Daily stress is leading to a rise in the potential nightmare of ‘sleep texting’ expert claims.

  • Warning to leave mobile phones outside the bedroom
  • People are doing so much during a normal day that it can mean that they fell like they’re ‘on call’ even at night

The stress of daily life has sparked a new phenomenon – sleep texting. People with the rare condition send incoherent text messages while asleep to their friends and family – completely unaware that they are doing it. Sleep specialist Dr David Cullington, of Melbourne Sleep Disorder Centre in Australia said patients had reported incidents of sleep texting – and he has advised people to leave their mobile phones outside the bedroom.

He said, ‘we have had patients who have reported sending text messages to their friends and family while asleep. It is one of those things that happens but it is very rare and certainly not a common trend’. Unsurprisingly there are 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.

Dr Cullington said cases of sleep emailing were more common and were likely to have a more detrimental effect on the lives of sufferers. He said, ‘Emails can be sent to work colleagues and have much more serious consequences, whereas text messages are more likely to be accidently sent to a friend or family member so people aren’t as likely to complain of a problem’. Dr Cullington described sleep texting as the result of having too much to do during waking life. He explained, ‘People are doing so much during a normal day that it can feel like their ‘on call’ even at night. Because its so easy to receive emails constantly and get notifications from smartphones, it becomes more difficult to seperate our waking and sleeping lives’. Dr Cullington said people struggling to get a quality nights sleep should keep their phones out of the bedroom. ‘If your phone is on the nightstand, it will be more difficult to have a good nights sleep withour feeling compelled to reply to a message or check your Facebook account. ‘The key is that people need to respect their sleep and make an effort to switch off at night’.

By Naomi Selvaratnam, Daily Mail, November 2011

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