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Why You're Unknowingly Texting in Your Sleep

Why You're Unknowingly Texting in Your Sleep

Sleepers have become hypervigilant to the sound of their smartphone, waking and instinctively reaching for it at the sound of a notification.

A recent study in the Journal of American College Health found that 25% of college students admitted to sleep-texting, or sending text messages while sleeping, and most having no memory of it until they checked their phone history in the morning.

They were also more likely to report lower sleep quality, which could ultimately lead to chronic sleep deprivation and negative health impacts, researchers said.

“If every time we hear [our phones] that we respond, it makes sense we would do it when we sleep, too,” author Elizabeth Dowdell said.

The average American checks his or her phone about 80 times a day. Some people have become hypervigilant to its sounds, waking when they hear a notification and instinctively reaching for the device while sleeping through other noise.

The phenomenon is so pervasive there’s even a #sleeptexting hashtag on social media devoted to showing off some of the gibberish people type while dozing off.


372 college students, 19 years old on average, filled out a questionnaire about their sleep habits and what they did with their phones at night.

93 percent said they kept their device nearby — most next to the bed, though almost a third reported they had it in the bed with them. Women in the study were more likely to place the phone on their chest, on the pillow or under the pillow while sleeping. 

More than half of the respondents did not mute or set the phone to vibrate or airplane mode at night.

Some 25 percent of the students said they had texted in their sleep, with 72 percent not remembering it until they checked their phone once awake or were told about it by the message recipient.  

It’s always a little concerning when we hear about young adults who don’t remember doing things. Can you imagine us older adults?

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