Cell phones are a bigger part of life than ever before, so much so that the need to stay connected is changing the way we act with our mobile device.

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

A nationwide survey from Pew Internet found that while 85% of American adults own a cell phone, staying constantly connected is playing a bigger part of life than every before.

Sixty seven percent of owners in the survey found themselves checking their phones for messages, alerts, or calls – even when they didn’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating. In fact, 18% of cell owners admitted to reacting to these “phantom calls” frequently.

The survey also found wireless technology is changing the way we sleep. Instead of teddy bears or warm milk, the technology that keeps us connected is finding a way to snuggle up with us in bed. Forty four percent of cell owners have admitted to sleeping with their phones next to their bed because they wanted to make sure they didn’t miss any calls, texts, or alerts during the night.

Shockingly, while it seems smart phones and the like have sunk their teeth into our daily life, only 29% of the survey respondents describe their cell phone as “something they can’t live without.”

It’s clear being tied to our phones is a way of life, only 11% of cell owners say they themselves sometime worry they are spending too much time on their phone. Twelve percent say they were told by people they knew that they are spending too much time using their phone.

These habits aren’t a shock to many residents who say it’s part of their every day life.

However many note in today’s business climate, you’re expected to be available 24/7.

“You’re expected to have your email, messages, calls available at all times,” says one young Garden State resident.

While many people willingly subject themselves to the round the clock availability, some say being forced to disconnect is a relief.

‘It’s sometimes nice when my phone actually dies, I get a moment of peace,” says one business owner. He notes for people in their mid to late thirties who didn’t grow up with cell phones, the phenomena of being constantly connected isn’t new.

“I remember what it was like before cell phones and every one had a roll of quarters and a pager. Even then, we were convinced our pagers were always going off so I guess we all think we’re important in some way, even if it’s in our own minds.”