A study published earlier this fall in Psychology of Popular Media Culture found a link between text messaging and quality of sleep: the more texts sent throughout the day, the worse the sleep quality.
Karla Murdock, a psychology professor at Washington and Lee University surveyed the texting and sleep habits of 83 college freshmen. The students answered an online questionnaire regarding sleep issues, emotional well-being and academic and social burnout. They were also asked to determine the approximate number of texts they sent in an average day.
Upon analysis of the questionnaire results, Professor Murdock found a correlation between a heavy amount of texting and problems with sleep. One proposed reason for the correlation was students not silencing their phones at night, therefore being jolted out of sleep by late-night buzzing, ringing or even the phone’s backlight. Another reason might be the tendency to respond to messages right away, no matter how late they are received.
The study also found that if students reported experiencing stress, texting seemed to negatively impact their emotional states. Along with poor sleep, heavy amounts of text messages were associated with “greater psychological vulnerability to interpersonal stress.”
Professor Murdock wrote, “Text messaging may carry a high risk of producing or maintaining misunderstandings and/or unproductive interactions during periods of stress. When interpersonal stress involves conflict, the conditions required for productive communication may be particularly difficult to achieve through texting.”
Previous research has found that college students are particularly prone to poor sleep habits; 70 percent are estimated to get less than eight hours of sleep per night. In 2007, the American College Health Association found that 40 percent of students report feeling rested a mere two days per week.
While texting provides a convenient way to send quick communications, this study shows that doing it in excess may compromise your health, as sleep is essential to overall well-being. It may be worth it to silence or turn off your phone at night, and to position your screen so the light cannot wake you, so you can enjoy an uninterrupted night of rest.
-The Alternative Daily