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Do You Leave Your Cell Phone on at Night?

There is actually a reason why I asked you yesterday about how late you’d call someone.  A week or so ago, I texted a friend at midnight.  I didn’t expect her to be awake; I just wanted the question to be waiting there on her phone first thing in the morning.  And then, after I hit send, I realized that — and I should preface this with the fact that I am a neophyte with texting.  I didn’t send my first text until this year — I may have just woken her up with a random pinging of her phone at 12 am.

We have a land line, therefore, we turn off our phones before we go to bed.  You can send me emails or text messages all night — I won’t know until I take my phone off airplane mode in the morning.  So I should actually correct that: I put my phone on airplane mode; I don’t actually turn it off.  But it’s off for all intents and purposes.

If it’s an emergency, people can still get a hold of me via my land line.

But I know a lot of people who have cancelled their land line and only use their cell phone.  And in that case, I don’t know if they turn their phone off at night.  If they do, how does someone get through to them in an emergency?  But if they leave their phone on, and I’m sending text messages at midnight, isn’t their phone pinging while they’re trying to sleep?  And in that case, is it rude to send text messages at night?  All this time, I’ve been treating texts like email, but they’re really not like email.  They’re sort of like dialing someone’s phone.


So… do you have a time you stop texting someone?  And do you turn your cell phone (or put it on airplane mode) at night, or if someone texts you at 2 am, would you hear your phone ding or buzz at 2 am?

And an open apology to anyone I inadvertently pissed off by texting while you were trying to sleep.


1 Kelly { 07.03.13 at 7:59 am }

I leave my phone and blackberry (one is personal and one if for work) downstairs charging all night. My husband brings his up and has a really obnoxious text notice and I am awoken occasionally when he gets texts at crazy hours (he sleeps through them). We also have a land line. If I am home alone (DH out of town), I do bring it upstairs with me.

2 Ellen K. { 07.03.13 at 8:16 am }

I leave my phone on all night and bring it upstairs with me because I use it for my morning alarm (I sleep through the clock radio, and my day as a SAHM is infinitely better if I am awake at least an hour before the girls get up). I don’t have a smart phone, so I don’t get many random pinging messages. DH leaves his iPhone downstairs all night because of the FB update notices that for some reason he cannot silence (I am sure Wolvog could fix this in about 5 seconds). We still have a landline.

3 Catwoman73 { 07.03.13 at 8:23 am }

My phone is on at night (as it is also my alarm clock!), but I shut off the alerts for texts and e-mails. I certainly don’t want to be awakened by that kind of thing.

4 a { 07.03.13 at 8:31 am }

We do not have a land line. And I shut my phone off at night (because otherwise, we’d be listening to annoying Facebook alerts all night long since some people never sleep). If there’s an emergency…well, I guess we won’t know about it until morning. On weekends, it could be 10:00 before I think to turn my phone on. I am terrible about the phone. I think my MIL thinks I do it deliberately. I rarely answer the phone either.

I, too, have sent the text message at an obnoxious hour (usually 7 am, since I’m at work already). Immediately upon hitting send, I do the facepalm “it’s too early to be sending texts!” maneuver.

5 Egg Timer { 07.03.13 at 8:43 am }

We have a phone line, but we still leave our cell phones on all night (all three since I have two, one for work and one for fun). But, we are ridiculously heavy sleepers and i can quite happily sleep through all the pings and flashing lights that you care to throw at my phone. If those things woke me up then I would be turning the phone off for sure.

6 April { 07.03.13 at 8:45 am }

I leave my cell on at night, but I leave it downstairs charging at night. We have a landline so I don’t need it at night. My husband has to have his cell on for work so his phone goes off at odd times sometimes.

We don’t have a problem with the hours that people call, but it’s also known that we tend to be in bed by 10 so most people don’t call late.

7 Geochick { 07.03.13 at 8:47 am }

We cancelled our landline so I leave my phone on and charging all night. I’d be the person woken up at midnight by a pinging phone. ;p

8 Delenn { 07.03.13 at 9:09 am }

Interesting you brought this subject up. We took down our land line last year. I do turn my cell phone off at night…and just recently started wondering–should I keep it on in case of emergencies? Only recently, because my husband keeps weird hours so generally someone is up and having cell phone on most hours of the day and night…

I remember a call almost 20 years ago at 3 a.m. on a Thursday morning–my husband’s father died of a sudden heart attack…and it makes me understand–you need that open line…so, yes..I guess I will keep it on.

