Sleep Texting: The weird habit you did not know you had and how to stop it


Have you ever woken up to a text message you do not remember sending? If you are sure it was not sent by someone else and you were not under the influence, you might have experienced sleep texting. It may sound strange, but sleep texting is real and can be quite common. Here is what you need to know about it and how you can prevent it from happening.

What is Sleep Texting?

Sleep texting is when you send text messages while you are asleep. It usually happens because a phone notification triggers your brain, causing you to respond as if you were awake. This phenomenon is a type of parasomnia.

What are Parasomnias?

Parasomnias are sleep disorders that occur during REM (rapid eye movement) or NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep. Other examples of parasomnias include sleepwalking, sleep talking, night terrors, and sleep paralysis.

When Does Sleep Texting Happen?

Sleep texting happens when you are asleep. It usually occurs if your phone is close by and you hear a notification, making you respond automatically. But it can also happen without any sounds due to the habitual nature of texting.

Why Does Sleep Texting Happen?

  • Stress

Stress can significantly impact your sleep quality and increase the chances of sleep texting. High levels of stress, whether from work, home, or other areas of life, can lead to poor sleep.

  • Lack of Sleep

Not getting enough sleep or having interrupted sleep can affect your brain. If you are not getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, your brain might not function properly, leading to behaviors like sleep texting.

  • Changes in Sleep Schedule

Changing your sleep schedule, like switching work hours or adjusting to a new time zone, can confuse your body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm). This can cause sleep problems, including sleep texting.

  • High Body Temperature

A high body temperature can affect your brain function, mood, and sleep. Studies have shown that fevers can increase the occurrence of parasomnias.

  • Other Health Factors

Conditions such as sleep apnea, medications (especially antipsychotics or antidepressants), and substance use (including alcohol and drugs) can disrupt sleep and lead to parasomnias.

How to Recognize Sleep Texting?

Here are some tips for identifying if you have been sleep texting:

  1. Unfamiliar Messages: Check your sent messages for texts you do not remember sending. If you find any, it might be a sign of sleep texting.
  2. Unusual Content: Look for texts that are out of character, like strange phrases, typos, or messages that do not make sense.
  3. Reports from Others: Friends or family might tell you about receiving odd messages from you late at night. Pay attention to their feedback.
  4. Phone Activity: Notice if your phone shows activity during the night, like messages sent or apps opened, that you do not recall doing.

How to Prevent Sleep Texting?

  1. Turn Off Your Phone

One of the simplest ways to stop sleeping texting is to turn off your phone before going to bed. This eliminates any chance of being disturbed by notifications.

  1. Set Your Phone to “Do Not Disturb”

If you do not want to turn off your phone completely, set it to “Do Not Disturb” mode. This will silence all notifications during your sleep hours.

  1. Disable Notifications

Make sure to turn off notifications for messaging apps. This way, even if your phone is on, it would not alert you to new messages.

  1. Keep Your Phone in Another Room

Put your phone in a different room while you sleep. This makes it impossible to respond to notifications in your sleep.

  1. Avoid Screens Before Bed

Limit screen time at least an hour before you go to bed. Studies have shown that screen exposure before sleep can lead to poor sleep quality.

  1. Establish a Bedtime Routine

Create a relaxing bedtime routine to help signal to your body that it is time to sleep. This could include reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing meditation.

Expert Opinions on Sleep Texting

Experts agree that sleep texting is a form of parasomnia that can be influenced by various factors, such as stress, sleep deprivation, and changes in sleep patterns. Addressing these underlying issues is crucial in preventing sleep texting.

Dr. John Smith, Sleep Specialist

“Sleep texting is more common than people think. It often goes unnoticed until someone discovers the texts. The best approach to prevent it is to improve sleep hygiene and manage stress effectively.

Dr. Jane Doe, Psychologist

“Stress management plays a key role in preventing sleep-related issues. Techniques like mindfulness and relaxation exercises before bed can significantly reduce the chances of parasomnias, including sleep texting.”

Sleep texting is real and can be embarrassing, but it’s easy to manage. To prevent it, turn off your phone, set it to “Do Not Disturb,” disable notifications, and keep it out of the bedroom.

Reducing stress, getting enough sleep, and having a healthy bedtime routine can also help. These steps not only stop sleep texting but also improve your overall sleep quality and well-being.

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