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“That phone is in bed with them or sometimes on top of their chest when they’re sleeping or even in their hand. So the response is kind of automatic,” she said.
Fighting the unconscious
Some of Dowdell’s students have admitted that they’re disturbed by their nighttime texting behavior. But because sleep texting is unconscious, it’s a difficult habit to break.
Dowdell said she knows of one student who wore mittens at night — and others who wore socks on their hands — to keep themselves from texting.
For families with tweens and teens, texting in bed after “lights out” has become common, said Dr. Marjorie Hogan, a pediatrician at Hennepin County Medical Center. That’s why she suggests establishing a “media curfew,” docking all electronic devices outside the bedroom at a fixed time.
Shay Radhakrishnan, 16, admits that she sleeps with her phone. But now the practice is giving her some pause.
“A lot of people leave their phone on their side table, but for some reason I leave mine on my bed,” she said, “which is probably dangerous because it will probably wake me up a lot more — and [will] probably cause me to start sleep texting.”
Allie Shah • 612-673-4488
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