Sleep Eating, Sleepwalking, Night Terrors

November 17, 2011 by staff 

Sleep Eating, Sleepwalking, Night Terrors, Doctors say more people are paying the price for easy communications access with a disorder they call “sleep texting.”

“I twist and turn for at least two or three hours before I actually fall asleep,” said 16-year-old Elizabeth Hammonds.

When Hammonds finally falls asleep, the unexpected happens. Some people may experience night terrors, sleepwalking and even sleep eating, but for Hammonds, who carries her cell phone everywhere, it’s sleep texting.

She doesn’t realize she’s sending text messages while she’s sleeping until the next morning, thanks to her friends.

“You sent me a text message at three in the morning and I didn’t know what you meant by it,” she said.

Her mother, Betty, is equally stunned.

“She was telling me how she had texted somebody that said ‘Close her door’,” Betty Hammonds said.

It seems unbelievable, but the proof is captured on the phone.

“Then he showed me on his phone, I’m like, ‘Are you really joking? I sent that to you, like at three in the morning?’,” Hammonds said. “He’s like, ‘Yeah, you did’.”

She’s sleep texted words and sometimes random letters to friends. Sleep expert Dr. Marcus Schmidt says he’s starting to see more cases of sleep texting.

“Four out of five kids that have cell phones sleep with the cell phone in the bedroom, next to their bed and only one in ten actually turn it off,” Dr. Schmidt said.

He says sleep deprivation can trigger common motor behaviors during sleep, including reaching for the phone when it goes off.

To get a good night’s sleep, doctors recommend leaving your cell phone somewhere else, so your fingers don’t do the walking.

“As far away as possible and even out of the bedroom,” Dr. Schmidt said.

He also suggests making your children go to bed a little earlier to decrease the desire to use the phone.

“They kind of get stuck in a no man’s land, where they’re not really fully awake, but yet feel the need or urge to be able to respond to that text message,” Dr. Schmidt said.

But for a generation that’s grown up with cell phones, is it likely children will keep them out of reach?

“Probably not,” Elizabeth Hammonds said.

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One Response to “Sleep Eating, Sleepwalking, Night Terrors”

  1. anastasia on November 17th, 2011 10:10 pm

    I have mixed emotions about this article. I feel good reading it knowing that I’m not alone, but it scares me because it confirms that it WAS me that sent those messages that seemed so unlike things I would say or even feel. But overall, this makes it clear for me that I need to seek help for this because it’s due to many silent killers: stress, sleep & food deprivation, depression, prescription meds & sometimes alcohol.

    Anyone reading this, let’s get some help, ok?