Washington: Too much texting is associated with sleep problems in college students, a new US study has found. The study, by a Washington and Lee University psychology professor, identified texting as a culprit when it comes to college students and sleep problems.
Researcher Karla Murdock found that texting was a direct predictor of sleep problems among first-year students in a study that examined links among interpersonal stress, text-messaging behaviour, and three indicators of college students’ health: burnout, sleep problems and emotional well-being.
Although the results of the study showed that the impact of texting on students’ psychological well-being depended on the level of interpersonal stress they were already facing, more texting was associated with poorer sleep regardless of their previous level of stress.
The students in the study, all in their first year, answered questions that measured academic and social burnout, emotional well-being and sleep problems.
Murdock also asked them to estimate how many text messages they send and receive on an average day.
The study found that a higher number of daily texts was associated with more sleep problems. Murdock noted that this finding reinforces previous evidence pointing to a direct association between cell-phone use and poor sleep in adolescents and emerging adults.
Among the potential causes for this connection are two tendencies: students’ feeling pressured to respond immediately to texts, no matter what time of day or night, and students’ sleeping with the phone nearby, thus being awakened by the alerts from incoming texts.
The study found that frequent text messaging was also associated with greater psychological vulnerability to interpersonal stress.
“These co-relational findings provide an initial indication that heavy text messaging could be problematic during times of stress,” Murdock wrote in the Psychology of Popular Media Culture journal.
“Although speculative, it could be argued that text messaging is a uniquely unsuitable mode of communication for coping with interpersonal stress in close relationships,” she wrote.