DARIEN, Ill. — A new phobia is sweeping college campuses across the nation, according to a new study just released by the American Academy of Medicine. Researchers conclude that “nomophobia,” or the fear of being out of smartphone contact, is “extremely common” among college students. Moreover, this modern-day fear is linked with poor sleep habits.
Almost unbelievably, preliminary findings indicate that 89% of college students experience moderate to severe nomophobia. Particularly bad nomophobia is significantly linked to sleepiness during the day and other indicators of unhealthy sleep habits.
“We found that college students who experience more ‘nomophobia’ were also more likely to experience sleepiness and poorer sleep hygiene such as long naps and inconsistent bed and wake times,” says lead author Jennifer Peszka, PhD, professor of psychology at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, in a release.
Preventing nomophobia begins at night?
It’s fairly predictable that a decent portion of college students would feel uncomfortable without their phone by their side. Even so, the study’s authors were surprised by the widespread extent of the phobia.
“Because our study suggests a connection between nomophobia and poorer sleep, it is interesting to consider what the implications will be if nomophobia severity continues to increase,” Peszka explains.
In all, 327 college students took part in this research. Each student filled out numerous surveys that measure nomophobia levels and sleep quality.
As far as ways to get better sleep, the study’s authors suggest that college students avoid using tech devices right before bedtime. However, for young adults with particularly strong nomophobia, this approach may exacerbate anxious feelings, ultimately making falling asleep more difficult.
“The recommendation to curtail bedtime phone use, which is meant to improve sleep and seems rather straightforward, might need adjustment or consideration for these individuals,” professor Peszka concludes.
The study is published in SLEEP.