Sleep Texting Is On The Rise And It's As Scary As It Sounds
The Debrief: Nightmare scenario: sleep texting a nude to your boss
Hi, my name’s Freddie and I am a sleep texter.
If you’re reading this and wondering what the bloody hell a sleep texter is then you aren’t alone, but neither am I.
Sleep texting is basically what it says on the tin – sending a text when you’re asleep and waking up with absolutely no memory of doing so. In my case I sent a WhatsApp message at 2:30am to someone I wasn’t even in an open conversation with, requesting she didn’t drill any holes into the wall. Weird.
Because it’s so uncommon, sleep texting isn’t yet medically recognised as a diagnosable sleeping disorder. However, ‘There has been some research into it and in some cases it’s been labelled “the new sleep walking”,’ Sammy Margo, a sleep expert at Slumberdown, informs me.
Despite not having any recollection of doing so, you aren’t actually truly asleep when you send the text – otherwise you wouldn’t be able to make any rational sense of the letters and words. ‘You’re awake enough to perform these complex tasks, but not awake enough for your brain to be capable of creating the memory,’ clarifies a sleep consultant for Roman Blinds.
It’s pretty much the same as getting blind drunk and blacking out. ‘You were conscious but your impaired brain was unable to form any memories,’ he adds.
Sammy also explains that ‘sleep texting usually occurs about two hours after a person falls asleep as this is the prime time to interrupt important rapid eye movement sleep’ – which is basically when we’re in a deep sleep and likely to experience vivid dreams.
So what causes us to text in our sleep? Unsurprisingly it’s thought to be stress related. ‘Many of us lead busy working lifestyles and stress is certainly an element of the cause of sleep texting,’ she says. ‘It happens as a result of not being able to unwind at night due to our busy and mentally overactive days. Because we haven’t switched off, this habitual mindset continues into the night and causes us to text in our sleep.’
Although sleep texting is a fairly new phenomenon, Sammy isn’t all that surprised it’s on the rise. ‘With smartphones increasingly becoming a necessity during almost every part of our day, it’s not surprising that we’re unable to switch off from them and are subconsciously reaching for them in the night,’ she says.
What’s even more terrifying is that it’s not just sleep texting that’s on the rise! ‘Sleep emailing is also becoming more and more common,’ Sammy tells me. So not only do we have to worry that we may be texting an ex when we’re unconscious, but now there’s a chance we could be emailing our bosses and colleagues as well.
The best way to combat sleep texting is to leave your phone and other electronic devices outside the room (duh). If you rely on your phone to wake you up in the morning then Sammy advises ‘setting yourself a technology cut off time – such as no smartphones after 9pm.’
It’s also important to give yourself time to unwind before heading off to the land of nod. ‘Try reading a book or listening to music for half an hour to give you time to de-stress,’ she adds.
I don’t know about you guys, but I think I’d rather turn my phone off all together and buy myself a bog standard alarm clock. The last thing I want to do is wake up one morning and realise I’ve accidently sent my dad a filthy sext in my sleep.
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At work? With your gran?
You might want to think about the fact you're about to read something that wouldn't exactly get a PG rating