Teen Angst

Helping adolescents deal with anger and other emotions effectively

Twas the Night Before School

Sleep Texting

Twas the night before school and all through the house not a creature was stirring except for Jamie who'd just got a text from her BFF Liz on her cell.  She reached under the pillow to see what was the matter and texted right back something with a whole lot of characters.  Without even knowing what she was doing, she nodded back off until the morning.  Her alarm clock went off and she sprang from the bed .  She yawned and was exhausted from that night that she had.  Groggy and dazed she reached for her phone and pulled up a text from Liz that said "HuH?"  Looking back she realized she'd texted during the night and this was becoming a problem with no end in sight.

To many teens sleep is a prized commodity.  They like to stay up late at night and snooze late into the next day.  But how many are actually getting a good night's sleep? According to a survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, about 1 in 10 teens say they're awakened nearly every night by a phone call, text message or e-mail.  And one in five teens and young adults said they have their sleep disrupted by noisy devices a few nights a week.  With the majority (75%) of U.S. teens owning a cell phone, sleep texting could become a big problem.

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So, what's "sleep texting"?  Sleep texting is the sending of incoherent texts while asleep and many may not even remember sending it!  How does this happen?!?  Imagine being in a deep sleep and your phone vibrates on your night stand or under your pillow.  You awaken half way but are still in between dreamland and reality.  You look at the screen and see a message and start typing back but rather than a coherent message your just hitting keys and what you end up sending is a jumbled mess.  You hit send and voila, you've just sleep texted.   The next day you may have no recollection of the text or what you typed.  This type of texting can  lead to some major social consequences, especially if you accidentally sent something that you shouldn't to the wrong person. 

Want to help your teen get a good night's rest and possibly prevent a social catastrophe?  Make sure they're not sleeping with their cell phone. It's important to teach your teen to leave the phone and other electronic devices outside the bedroom or turn them off.  Keep the chargers away from the bed or preferably outside the bedroom.  Research suggests that people should stop using electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime.  The artificial light exposure at night suppresses the release of melatonin (a sleep inducing hormone) and increases our alertness which wires us up and makes us feel less drowsy.  So want some good zzz's then "power off" a least an hour before bed.  Plus, with sleep texting what are you going to get at 2:00am that can't wait until the next day? 

Check out this video on Sleep Texting:

 

So I close this tale, with a hope for a restful night, Happy Sleeping to all and to all a Good Night.

 

Raychelle Cassada Lohmann, M.S., L.P.C., is the author of The Anger Workbook for Teens.

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