Recently, I’ve woken up to a few texts asking me why I was up at 4 a.m. when I have no recollection of being awake. To my dismay, I have started “sleep-texting” some of my friends and family members. Given a somewhat questionable history of sleepwalking (and sleep-talking), I’m not completely surprised, but what’s totally bizarre is that my answers have been fairly coherent, logical, and topical. I just have no recollection of sending them. After doing some research, I have realized sleep-texting is totally a thing.
I’m definitely not alone. While some friends have laughed upon hearing my tale, others have told me that they’ve found themselves texting in their sleep as well. The Consumerist recently deemed it a quick-fix excuse for that text you shouldn’t have sent, but sent anyway. Heck, it’s even a tag on Instagram.
Think about it: many of us in this day and age are glued to our phones. We text, Snapchat, Facebook (back)stalk, and Instagram on the sandwich line at the Blue Room, during class, in the presence of friends, and in any free time that we can find. In some ways, our phones become an extension of ourselves. This might explain why I’ve texted my mom at absurd hours, but I digress (hi Mom). Last week, in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Dr. David Cunnington, a sleep physician from the land down under, confirmed that sleep-texting is alive and well. He even went so far as to say, “sleep-texting is the new sleep walking.” Someone should probably tell my summer camp peers from when I was 8 that I’ve moved on to bigger and better things.
Last month, The Atlantic also covered the sleep-texting phenomenon and talked about how much the content of people’s nocturnal messages can vary — while some maintain typical conversations, others incorporate aspects of their dreams or just write complete gibberish. There are also different risk factors that might lead to increased incidence of sleep-texting, such as anxiety, intoxication, minimal sleep, and changes in one’s sleep schedule.
So what does this mean for us? Next time you and your friends are out to dinner, try putting your phones in a pile — the first person to touch their phone has to pay for your cab ride Saturday night or Froyo. Or try giving yourself a daily break from your phone for a fixed period of time. Unplug for an hour or so and do something that’s not Candy Crush Saga. If all else fails, just don’t keep your phone next to your bed. Unless you want to sleep-text, and then that’s totally Your Prerogative.