We are mostly quite aware when we text something to someone. But, many people wake up to a text that they do not remember sending. This might be because they have texted in their sleep. It might seem strange, but sleep texting is for real.
Read on to learn more about sleep texting.
Sleep Texting Is For Real!
Sleep texting is a real thing and is triggered by a phone message alert. Sometimes as soon as you get a message or notification on your phone, your brain reacts immediately, even when you are sleeping, and you start texting. Sleep texting stems from something called parasomnias, or sleep disorders.
Parasomnias or sleep disorders can be disruptive when you are in REM or NREM sleep modes. Apart from sleep texting, there are several other parasomnias, such as sleep talking, sleepwalking, night terrors, and even sleep paralysis.
What Is Sleep Texting?
Sleep texting is a condition when an individual unconsciously sends text messages when they are not fully awake.(1) Sleep texting occurs when the brain and body are in a state that is not completely conscious or asleep. Sleep texters hardly remember sending text messages.
Sleep texting affects mostly those people who sleep close to their phones with audible notifications. Someone dealing with sleep texting disorder hears the phone notification when they receive a text and their body quickly responds to the message, often with their closed eyes.
The number of people who text while sleeping is increasing every day. According to the Journal of American College Health, more than 25% of students reported sleep texting behavior along with poor sleep hygiene.(2)
How Does Sleep Texting Happen?
When we sleep, our brain too rests along with our body. However, the part of our brain which is responsible for creating memories is different from the part of the brain which is responsible for motor skills. So, when the memory gland sleeps, the other part of the brain remains unconsciously awake.
When a notification or message tune triggers our senses, the brain acts on it and signals our body to wake up and respond to the text message.
This is also the reason why many people perform various movements, like talking and walking when they are asleep, and when they wake up, they do not remember the actions that they performed while sleeping.
What Causes Sleep Texting
Some of the most common causes of sleep texting include:
Interrupted Sleep or Sleep Deprivation
Interrupted sleep or sleep deprivation can affect our whole body, but our brain is affected the most. If we do not get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night, it could mess with our brains.
According to a study conducted in 2016, it has been found that sleep deprivation affected the resting-state networks of the brain.(3) This affects our attention, emotion, motivation, learning, and memory.
Changes in Sleep Schedule
Maybe your working hours at the office shifted or you have shifted to a new time zone. Either way, you will have an altered sleep schedule. A change in sleep schedule due to any reason can impact your mental health and you might suffer from parasomnias including sleep texting.
A serious stress issue increases your chances of sending unwanted text messages at midnight. Stress can impact your sleep quality quite badly.
A study from 2017 conducted taking medical students as the participants found that stress and poor sleep quality were linked to each other.(4) Students with a relatively low GPA were four times more likely to have poor quality of sleep than those with higher GPAs.
Fever with high temperature can wreak havoc on your sleep, cognition, and mood. A study conducted in 2014 investigated sleep patterns and disturbances in children with familial Mediterranean fever (FMF). It was found that children with familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) experienced a lot more parasomnias than the control group.(5)
Genetics also play a major role in parasomnias, including sleep texting. You have a higher chance of having parasomnia like sleep texting if it runs in your family.
Certain Underlying Conditions
Certain serious underlying conditions can also be causing sleep texting in you. This is particularly true if the conditions are paired with other parasomnias. You should consult with your doctor if you have sound sleep consistently and yet sleep texting continues.
How to Stop Sleep Texting?
We can take multiple actions to stop or at least reduce sleep texting. Let us take a look at some of them.
Get Plenty of Uninterrupted Sleep
Since sleep deprivation can cause sleep texting and other types of parasomnias, getting plenty of uninterrupted sleep can help in reducing or preventing the condition. Having a proper amount of sleep can help you feel well-rested and maintain overall good health.
Switch off Your Phone Before Bedtime
Switching off your phone and hiding it away from your bed can prevent you from sleep texting. Studies have shown that using phones or other screen time negatively impacts children’s sleep.(6)
A study conducted in 2013 found that the use of gadgets before bed is extremely common in the United States.(7) The use of cell phones and other interactive electronic devices is associated with trouble falling asleep.
Due to lack of sleep, people suffer from various sleep disorders, including sleep texting. So, it is advised to sleep without phones nearby.
Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol not only disrupts sleep but is also a sedative, which means it can trigger parasomnias, including sleep texting in some individuals.(7, 8) So, if you are consuming alcohol and having sleep texting, try reducing alcohol consumption.
Check Your Medications
Sedative medications and supplements increase your risk of parasomnias. If you are taking any such sedatives and having sleep texting, consult with your doctor regarding an alternative that is less sedating or not a sedative.
Treat Other Sleep Disorders
If you have other sleep disorders, such as periodic limb movement disorder or obstructive sleep apnea, you might be at risk of suffering from parasomnias like sleep texting. So, if suffer from any sleep disorder, follow the prescribed treatment to reduce this risk factor.
When to Consult A Doctor?
If you have tried everything to reduce or treat sleep texting, but still find yourself sleep texting, you should consult a doctor, get yourself properly diagnosed, and start the treatment plan.
Sleep texting is for real. It is possible to text while you are asleep or not fully awake. Sleep texting, like other parasomnias occurs in a semiconscious state. Although it is not a serious problem, you should try to overcome sleep texting by any means and keep yourself in good mental and physical health.