Sleeping next to a phone is never a good idea. For one, previous studies have shown that doing so can ruin a person's sleep schedule. Now, there's one more reason to keep it away from the bed.
According to a recent study, sleep texting is a very real phenomenon. It's defined as sending nonsense messages to friends, family members, or worse yet, colleagues, then not having any memory of it whatsoever in the morning — highly similar to drunk texting, except the person isn't drunk, just really sleepy.
Sleep Texting Is Real
"Sleep texting occurs when an individual responds to or sends a text message electronically while in a sleep state," according to researchers from Villanova University who recently published a study on college students' sleep habits.
Apparently, a notification can wake a person up enough — though they're not totally awake — to send a reply. The study included a sample of college students, 25 percent of which confirmed they had texted someone in their sleep — 72 percent of them said they didn't remember doing so in the morning.
Sleep texting isn't really dangerous, however. Rather, it's more embarrassing, according to the researchers. Depending on what the message is and who the sender is texting, the results could either be comedic, catastrophic, or a combination of both.
But the more important aspect that deserves further scrutiny is that sleep texting is a real phenomenon and it disrupts people's sleep schedules.
"Sleep texting and its influence on poor sleep habits is a growing trend in a college student population," according to the researchers.
Why Does Sleep Texting Happen?
Angela Crouch, a sleep expert, says sleep texting is a form of Parasomnia — "a broad category that encompasses a number of sleep disorders including sleepwalking or sleep eating and that occurs during the REM stage of sleep."
Apparently during this stage, different parts of the brain are either awake or asleep. As such, some activities, particularly texting, are completed while on "autopilot" mode. This is especially true, she adds, if the person is the type who's always glued to their phone and immediately leaps into action every time they get a text.
How To Prevent Sleep Texting
The easiest way to prevent oneself from sleep texting is to keep the phone relatively far from the bed. Not only will this lower the chances of hearing notifications, but it'll also prevent disrupting one's sleep schedule. Also, this makes it much harder to reach for the phone while sleeping and typing out nonsense texts.
Putting the phone on silent or do-not-disturb modes will greatly help toward a good night's sleep as well.