The other evening, my son was watching television, dosing off and I saw his fingers start clacking away on his Android cell phone. He was sleep texting. I tried to stop him but it was too late -- teens are so fast when they text that it takes only a split second to send a full paragraph and hit send.
Apparently what his did isn't unusual.
Fox news reports that the stress of daily life has sparked a new phenomenon -- sleep texting.
People send incoherent text messages while asleep to their friends and family, and are completely unaware they are doing it.
There are no studies into sleep texting, but a similar phenomenon, sleep emailing, was studied in 2008.
Researchers at the University of Toledo in Ohio reported the case of a woman, 44, who would compose emails while sound asleep. She had no recollection of sending the emails when awake.
"Emails can be sent to work colleagues and have much more serious consequences, whereas text messages are more likely to be accidentally sent to a friend or family member, so people aren't as likely to complain of a problem," said sleep specialist Dr. David Cunnington, of the Melbourne Sleep Disorder Centre.
Cunnington described sleep texting as the result of people having too much to do during waking life.
"People are doing so much during a normal day that it can mean that they feel like they're 'on call' even at night," he said. "Because it's so easy to receive emails constantly, and get notifications from smartphones, it becomes more difficult for us to separate our waking and sleeping lives."
Readers, do you think you are capable of sleep texting? Do you sleep with your smartphone nearby?