Sleep texting, a rude awakening for younger generations

It may be rare to find your roommate sleeping with a teddy bear at night, but you just might find them cuddling with a smartphone instead. With the rise of the digital age, technology has become a new avenue for daily tasks. Rituals as common as sleepwalking have been noted to evolve into sleep texting. This new phenomenon occurs more with the younger generation of smartphone users. The attachment many may have with their phone creates a greater potential for individuals to subconsciously turn to them throughout the night. An American poll which explores connections with communications, technology use and sleep conducted by The National Sleep Foundation found that 95 percent of those surveyed reported very active technology use within the hours before going to sleep. According to the survey, nearly half of generation Y’ers (19-29 years old) admitted to sending or receiving text messages almost every night in the hour before bed. Sleep deprivation may seem common for college students, but cell phone use may play a bigger role than some may realize. Senior psychology major, Rachel Mayleben, recalls periodically sleep texting, mainly in response to messages she had received while asleep. “I can’t exactly remember the context of the last message I sent [while asleep] but I know that all of my words had extra letters at the end,” Mayleben said. “I didn’t remember sending the message the next morning.”It has been found that approximately one in five generation Y’ers are woken up a few nights a week by text messages or phone calls, according to the same poll by The American Sleep Foundation. These sleep disruptions can be avoided by silencing cellular devices at night, although that may be a hard feat to face. Some college students like Sean Crowley, junior engineering technology major, use their cell phones as alarm clocks, making this attempt seemingly problematic. Crowley sets two alarms in preparation to wake each morning, one on his Apple iPhone and another on his Apple iPod. He keeps both devices bedside. He admitted that without using these devices to wake him up, he would most likely sleep until “the sun starts shining” throughout his room. Mobile technology has become a conditioned means of everyday life.  Sleep texting can oftentimes be laughed at, but what happens if it turns into a waking nightmare? Freshman psychology major, Jamie Draud woke one morning to find that at some point within the night, she had sent a flirtatious message to a platonic friend. She had no recollection of sending the message, at first believing someone had set her up while she lay asleep. After evaluating the situation, she realized that there had been no one else in her room that night. “It was an awkward situation to face to say the least,” Draud said. “I have no idea why I would have sent something like that.”Draud is not the only one who has fallen victim of their own sleep aided acts. Often times you can find that many Twitter users recount the messages they find themselves sending late into the night. You can find these Tweets by searching the hashtag #sleeptexting. “My sleep texting is getting out of hand,” said one Twitter user. “Wow, sleep texting has got to be the most embarrassing thing ever,” said another Twitter user. In order to prevent sleep texting, it is suggested by The National Sleep Foundation to turn off your phone when going to bed. Other methods of protection from becoming a sleep texter are to set a passcode on your phone or to put it across the room and away from your bed, preventing you from easily accessing it during the night. Many may be surprised in the amount of sleep they may gain by cuddling with their pillow instead of their smartphone.