By Mari A. Schaefer
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Elizabeth B. Dowdell is a professor of nursing at Villanova University and the lead author of a new study on sleep texting. Professor Dowdell says sleep walking comes from the body’s internal signals while texting while sleeping is usually prompted by external sounds like a buzz, beep or tweet.
People are known to walk, talk and eat while sleeping. Now, there is sleep texting.
A new study from Villanova University found that the habit of using smartphones to message friends while still asleep, and having no memory of doing it, is a growing technology trend among adolescents and young adults.
The paper, “Interrupted sleep: College students sleeping with technology,” was published in the Journal of American College Health.
“They are intimately attached to their phones,” said Elizabeth B. Dowdell, professor of nursing at Villanova University and the lead author of the study. Adolescents and young adults can average 60 to 100 text messages a day, she said.
While sleep walking comes from the body’s internal signals, texting while sleeping is usually prompted by external sounds, Dowdell said.
It’s the buzz, beep or tweet that makes the person automatically reach for their phone. That sound gives them a sense of happiness, she said.
The researchers interviewed 372 students at two Northeast colleges with an average age of 19.7 years, 75 percent were women, 25 percent men.
All of the participants had a smartphone and 93 percent reported keeping their cellphone with them at night. One-third of respondents reported that they answered a phone call while they were asleep. Twenty-five percent of the students admitted they texted while asleep. Of those, 86 percent were women, the study found.
Men, the researchers discovered, used their phones differently.
While women in the study were more likely to keep their phone in their bed, men were more likely to keep their phone next to their bed.