Texting linked to sleep problems
The amount of time spent sending text messages could have an effect on sleep quality, according to a new study.
Research was conducted by Karla Murdock, a Washington and Lee University psychology professor and was published in Psychology of Popular Media Culture.
In her study, Murdock had first-year college students answer questions that measured academic and social burnout, emotional well-being and sleep problems. She also asked the participants to reveal how many text messages they send and receive on an average day. The self-reported data were estimations, and the study did not include a margin of error.
Murdock assessed the students’ sleep quality using a widely-used instrument called the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, with some modifications to fit the study sample. The method measured sleep duration, amount of time it takes to fall asleep, amount of time spent sleeping, sleep disturbances and daytime sleepiness.
Results showed that a higher number of daily texts corresponded with more sleep problems, which adds to a body of research that has shown cell-phone use to be correlated with poor sleep, especially in adolescents, young adults and first-year college students.
The exact reason why a correlation exists between texting and sleep quality is uncertain, but Murdock suggested that students might feel pressured to respond to texts regardless of time of day or night, or students might be awakened by texts if they sleep near their phones.
Findings also showed that texting was not only associated with poorer sleep, but that frequent text messaging was also associated with greater vulnerability to interpersonal stress. The implication is that text messaging is a poor method of communication when it comes to coping with stress in relationships, Murdock said.