And for us–if you need to call, if you really need to talk–no time is a bad time (really).

9 N { 07.03.13 at 9:15 am }

No landline here. I don’t put my phone on airplane or turn it off, but it is on silent, and that won’t wake me up, so it’s essentially the same thing. But I’m okay with that.

After having actually been woken up in the middle of the night for an emergency, I don’t know that I’m keen on going through that again. Maybe that makes me an asshole, I don’t know. I’m sure it would be distressing to the person trying to get in touch with me. I’m not sure I can judge how I’d feel finding out the next day, and knowing that I could’ve known in the middle of the night. I think that’s the kind of thing you can only know after having had it happen.

(please note here that I am not anybody’s first contact in case of the kind of emergency where they’d need to get out of somewhere or get immediate help. so for myself, I’m talking about if something happens and somebody needs to get in touch with me so I can find out/start making plans ASAP.)

anyhoo. It is a conscious choice I make. (Sorry to anybody who might want to get in touch with me once I’m asleep. On the flip side, I’m usually awake until 1 or so…)

My boss leaves hers on all night, in case her kids need to get in touch with her. But I found this out when she complained that I texted her at night. So I’ll put what I told her in here – on iPhones, at least, you can program it so that you hear some rings but not others (i.e. phone call but not texts) and/or so that you only get calls/texts from certain people.

10 Gail { 07.03.13 at 9:22 am }

My cell phone stays on almost 24/7. We do not have a landline, so it is all that I have. But, since I have an iPhone, I have enabled the Do Not Disturb feature and have my phone set to that from 10 pm to 7 am every day (even weekends). At the appointed time, a little sliver of a moon appears in the top bar on the phone, but otherwise it works and acts the same. However, only those people who are starred as “Favorites” can call me or text me during that time. Anyone else that calls or texts me during that time will go straight to voicemail or be silent and waiting on my phone when I get up in the morning. My Favorites list includes family, close friends and our neighbors across the street.
As for when I stop texting people, I usually stop around 10 pm in case their phone isn’t as cool as mine! 🙂

11 Heather { 07.03.13 at 9:28 am }

My phone is on all night. However, my phone is hardly ever has the sound ‘on’. It is always in silent/vibrate mode at work so I don’t disturb anyone. It is always in silent/vibrate mode at home so I’m not bothered at home. Even though it’s sitting right near me on my headboard if someone texts, I never know until I get up.

12 Neeroc { 07.03.13 at 9:29 am }

I keep my phone on. The DnD setting as options to allow calls from favorites (or another group I pick) as well as an option to let a 2nd call within 3 min from the same number through.

13 Neeroc { 07.03.13 at 9:29 am }

I keep my phone on. The DnD setting as options to allow calls from favorites (or another group I pick) as well as an option to let a 2nd call within 3 min from the same number through.

14 Turia { 07.03.13 at 9:46 am }

I am a disaster with my mobile. It is usually not charged, out of credit or both. DH doesn’t have one, and will reluctantly buy one this fall when E. goes to nursery school as we agreed we both need to be able to be contacted.

I had never, ever thought of the emergency issue before you brought it up. As a teacher I have had numerous conversations with students in grades eight, nine, and ten, about the importance of turning off their phone at night so they actually get the sleep they need. They look at me like they have two heads.

The do-not-disturb function sounds amazing. I think if I didn’t have a landline, and I did have a smartphone (neither is currently true), I would need something like that. Some people you need to be able to hear from, no matter what the hour.

15 Lindz { 07.03.13 at 10:09 am }

My phone exists on silent unless I consciously choose to turn on the volume. It drives my husband nuts if he’s trying to contact me and I’m not looking at my phone. The only time I’ve chosen to leave the phone off silent at night was when my grandparents health was failing and I was expecting calls concerning them. But that was always limited to about a week and more because my parents get up earlier in the morning than I do.

16 loribeth { 07.03.13 at 10:18 am }

I am old school.

