By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer
Beep, beep, beep! It’s around 6:30am, and it’s time for you to get ready for school. You drag yourself out of bed and notice something’s different today. Has the sun always been this bright in the morning? Is your head usually this fuzzy? Did you send any texts last night? Are your thumbs sore? If you’re asking yourself these questions, you may be a sleep-texter!
Yup! Sleep experts are reporting that many people are waking up several times a night to send a late-night text message, even if they can’t remember doing it! While some folks might sleepwalk and “get up and go get something out of the refrigerator,” said Dr. Jim Fulop, the medical director for OhioHealth Sleep Services, others “grab their smartphone, which is right next to them, and they may text or do other things.”
So what if you send a few “lol” and “omg” texts to your friends in the middle of the night, no harm done right? Actually there is. When people wake up in the middle of the might, they interrupt a stage of sleep called rapid eye movement (REM). While REM sleep is where you dream the most, it’s also the stage where you strengthen your memories and refresh your brain for the next morning. In many cases sleep-texting occurs two hours after a person falls asleep, or just about when REM sleep starts.
“Sleep is a very important restorative process,” says sleep specialist Dr. Josh Werber. “And when we’re not fully engaged in it, and not getting the amount we need, we’re not having the same restorative effect on our brains – and that affects our cognitive ability the next day.”
Oh no, I don’t want to becomes a sleep-texter! What should I do? According to experts, the best thing for me is to shut off my phone. If I’m feeling particularly tempted to text my friends, I should put my phone in another room! The distance will let you get the sleep you need and save you from sending potentially embarrassing texts!