Because sleep is connected to almost every facet of the medical industry and our lives, we here at Pittsburgh Dental Sleep Medicine try to stay in the loop with trending health topics. Almost every other month, something new is published about how smartphones are changing our lives in many ways, and sleep is not excluded from this discussion.
“…people had been performing semi-purposeful behaviours in their sleep for years, so it was no surprise when they started text” – Sleep Services Australia medical director Linda Schachter
People sometimes do strange things in their sleep – it’s not a new thing. Since smartphones have become a ubiquitous part of most people’s lives, it shouldn’t be a surprise that sleep texting has become a more prevalent part of daily life.
Of course, sleep texting is not ideal. As dangerous as the famed and funny “drunk text” can be, so can sleep texting. Maybe it can get you into trouble with a boss, a lover, or a family member. A particular instance brought to light by Sleep Foundation’s deputy chair, Dr. Hillman, was that of on-call medical professionals answering their phones while still half asleep, and giving instructions without fully waking up.
This state of constant-connectedness is showing ways that it’s changing our patterns, and thus our culture.
“….sleep texting [was] a type of parasomnia which presented as people doing automatic-type behavior while asleep.”
“Along with a growing concern that young people, in particular, may be spending too much time staring into their phones instead of interacting with others, come questions as to the immediate effects on the brain and the possible long-term consequences of such habits.” – Sleep Review Magazine
The studies discussed in this article have illuminated researchers regarding how smartphone addiction is changing brain chemistry in young people. A professor of neuroradiology at Korea University found a correlation between smartphone addicted teenagers and higher scores in depression, anxiety, insomnia severity, and impulsivity.
The specifics of the study are less important as touching on what this could mean for all of us. It is suggested that more research be done to find out more about smartphone addiction and how it effects brain chemistry. PDSM has already posted many articles about links between depression, anxiety and sleep. It is understood that sleep has a lot to do with a person’s mental health, and can also be disruptive to a person’s sleep.
This interconnectedness forces a realization that our phones may not be as high a priority as we make them. If it’s a choice between health and happiness versus our phones, hopefully most people would choose health and happiness. Of course we don’t know what will be determined in the future, but there is enough evidence suggested presently to recommend a large dose of caution when it comes to a phone’s role in a person’s daily life. If you keep your phone out of your bedroom while you sleep, it will not effect your circadian rhythym, nor will you have the opportunity to manage sleep phone calls or texts.