(a) I have a plain old cellphone, not a smartphone, about five years old.

(b) I do not text.

(c) I rarely have my cellphone on, period. I turn it on if I need to make a call (e.g., to tell dh my train is delayed), or have pre-arranged with dh (or someone else) that they can or will be calling me. I keep it in the outer pocket of my purse when it’s on. Once I’m back home or in the office, it gets turned off & returned to its usual storage place in an inner pocket of my purse.

The only time my cellphone has been on overnight is when I’ve forgotten to turn it off. And woken up wondering what that beeping is, as the battery runs out. 😉 So yeah, if I did exchange texts with someone & leave my phone on, I would probably hear it. Which is why I would probably turn it off at night even if I wasn’t already doing it. 😉

17 Aislinn { 07.03.13 at 10:39 am }

I use my cell phone as my alarm, so I never turn it off. My husband is on call 24/7 so he has to keep his phone on and he gets texts/emails throughout the night, so I’ve learned to ignore it. If I do happen to get a text/email on my phone, I don’t usually realize it until the morning.

18 Tigger { 07.03.13 at 10:49 am }

I leave my phone on precisely so people can reach me in an emergency. It sometimes backfires, like when MIL calls husband at 11pm or later on a work day. But not often. I don’t have a lot of people who call OR text me, and my phone doesn’t wake me up with a text. My sound is very short, whereas my ringer for a call is long and has more time to wake me.

19 Ana { 07.03.13 at 11:27 am }

Wow I feel like a dumbass. I did NOT know about the do-not-disturb feature. I’ve been getting needlessly awoken by texts at night for YEARS without ever looking for a solution.
We don’t have a landline so I do keep my phone on at night. Its also my alarm and clock (we don’t have any other clock in our bedroom).
Off to figure out the DnD thing asap.

20 Jennifer { 07.03.13 at 11:36 am }

I haven’t had a landline in over 10 years, but as others have mentioned, I keep my phone near me but from 10-7 it’s only do not disturb. I only text people late at night (for me that would be after 10) when I know that person is okay with getting late texts.

21 Battynurse { 07.03.13 at 12:01 pm }

Since my sleep is usually backwards from most of the world I silence my phone. I don’t turn it off but I turn off the ringer. Sometimes I still hear it vibrate but can usually roll over and ignore it. The only people I text late are the ones I know are up late like me.

22 k { 07.03.13 at 12:20 pm }

My cell is almost perpetually on silent. It’s plugged in by the side of my bed while I sleep, partly because I often wake in the night and need something to wile away an hour while I fall back asleep. I won’t text people late if I don’t know that they’re phones are either off or on silent, or that I know it’s ok for them to receive late texts.

23 Jo { 07.03.13 at 1:05 pm }

Prior to getting my iPhone 5, my phone stayed plugged in in the kitchen. We have no landline, so I would get texts and missed calls whenever I woke up. Now my iPhone only needs to charge a couple of hours, so I charge it when I get home and usually leave it by my bed when I sleep. Most people know I like to sleep when I’m not working, so texts/calls prior to ten a.m. Are rare.

24 Mo { 07.03.13 at 1:29 pm }

My and my husband’s phones are always on, as we have to be reachable by the hospitals where we work at all times in case of an emergency. we also have a landline. so i would be woken by a text or call in the middle of the night. i don’t usually text past 9pm or before 8am for that reason

25 Another Dreamer { 07.03.13 at 2:39 pm }

We’ve never had a land line, we got cells when we got married and never saw a need. I do leave my phone on, in case of emergency, and also because it serves as our alarm clock. I probably could turn it on airplane mode, but I’d be too worried of missing an important call. I do silence it during periods of the day, like when my son is napping or during dinner, because I figure they can leave a message and then I can get right back to them in case of emergency.

26 panamahat { 07.03.13 at 2:41 pm }

Mine is on do not disturb, but from 7pm to 10am as I have a small baby and my sleeping hours have changed somewhat! I do not text after about 9.30pm though because I know how annoying that PING is randomly when you are asleep. I would often get interstate or overseas folk sending messages without thinking about what time it might be for me- or I guess just assuming I had it on silent. Which I do now since it pissed me off so much!

