Sleep-Texting: The New Tech Medical Condition

Mindful Living Network, Mindful Living, Dr. Kathleen Hall, The Stress Institute, OurMLN.com, MLN, Alter Your Life

Tech detoxes are need now more than ever. Research in the past has shown that constant cellphone use can lead to physical pain, but new studies now warn of a new tech-related medical condition: sleep-texting.

Americans have become addicted to texting. Adults receive or send an average of 42 messages a day and young adults receive or send an average of 88 messages a day. All of these texts are creating a habit that apparently haunts Americans even in their sleep.

Sleep-texting is a new trend, but experts believe that it’s similar to sleepwalking or even drunk-dialing. People whom sleep-text send or reply to texts from friends, family, and coworkers when they are in a half-conscious state of sleep. In the morning, when they’re awake, these individuals usually have no idea that they have texted in the night until they receive a reply or check their phone’s text message history.

Such tech-related medical conditions have been on the rise in recent years. Five years ago, sleep-emailing was of high concern for working adults. After promptly answering emails at all hours of the day, these adults started to send emails at night when they were half-asleep. In terms of sleep-texting, researchers have just recently started studies, but it’s already considered to be more common among teens and young adults. This may be due to the fact that four in five teens sleep with their cellphones near or on their beds.

 Sleep-texting can be quite embarrassing, leading to many awkward situations. However, it’s also bad for people’s health, especially teens. They need at least nine hours of sleep every night, but with “academic/social pressure, late nights,” and their beeping cellphones waking them up, kids rarely get the amount of sleep they need. Teens who use the Internet or text at bedtime experience sleep deprivation. This leads to “mood, behavior, memory, and thinking problems during the day” and may cause health problems as they grow up.

There are Mindful ways to curb your sleep-texting habit. Here are three suggestions:

  1. Put your phone on lockdown. Consider creating a complex code on your phone so you’ll be less likely to send a text when you’re half-asleep.
  2. Aim for silence. When you go to bed put your phone on silent (not vibrate) so you won’t be interrupted in the night by new notifications.
  3. Create a tech-free oasis. Consider keeping all electronics (laptops, tablets, and cellphones) outside of your bedroom so you won’t be distracted. If this is too extreme at least keep your cellphone on the other side of your bedroom.