People walk, talk and eat while they sleep. Now people are sleep texting, too.
Experts at Villanova University in Pennsylvania did a new study. It pointed out a growing trend. Young people are using smartphones to message friends while still asleep. When they wake up they do not remember doing it.
Elizabeth B. Dowdell is a professor of nursing at Villanova. She was the leader of the new study. Young people are deeply tied to their phones, she said.
Sleepwalking comes from the body’s own signals. Texting while sleeping is different. It is usually brought on by outside sounds, Dowdell said.
People hear their phones buzz, beep or tweet. That makes the person reach for their phone without thinking about it.
The experts studied 372 students. The students’ average age was 19.7 years old. Three out of 4 were women and 1 out of 4 were men. All of the students had a smartphone. More than 9 out of 10 said they keep their cellphone with them at night. One out of 3 students said that they answered a phone call while they were asleep. One out of 4 students said they texted while asleep. Of those, 8 out of 10 were women, the study found.
Men used their phones differently, the experts learned.
Women in the study more often kept their phone in their bed. Men more often kept their phone next to their bed.
The text messages that were sent were not a problem. More often, they are just funny, experts found.
“For most of them it is really silly,” said Dowdell. They are texting their friends, not bosses or co-workers, she said.
Not Getting Enough Sleep
Sleep texting may seem funny. It can cause a serious problem, though. It can cause people to not get enough sleep.
Most of the students in the study were not getting enough quality sleep, Dowdell found. Busy college life can leave students tired. Sleep texting can hurt their quality of sleep more, she said.
The study said not getting enough sleep can be a problem. It can make you think slower. It can hurt test scores. It can make you less happy as well, the study said.
Dowdell said parents should talk to their children about texting. Parents should say when it’s OK or not OK to use phones, she said.
There are ways to stop texting while sleeping. Dowdell said to turn the phone off for the night. You can also put it on airplane mode. Either way, texts won’t be seen until the morning.