27 Melanie { 07.03.13 at 4:10 pm }

We don’t have a landline anymore. I leave my phone on and charging downstairs during the night. I’m sure it makes lots of noises with FB alerts and game notifications, but I don’t hear them. I have the ringer set to the old time ring though, so if someone actually calls, I might hear that upstairs, or I might not. DH charges his in our bedroom and uses it as his alarm. He must silence it or have it in airplane mode or something though cause I don’t really hear it. If there was an emergency we might not know until we get up and check our phones. i would not mind at all if you texted me in the middle of the night and I have done the same to other people. Hope they weren’t annoyed!

28 Audrey { 07.03.13 at 4:14 pm }

I do not have a time I stop texting, but I definitely tend to not call anyone after 8pm unless it’s important, and even then I don’t call after 9. Ever. Unless someone is injured or I’m on the side of the road and need help. Which is why I have a cell phone. I don’t worry about people being harassed by txt sounds at night because I expect if they don’t want to hear them they’ll have their cell phones either in a purse or another room. Like me. And I absolutely HATES it when anyone calls me, either on cell or landline, after 8pm. I just despise it. But I’m really not a phone person. I use it for important coordinating hanging out together/emergency stuff or Instagram. Rarely it’s been brought out for “where’s the nearest tire store” and “number of a towing company” purposes. I have a friend who sleeps with her iPhone under her pillow. I don’t get it. But maybe if I had an iPhone I would.

29 Audrey { 07.03.13 at 4:16 pm }

I should note that my notification sound is a wookie call. Who doesn’t love that, no matter what time it happens? lol

30 Kimberly { 07.03.13 at 5:25 pm }

Hubby and I both have cells, but no land line. I always have my phone on and most people know I’m a night owl and work til midnight anyway so they know that its safe to call me until at least 1am. Most don’t, but if it’s important, they know the safe time to call until. Now calling me at 8am on the other hand, is like waking a bear from hibernation. But friends also know that if they are calling me that early for a reason, they have to talk to me until I answer back before I can really process why they are calling me.

With my grandfather in poor health and the doctors telling us that he will be fine until hes not, I won’t dare turn off my phone or let the battery get too low. But if I need a break, I put my phone on Do Not Disturb where it will stop incoming calls and message notifications. In the case of an emergency, if the same number calls multiple times over the course of a few minutes, it will eventually let the call through and that way when it rings, you know its persistence or an actual emergency.

As for outward calls and messages, I always prefer to text first (if its an option) and that way if they are free, I can get the all clear to call and if they are busy, they will see it when they check their phone. I hate to be the first one to call and if I do, my friends usually start the conversation with, “what’s wrong?”. I’m phone shy, but not text shy.

31 loribeth { 07.03.13 at 6:24 pm }

Interesting, so many here who don’t have landlines anymore (or ever). Not only do I still have mine, I still have a corded telephone in the kitchen. 10 years ago when we had the big blackout, cellphone lines were jammed, service was spotty, and when your battery died, that was it. Our CEO was at home & wondering why nobody was calling him to update him. Turns out every phone in the house was cordless. No electricity, no service. Corded landline phones were working just fine. One of the security people dug one up & drove it to his house. ; ) I always think of that whenever I hear about people giving up landlines.

32 vablondie { 07.03.13 at 6:57 pm }

I also find it interesting how many do not have land lines. We do not have a land line, and have not had one in years. Hubby and I both have cell phones. We both text a lot, as we both have jobs where we cannot always answer our phones. Texting is often easier for us.

I also leave my phone on all the time. When I am not on call, I leave it downstairs in the kitchen so I do not hear it. I have it next to my bed when I am on call. Those 3 AM calls are never fun, but I do need to respond to them.

33 Tracie { 07.03.13 at 7:12 pm }

I don’t text, so this is something I have not thought about. My husband just recently got a smartphone and started texting – but mostly he texts with customers during the day when he is cutting their trees while they are at work.

I think if I only used a cell phone I would want to keep the phone on, but silence the texting alert tone. Is that possible? It would be the best of both worlds maybe.

34 GeekChic { 07.03.13 at 7:50 pm }

I’m older school than loribeth – I don’t have a cell and never have. Every time I’ve looked at cell phones with the features I want it is much more expensive than my land line package.

