Forget sleep walking - now people are TEXTING in the night: Rise in number of people who use their phone while asleep
- A U.S. sleep expert has said an increasing number of people have started to use their phone and send text messages while they are asleep
- Sleep texters often have no recollection of sending the messages when they wake up the next morning
- Dr Werber warned the practice prevents people from getting enough deep sleep that helps the brain perform higher functions
Many people rely on their smartphone throughout the day to surf the web, check their email and send messages to friends. But what about during the night?
A sleep expert has said an increasing number of people have started to use their phone and send text messages while they are asleep and often don't remember writing them.
Dr Josh Werber warned sleep texting could have embarrassing consequences as well as leading to health problems as people are not getting enough quality sleep.
IS STRESS TO BLAME?
Sleep specialist Dr David Cunnington, of Melbourne Sleep Disorder Centre in Australia said daily stress is to blame for the rise of sleep texting.
Dr Cunnington described sleep texting as the result of people having too much to do during waking life.
He said: 'People are doing so much during a normal day that it can mean that they feel like they're "on call" even at night.
'Because it's so easy to receive emails constantly, and get notifications from smartphones, it becomes more difficult for us to separate our waking and sleeping lives.'
23-year-old Megan admitted to U.S. television channel CBS 2 that she texts friends and family in her sleep and has 'no recollection' of sending them.
She told the channel: 'My charger is right there in the corner so sometimes I would keep it right here next to me.
'I guess I got up and texted and went back to bed but I don't remember it.'
She said she has regularly send texts at three and four o'clock in the morning while she was asleep only to wake up and find out she has sent messages of jumbled up words.
While this could be embarrassing, Dr Werber of EOS Sleep, people who text during their sleep are 'not getting the deep sleep or the rapid eye movement which is really critical to higher brain function'.
Laura Hogya, who has a full-time job but is also a sleep texter, told the channel hat she wakes up exhausted and is not sure whether it is because she has had a bad night's sleep from tossing and turning, or from sending text messages.
She said she is half asleep when she gets up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom or to get a glass of water and starts answering messages on her mobile, but she does not remember doing so until the next morning.
Unlike Megan's messages, Ms Hogya's make sense but she is still concerned that they could cause problems one day.
'If I answer a client e-mail that's something that I have to worry about,' she said.
Dr Werber unsurprisingly suggested moving phones away from the bed to make it harder to sleep text, which Ms Hogya is trying.
He said banishing phones for the bedroom completely not only prevents people from sending text messages during their sleep but helps them sleep better as they are not disturbed by light, which sends a message to the brain that it is tome to wake up.
He suggests shutting down all gadgets at least an hour before bed time to increase the chance of a good night's sleep.
There are currently no studies into sleep texting, but a similar phenomenon, sleep emailing, was studied in 2008.
Researchers at the University of Toledo reported the case of a woman, 44, who would compose emails while sound asleep. She had no recollection of sending the emails when awake.
23-year-old Megan (not pictured) admitted to U.S. television channel CBS 2 that she texts friends and family in her sleep and has 'no recollection' of sending t
Hiten A. Raja
Too many people buy things they don't need with money they don't have don't have to impress people they don't know.