These days, it seems like we’ve become obsessed with technology. In the last ten years we’ve become more wired as a society whether it’s through text messaging, social networks such as Facebook and Twitter or by having complete access to an endless supply of information in real-time. Where it once was out of place and a slightly off-putting to see people with their faced glued downward, staring into their smart phones, these days it’s a common occurrence. But, could it be that this obsession is now creeping into an area of our lives that was once safe? Is this addiction now starting to affect people in their sleep? According to the Ohio Sleep Medicine Institute, the answer is yes.
According to Dr. Markus Schmidt, “Four out of five kids that have cell phones sleep with the cell phone in the bedroom, next to their bed,” Schmidt said. “Only one in 10 actually turn it off.” The proximity of most people’s cell phones to their beds means that when individuals are sleep depraved they may send a text message. Or, in some cases, like a sleepwalker, they hear their phone send a text alert and will respond with a text. Most of the time the response will be nonsensical random letters and numbers or a message that is completely unrelated to the text they’ve been sent. Although most of these responses are harmless they may be seen as confusing by the recipient.
If you’ve ever sleep texted someone or are afraid of doing so, there are ways to avoid this nocturnal behavior. The first way is to, obviously, turn off your cell phone and don’t place it anywhere near your bed before going to sleep. This will prevent you from being alerted by any emails or text messages that come in during the night and will also prevent you from unknowingly texting people. If you use the alarm on your cell phone to wake you up in the morning, buy an inexpensive, traditional clock-radio alarm and place it by your bed instead. You’ll sleep better and won’t waste the precious battery life on your phone. But, if you are having issues with bizarre nocturnal behaviors during the night such as sleep walking, it’s best to consult your doctor. Sleepwalking can be the symptom of an underlying psychological issue or sleep disorder.
Finally, modern technology has helped people connect with other people and learn about the world around them at an unprecedented rate but, as with anything, moderation is the key. There’s no reason to let your smart phone get in the way of a good night’s sleep.