As if you didn’t have enough to worry about. A new study confirms a growing number of us are “sleep texting,” actually texting back and forth with someone while we’re asleep — and when we wake up we have no memory of it.

The Villanova University study found 25 percent of students at two colleges in the northeast reported sleep texting and sometimes the subject matter turned out to be embarrassing.

According to Dr. Jonathan Kass, the director of the sleep disorders center at Cooper University Hospital, this is not surprising because many people do all sorts of things in their sleep.

“The most common one we hear about is sleep walking but people eat in their sleep, they take showers in their sleep and now that they’re so commonly involved using their phones, it’s sort of a reflex.”

Mary Adekunle,the clinical director of the Sleep & Neurodiagnostics Center at Bacharach Institute for Rehabilitation in Pomona, pointed out that “there are very light stages of sleep as we’re drifting off, and we can do things and sometimes we have no recollection that we’ve done it.”

She noted if people are constantly texting during the day, “it becomes part of their subconscious, so they’re doing it without even realizing that they’re sending the text because they’re not fully alert.”

Kass said if someone wakes you up at night and asks you a question, you answer it and then go right back to sleep. You probably won’t remember it, so sleep texting is the same kind of situation.

“It happens so quickly that it doesn’t get into their memory banks," Kass said.

He pointed out if you engage in sleep texting once in a while it’s probably nothing to worry about. “But if it’s happening many times a night, then it could disrupt your sleep[, ...] affecting your ability to function the next day.”

Adekunle said if you don’t want to sleep text, the solution is simple: Turn off your phone, tablet and laptop.

“If you have those on during the night, it will interfere with your deeper stages of sleep as you progress. It
can actually remove you from the deeper stages and take you back to your light stages, which is not really restorative.”

If you want to keep your phone on at night just in case there’s an emergency, keep your phone away from the bed.

In the study, 93 percent of respondents reported routinely keeping their phones on at night, and 86 percent of respondents who said they were sleep texting were women.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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