I have a pager for work since I’m in IT. They have talked about getting me a cell phone since I’m one of the few left on the pager system. They keep hoping that I and my hold-out co-workers will just buy our own cell phones. 😉

35 Elana Kahn { 07.03.13 at 8:17 pm }

I keep my phone on, but hubby turns his off. Not like he’d ever get a call or text in the middle of the night, so it doesn’t really matter. But with doula clients I absolutely have to keep my phone on when I’m “on call” for them. But the rest of the time I keep it on anyway. Just don’t want to miss anything important! 😉

36 Alexicographer { 07.03.13 at 10:13 pm }

What is this texting you mention?

I have 4 phone numbers. One for work, which is a VOIP line in my employer-provided office that looks and acts like a land line. One is a google voice number that rings all my other numbers. One is a VOIP at home that we recently added when we noticed that our rising elementary schooler has no idea how to make or receive a phone call (getting the phone hasn’t really improved on this, but we’re working on it). It’s pretty lousy, but it does (sometimes) function. One is my cell phone, the ringer to which is virtually always off (but it does vibrate). Also, my DH has a cell (he has recently joined the world of smart phones, which I have not, though I could in theory actually use my flip phone to text and do use my google voice number to text, but only if someone actually asks me to (i.e. “text me if you want to get me.”).

I do keep my cell phone on (pretty much) all the time, and it will wake me. Also people clearly text/email my DH at night because I hear his phone. I’m not really amused, but unless we can teach others to use the home VOIP # or can become more tech-savvy, well, that’s the way things are. And with 2 adult out-on-their own stepkids and 2 older parents (mine), one living independently (and thriving, but you never know) and one in a nursing home with dementia, I absolutely cannot imagine intentionally and systematically not being reachable were I needed (even when asleep) (that said, I don’t freak if I am without service for a bit).

37 Brid { 07.03.13 at 10:31 pm }

I will text anyone, any hour. If you don’t want a text from someone at three a.m., then turn off the phone. I would never blame someone for texting / calling at an obscene hour if I was the one who forgot to silence my alerts.
We do have a land line, so any emergencies would probably come through there.
We’re here with phones and texting and all the other comm devices… it’s 100 percent our responsibility to turn it off when it’s not wanted. A land line is different… it comes from a different generation!

38 Lori Lavender Luz { 07.03.13 at 11:38 pm }

I silence the phone when I go to bed. So text away to me!

I may also be guilty about texting too late (which, I was taught is 10 pm). I didn’t give it much thought that others might not silence their phones.

39 St. Elsewhere { 07.04.13 at 1:36 am }

No one except Snowden and my phone company has our baseline number – which we took because we wanted an internet connection. Our previous baseline number leaked inside the family, and I have some people who will call me at 11 in the night because they were thinking of me. Our phone is in a different room, and there is no extension, so it was pretty inconvenient to us.

Our telephony is majorly through cell phones, and my phone has been silent for 85 percent of the time since 2011 (after my daughter died and I gave up talking to people altogether).

My cell phone is ALWAYS silent. If texts are received in the middle of the night, I will see them only in the morning, or if I am awake at 2 a.m. and check my phone. Otherwise, I will either pick up the call when I see the flashing light, or will call back/text back.

I have texted or replied on ungodly hours in the night when Figlia was way younger because I was awake and so was the baby.

DH is sigh, another story. He has the ‘what is called as a’ smart phone. His phone is silent in the night, but otherwise, it follows him to the toilet and back.

40 Aerotropolitan Comitissa { 07.04.13 at 11:42 am }

I leave it on, but a little pinging doesn’t tend to bother me. That said, I try to use a less noisy channel if it’s, say, after ten.

41 Jamie { 07.04.13 at 4:11 pm }

Wow, I just learned something new that cell phones have a do not disturb feature. I will have to look for it since I only have cell phone. But, it did take me a long time to let go of my landline. It came down to cost. The only big thing that I miss is having a phone when the power goes out.

As far as texting, I treat it the same as calling. Nine o.clock for most people, 10 o.clock for close family and friends. I did stop dating a guy when he sent me a text at three or four in the morning. He was thinking the same in that I would see it the next morning. But, it woke me up and I was ticked because I get up around five for work and could have slept another hour.

