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Texting during the day linked to less sleep, study says

Categories: Health

460-sleeping-phone-iStock16813453.jpgNew studies are looking into the relationship between texting on your cellphone and your sleeping patterns - including sending texts while asleep. (iStockPhoto)

Young adults and college students might have an erratic sleep schedule to begin with, but they might not realize how much their cell phones are contributing to the problem.

A new study published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture found that the more people texted during the day, the less sleep they got during the night. It studied 83 first-year undergraduate students and measured several aspects of their health and well-being, along with their cellphone texting habits.

The study concluded that "a higher number of daily texts was directly associated with more sleep problems," as well as a higher frequency of emotional stress and feelings of burnout.

The study, despite its relatively small sample, isn't the first to look at the relationship between sleep and texting. In fact, a growing number of studies are looking at the phenomenon, calling it a new, technology-based incarnation of sleepwalking.

"The line is blurring between wakefulness and sleep," says Michael Gelb from the New York University's College of Dentistry in The Atlantic

He explained that when someone sleeps with their phone near their bed, or indeed anywhere in the room, they can be awoken by the ping of an incoming text, reply to it while still asleep or half-asleep, then go back to bed -- and then the cycle continues.

Gelb recommends turning your phone's alert sounds off for the night, or leaving your phone out of the bedroom when you go to bed. He also recommends turning off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before going to sleep.

According to a report by CNN in February, it's important to note that sleeptexting is often done while half-asleep, unlike sleepwalking, and can be prevented by following these tips. 

Doctors who spoke to CNN noted that young professionals can be just as prone to sleeptexting as teenagers and students, because of pressure to always be on call and to answer work-related emails at all hours.

The hashtag #sleeptexting reveals a steady stream of people waking up and finding poorly spelled conversations on their cellphone that they don't remember taking part in.

Have you ever sleeptexted? What measures do you take, if any, to avoid interruptions while you sleep?

Tags: Health, Science & Technology

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