If you sleep with your phone, a new study from Villanova University published in the Journal of American College Health might make you kick your digital BAE out of bed for good. As if young people didn’t have enough to worry about, sleep texting has become a real issue, and texting while sleeping is creating some embarrassing daytime drama. The study, conducted on college students at two mid-size universities, found that a quarter of those surveyed reported poor sleep quality and sleep texting. This almost sounds worse than drunk texting because it happens subconsciously, which means you are not actively aware of sending texts in your sleep, nor do you remember it the next day.
However, unlike drunk texting, which often involves spilling secrets or declarations of love, sleep texters generally send gibberish. "Sleep texting occurs when an individual responds to or sends a text message electronically while in a sleep state. The beep or buzz of the cell phone indicating that a call has come in awakens the sleeper, who instinctively reaches over and responds to the message. This action can occur once or multiple times during the sleep cycle, adversely affecting the quality and the duration of the individual’s sleep," the Journal of American College Health reported. So, just what are people texting in their sleep? It’s mostly gobbledygook.
The study included examples aggregated from Google searches of social media platforms, and state secrets these texts are not. "Examples from this search include: "Lips I dripped it," "I legittt wish veggird were enough to fuelme," and "It means Girls tonight. It I 10." While the messages are more embarrassing than dangerous, what’s troubling is the fact they’re being sent at all. Much like sleep driving, sleep eating and sleep walking, performing tasks in your sleep could be an indication that you’re not getting enough sleep.
"We’ve become a society that’s extremely attached to their phones, Being in front of bright light constantly, being constantly exposed [on] our cellphones, that further disrupts your sleep," Dr. Alison Kole, a sleep specialist at Summit Medical Group told News 12 in New Jersey. She added that sleep texting could potentially be dangerous if your texts are not gibberish but are instead insulting rants sent to people like your boss. Oops. If you’re not sure if you’ve made this kind of blunder, and people are giving you the stink eye, check your text history.
The study was conducted on college students because they tend to be the most tech engaged as well as the most sleep deprived population. Women were almost twice as likely to sleep text than men, and 72 percent of all sleep texters said they didn’t remember sending the late-night texts. "Sleep is increasingly recognized as important to health across the lifespan, with poor sleep quality being linked to unintentional accidents, physical ailments, psychological distress, and chronic health conditions," the study reported.
The fact this is a real study and not a satirical story from The Onion is a problem in itself. We are a nation that is so sleep deprived that we’re now performing tasks in our sleep that could have potentially negative consequences. I don’t sleep with my phone so I am pretty sure I have never sleep texted, but I have woken up to my fair share of unintelligible texts that start with "words" like derp. If you’ve sent texts while you thought you were sleeping, it’s time to embrace a clean sleeping bedtime routine, which means banishing your phone from your bed ASAP.
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