleep stage” which is the closest stage to being conscious. REM sleep makes up about 20% to 25% of your total sleep and is the stage where dreaming happens.

Studies have shown that brainwave patterns recorded during REM sleep are the same even during the day. So, if you respond to messages immediately after you hear a notification from your phone, your motor nerves may start to act similarly during REM.

Constantly checking your phone immediately will program your brain to respond to notifications even when you are not conscious. Although this may be funny, sleep-texting can cause serious trouble.

There have been reported incidents of people sending inappropriate text messages to their bosses, tweeted confessions that shouldn’t be shared, accidentally post private photos online or even sent emails out to clients that shouldn’t have been sent.

People who are at risk of sleep-texting/posting are people who post and text constantly during the day, in bed and in the shower. If you eat, sleep and breathe social media, you are at risk and if you are high stress, you are even more at risk.

Sleep deprivation

Texting at night has become a major cause of people having sleepless nights.  According to Dr. Kate Murdoch, from Washington and Lee University, a high number of texts per day is directly connected to sleep problems among college students.  Texting has put a pressure on teens and college students to always respond, even when they are about to pass out. The constant notifications can cause high stress among this age group.

Teens are mostly affected by sleep deprivation caused by cell phones. In a research project conducted by HMC and Digital Awareness UK, they discovered that 45% of teens don’t turn off their phones at night after receiving continuous messages, 42% sleep with their phones next to them, and 94% of teens are constantly on social media, while in bed. 

Although mobile technology advancement has helped society progress so much over the years, it is proven to cause more sleep problems than other devices. With electronic devices such as TVs, computers, and video games, you can turn them off and not have the urge to turn them off. With cell phones, most people leave them on and leave their notifications on. Your phone will vibrate, ring and light up all night, disturbing you 24/7.

Check out some of these tweets of people who suffered from sleep-texting fails…

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Thousands of people all over the world experience accidental sleep-texting and it's becoming a bigger problem, the more we become interlocked to our phones. 

Sleep-texting solution

There are currently no medications that can stop sleep texting, but here are some tips that will save your life

Leave your phone in another room at night so the notifications won’t trigger you to respond. Let your bedroom be a place for sleep and sex only. If you need your phone alarm, consider investing in a normal alarm clock

  • Shut off all your electronics one or two hours before bedtime and follow a consistent sleeping schedule. By doing this often, you’ll train your body to wake up/sleep at the same times daily.
  • If you are feeling stressed about social problems, life, friends etc.…consider doing Yoga or meditation to calm your anxieties from your social life.
  • If you need a phone in your room, get a landline and keep it as far from the bed as possible.
  • If the above steps don’t work for ending your sleep-texting, then we would suggest you talk to your doctor. According to David Volpi, Parasomnias can be a “warning sign for other health problems, such as obstructive sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux, seizures or restless leg syndrome.”

Sleep-texting can also be the cause of medications you are currently taking such as sleep medicine (ironically). The last resort alternative can be visiting a sleep specialist to help find what’s causing the problem.

If you are a sleep-texter, you are not alone, many people are making bad texting decisions in their dreams. There may be no cure, but there are many things you can do to prevent this from happening.