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Gone are the days when people would wander around their home and do odd activities during deep sleep. Now it seems that adolescents and young adults are making a habit out of texting random thoughts while catching their Zzzs.
Researchers have named it sleeptexting and have put it under the parasomnia category, -- linking it to other sleep disorders, such as sleepwalking, night terrors and bedwetting. “So, you’ll be texting one second and the next second you’re asleep, but then you get a ping and the ping awakens you,” Michael Gelb, D.D.S., a clinical professor at New York University’s College of Dentistry and founder of The Gelb Center in New York, told The Atlantic. “It’s becoming more of a trend because the line is really being blurred between being awake and being asleep.”
He further explained that sleeptexting tends to happen within the first two hours of slumber, disrupting REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep (the lightest stage in sleep in which dreams occur). Dr. Gelb and his colleagues have discovered that those who take medications are at higher risk of developing this disorder. And the number one problematic med are sleeping pills.
“Ambien makes it worse because then you’re out of it,” he said. “It’s amnesia. You don’t even really remember what you did while you’re on Ambien.”
While just about anyone could start texting their jumbled (and often misspelled) feelings to their aunt on any given night, the disorder tends to affect teens and young adults because the cell phone has been the center of their universe since the beginning of their time. Or as Gelb sums it up: “…they’re pretty much attached to the phone like an appendage.”
Aside from losing quality sleep, sleeptexters are faced with the morning after what-the-hell-did-I-do moments (which could actually be worse). So far, the only “cure” for this disorder is making lifestyle adjustments, like cutting down on the drinking and meds and trying to manage stress.
Here’s a thought: Turn your phone off and leave it in another room. Really, it’s okay. Take a moment and realize that you do not need to be “aware” and “available” 24/7. And while this may sound hard to believe, your ex has no interest in being woken up in the middle of the night by your text that says, “yrou suhc a fkcing azhole!!!”