Waking to use technology at night, and associations with driving and work outcomes: a screenshot of Australian adults

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18 Citations (Scopus)


The use of smartphones/electronic devices and their relationship with outcomes are understudied in adult populations. We determined daytime functional correlates of using technology during the night in a population sample of Australian adults. A cross-sectional, national online survey of sleep health was conducted in 2019 (n = 1984, 18-90 years). Nocturnal technology use was assessed with: "In the past seven days, how often did you wake or were woken to send or receive text messages, emails or other electronic communications?" Waking to use technology during all/most nights was reported by 4.9%, with 13.8% reporting two to three nights per week, and 12.7% reporting just one night per week. Technology users were more likely to be younger, employed, experience financial stress, and speak English as a second language. In adjusted analyses, compared to no use, technology use at least two to three nights per week was significantly associated with daytime problems (sleepiness, fatigue and impaired mood, motivation, and attention) and was more evident in participants not reporting/perceiving a sleep problem. Technology use was independently associated with at least one drowsy driving-related motor vehicle accidents/near miss per month (odds ratio [OR] = 6.4, 95% CI = 3.8 to 10.7) and with missing work (OR = 4.8, 95% CI: 3.2 to 7.2) and making errors at work (OR = 2.2, 95% CI = 1.5 to 3.3) at least 1 day in the past 3 months due to sleepiness/sleep problem. These associations were not significantly modified by age. Public health implications of waking to engage with electronic devices at night may be significant in terms of safety, productivity, and well-being. Limiting sleep-disrupting technology use will require innovative language-diverse strategies targeted broadly across age groups.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberzsaa015
Number of pages10
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • adults
  • cell phone
  • daytime dysfunction
  • epidemiological study
  • mobile phone
  • motor vehicle accidents
  • text messaging
  • work absenteeism


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