His phone is rarely out of reach, allowing Brian Lawson to stay in touch.
“I’m a big texter with certain people - my fiancé and a few close friends. I do send work texts only because I don't like phone calls,” says Lawson.
As the communication landscape changes, it brings a new dynamic; a growing number of people are sending texts while they’re sound asleep.
“The next day people say ‘what did you do? And they say I didn't do that’. And it turns they look back and they say ‘wow I did send that out’,” says Dr. Jose Colon, sleep specialist with Lee Memorial Health System.
Doctors are hearing about it more frequently, and they’re trying to determine whether this is a sleep disorder. It’s likely that texting would fall into the same category as sleepwalking or eating; things people have been doing for years.
“It’s not a disorder in itself, it’s an umbrella of these non-REM parasomnias,” says Dr. Colon.
Parasomnias are disruptive behaviors that occur during sleep. The non-REM variety refers to actions that take place during deep sleep stages.
“In the first half of the night you have very deep sleep and your brain waves really do slow down. If you think of something you may say it- sleep talking, you may think of a place and walk there - sleepwalking. You may think of a bag of Twinkies and go into the kitchen and eat it. Sleep testing is the same thing going on,” says Dr. Colon.
Experts believe it may be a consequence of us not pulling the plug anymore, especially young people who never sign off for the night.
“I’ve been so tired I texted someone without knowing it,” says Lawson.
So when our fingers do the talking, does it make any sense?
“They’re rational thoughts that are completely out of context to the person that’s receiving it,” says Dr. Colon.
If you don’t want to reveal too much during an unconscious state, it may pay to be mindful and put some safeguards in place.
“I’m so specific where I keep my phone. I keep it far enough I have to get up to go get it, so it will wake me up and keep me up,” says Lawson.
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Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.