26% of Executives Are Sleeping with Their Phones

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If we've learned one thing from our Media Diets, it's that the first thing many people reach for in the morning is their smartphone. In fact, many of them sleep with them in their beds at night. We're inclined to write this off as another of the many examples of smartphone obsession, but there's a certain creep factor to folks sleeping with their phones as if the devices were a spouse, isn't there?

Not for nearly a quarter of 1,600 business managers and professionals, surveyed from a list of business people who've taken executive education courses at Harvard. According to Harvard Business School professor Leslie Perlow, 26% of these go-getters answered yes when asked, "during the week do you sleep with your handheld device?" That finding anchors her aptly titled new book, Sleeping With Your Smartphone, all about businesspeople's crazy marriage to their work (often through their smartphones). The key passage:

Now some of those who can never part with the glowing warmth of their phones for more than a night actually have good reason. 44 percent of that quarter claim to use them as an alarms. (That's this blogger's excuse, too.) But the rest admit to having it on them for work reason -- to access email, potentially make phone calls, or simply by force of habit. 

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Never ever getting away from their work is, to say the least, stressful, which has Perlow calling for businesspeople to schedule downtime. By committee, that is. "Agree [with your colleagues] on a shared unit of predictable time off that you will each strive to achieve — each week (e.g., an afternoon or evening off, email blackouts, uninterrupted periods of work time)," she writes in  piece for The Harvard Business Review. Or, you know, just turn your phone off and see what happens.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.