42 It Is What It Is { 07.06.13 at 11:47 am }

Wow, Mel, 41 comments. You sure do hit on the salient topics of our times.

Ever since son #1 arrived, I have been a light sleeper and now have all sorts of pre-bedtime rituals (another DYDT?) which includes muting my phone AND turning it over (as the screen will illuminate if a txt or FB msg comes in (need to figure out how to turn that off).

Since I am a light sleeper, I am prone to many wakings, during some of which I will check my phone (I try NOT to do this as I know the light from the screen makes going back to sleep harder and am getting better) and it is not unlike me to return a txt in the middle of the night.

As for texting others, I’ve decided that anyone with a cell phone (land line or no) has their own overnight rituals and if me texting them late or over night is a problem then it is on them to let me know. I generally won’t call anyone after 9PM unless we’ve texted and decide to have a later chat or before 9AM again unless texting gives permission.

43 It Is What It Is { 07.06.13 at 11:48 am }

I should also say that at 47, texting has LONG been my preferred mode of communication. I’ve been texting for years and, even at my ripe old age, send over 1,000 texts a month. Yay for unlimited texting!

44 StoneBunny { 09.15.13 at 2:53 am }

We just dumped our landline, and keep our cell phones on 24/7. Mine’s on vibrate, and I usually keep it in a pocket of my purse, downstairs in our livingroom. Ho w do you explain me being woken from a sound sleep the other morning, after my husband had left for work. I felt vibrations coming from the bed. I could feel it against my chest, and began reaching around the bed, thinking that my husband had left his phone on the bed, and gone to work. I couldn’t find it, and realised that my cell phone was all the way downstairs in my purse. By then I was wide awake, and ran to get it. Sure enough, it was still in my purse. I had received a text from Virgin Mobile telling me that my new call plan had just kicked in. I still don’t lmow how I could feel it vibrate at that distance, during a sound sleep.

45 StoneBunny { 09.15.13 at 2:53 am }

We just dumped our landline, and keep our cell phones on 24/7. Mine’s on vibrate, and I usually keep it in a pocket of my purse, downstairs in our livingroom. Ho w do you explain me being woken from a sound sleep the other morning, after my husband had left for work. I felt vibrations coming from the bed. I could feel it against my chest, and began reaching around the bed, thinking that my husband had left his phone on the bed, and gone to work. I couldn’t find it, and realised that my cell phone was all the way downstairs in my purse. By then I was wide awake, and ran to get it. Sure enough, it was still in my purse. I had received a text from Virgin Mobile telling me that my new call plan had just kicked in. I still don’t lmow how I could feel it vibrate at that distance, during a sound sleep.

46 Marie { 11.02.13 at 7:02 am }

I don’t think most subscribe to any type common sense/etiquette in regards to knowing a cut off of text. I’m finding that I’ve given into texting, I cut it off by a certain time, meaning I won’t send texts after midnight. It has to be someone I have that level of communication and rapport with.

I have a neighbor that does not use common sense, she is way older than me (she’s near 50) but all she does is text. I like her, but common sense is not her strong suit. I’ve had issues with her over texting me – her daughter was broke down on the side of the road, she texted me, that’s a phone call to me, but she lacks common sense. That’s just one of many instances. She texted me @ 2:30am, stupid ass photo of a Halloween costume. Why? I don’t know. I haven’t to her pea-brained ass, but she seriously lacks common sense. I have had to put her on block before, but this time I won’t ever take her off of block. I don’t have the patience or bail money for beating her ass. It has seriously gotten out of hand with the dummies that don’t use their head for more than a place to wear weave.

47 Marie { 11.02.13 at 7:43 am }

To add the dumb asses that don’t have a clue about what’s appropriate and what’s not and when to text, has society really become that dumb that no one knows what time is appropriate or not and what is and isn’t appropriate.

48 Glen { 06.02.15 at 2:21 pm }

If at church, meeting, any meal with anyone, nap or night-time sleep, turn your phone off. You have voice mail and or text that will inform you if the would came to a end. Yes I know if your kids are not home bla bla bla….

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