Our constant use of technology is giving rise to a new disorder known as sleep texting.
Few things can get you into more trouble than sending a text in your sleep. Sleep texting is like having your subconscious thoughts published in the form of a text message, which can get you into some sticky situations.
Sleep texting is becoming increasingly common, especially among younger adults, according to Dr. Michael Gelb, a clinical professor at New York University’s College of Dentistry and founder of The Gelb Center in New York. Sleep texting falls into the same category of parasomnia sleep disorders as sleep walking.
Alex Thielen, a 22 year old sleep texter, felt the pangs of embarrassment when she sent a sleep text to her ex-boyfriend. After months without contact, he had reached out to her, sending her a text before bedtime. She sent him a sleep text back asking him to meet up.
“I never wanted to see him, and still don’t, but I think subconsciously, I still partially do, so my subconscious loved the idea,” Thielen explained to The Atlantic. “I woke up and was embarrassed to tell my friends and mom because deep down, I knew it was a bad idea. I was upset with myself for making it known that I wanted to see him.”
No Spell Check for Sleep Texting
Sleep texts are often riddled with misspellings but the words still have impact, especially when sent to someone outside close family and friends–like a boss or ex-boyfriend. They’re also very difficult to retract because people hesitate to believe that you sent a text in your sleep. But with cell phones on nearly every bedside table, sleep texting isn’t as far-fetched as it might sound.
Sleep texting also disrupts sleep, preventing your body from reaching the REM sleep cycle. What a person had to drink, stress levels, and quality of sleep before the event also have an impact. Workaholics are also prone to sleep texting. According to an article in the Daily Mail, they can’t seem to turn off their work brain.
“People are doing so much during a normal day that it can mean that they feel like they’re ‘on call’ even at night,” said Dr David Cunnington, of Melbourne Sleep Disorder Centre in Australia.
The thought of sending a subconscious text to my boss makes my stomach turn. All the more reason to keep your cell phone out of the bedroom.
Have you ever been caught sleep texting? Tell us about it in a comment.