Don't remember sending that text? Maybe you're a victim of sleep texting

Taylor Martin
 from Concord, NC
Published: September 5, 2011

Technology largely impacts the way that we live our lives, and more importantly how we sleep. Months ago I wrote about my fairly severe case of insomnia. Staring at the bright display of a computer, tablet, smartphone or television after dusk can inhibit the release of melatonin (which helps you fall asleep), make you more alert and shift your circadian rhythm. In other words, it can throw your entire sleep schedule out of whack. Although the solution is rather simple, it's not easy to overcome.

According to experts, however, insomnia isn't the only sleep disorder caused by technology. A report from ABC details a more recent phenomenon that was discovered after people awoke from their precious night's sleep only to find they had sent an entire conversation of text messages without ever waking up. That's right … sleep texting. It's a real thing and apparently becoming a fairly common thing.

Dr. Adam Fisch, a sleep specialist at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis, says, “It doesn't take a lot of motor skill or brain function to do certain things. You can literally do them in your sleep.” This is evidenced by people sleep walking, eating, driving (yes, I've heard tales of this) and other night time activities. A process that we go through several hundred times per day becomes easy with time, hence why you see people weaving through a crowd of people while texting, or carrying on a conversation at the dinner table without skipping a beat in their text conversation. According to ABC, there have also been reports of people emailing in their sleep, and cases of domestic violence and homicide by sleeping people. Freaky.

The concept of sleep texting may seem far-fetched to some of you, but I have actually had people text me while they were asleep before on several occasions. In fact, an ex-girlfriend of mine used to text in her sleep quite often. The only reason I knew she was asleep is because she could never recall the conversations the next morning. And sometimes she would text differently or misspell more words than normal. I eventually caught on to this and would mess with her (like telling her I was moving to Hawaii or going to a far away college), just to see what she would say. Might as well have a little fun with it, right?

Personally, I have never texted while sleeping, unless I also delete texts in my sleep. I have texted to the point of falling asleep and had trouble recalling what was said. But the vibrate or chime of my phone in the middle of the night is usually enough to wake me up. Even then, I usually ignore it and fall back asleep. I just can't imagine I (or anyone else, for that matter) could text very well while sleeping – I can barely type on a touchscreen while fully coherent, much less while catching some Zs.

For those who have experienced sleep texting, Fisch suggests you see a doctor and have your sleep patterns evaluated. And he suggests you keep your phone at a safe distance at night. Duh. Fisch also says the only real harm is waking up and having to explain what you might have said during dozing hours – if you even can. I imagine texting while you're frolicking around the Sandman's castle could lead to some pretty bizarre texts. There is already a Facebook page in honor of the sleeping texters that is 18,000 members strong, and it's only a matter of time before an entertaining blog of "Texts while sleeping" appears.

Anywho, have any of you been a victim of sleep texting? Did you say something that you regretted or got you in trouble? Was the conversation comprehensible? Or have you been messaged by someone who was asleep at the time? If so, tell us how it was/felt in the comments below.

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