How's this for a nightmare? The ubiquity of smart phones is leading to one disturbing trend--sleep texting.
1200 WOAI's Stephanie Narvaez says people are noticing an increase in uninhibited text messages which are caused by people who are texting when they are asleep. One case that doctors point to is a man who sent flirty text messages to a former girlfriend...while his wife was lying in bed next to him.
Dr. Paul Ingmundson with the Alamo Sleep Disorder Center in San Antonio, says not only is it not funny, it is becoming more and more common.
"First of all, everybody goes to bed with their phones now," he said. "Number two, a lot of people are sleep deprived. Its a bad combination--people who are sleeping too little, and have the equipment right there with them in bed."
Sleep texting is no different than sleep walking, experts say. It is something people do when they are unconscious, but their minds and their bodies are still active.
"More often it is somebody on their speed dial," he said. "Generally it starts with a coherent message, and then descends into gibberish as they may be communicating something they don't intend to communicate as they are drifting off to sleep."
Doctors say texts and e-mails sent by sleeping people can either be unintelligible or completely understandable...but frequently they are embarrassing as people do things when they are unconscious that they would never do when they are wide awake.
"Sleep deprivation itself is dis-inhibiting," he said. "t makes people less inhibited, just like alcohol and drugs. It can make people do things they would not due of they were fully awake."
The difference between today and thirty years ago, of course, is the easy available of smart phones. It is unlikely, although not unheard of, for people to sleepwalk to a land line telephone, dial a number, and begin talking while asleep. But it is far easier for a person to grad their phone, which is probably lying next to them in bed, hit a 'contact' number, and start texting.
It is also possible to send several messages in the brief period that a person is 'drifting' in the place where they are physically awake but mentally asleep.
The next morning, sleep texters frequently have absolutely no memory of the embarrassing text they have sent to their friend, significant other, or boss.