Health | Did You Know

You Have Orthosomnia, And You Didn't Even Know It - Here's What Causes It


I know what you're thinking, what the heck is orthosomnia, and why is my sleep tracker causing it?

Well, orthosomnia is a new term for a condition researchers have been doing more research into.

Kelly G. Baron, PhD, a researcher in the sleep disorders program in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Rush University Medical Center, and her fellow researchers coined this new term, and told Refinery29 a little about it.

You know when you have to be up early for a super important day the next morning? You usually are so stressed about sleeping, that you never actually get any sleep. This happens to me literally anytime I have something important the next day, and it sucks.

Well, orthosomnia is kind of the same idea as that scenario except for with sleeping apps.

If you aren't on the sleep tracking band wagon, this is a little about how they work. The most popular app, called Sleep Cycle, works by tracking your movements, or noise of movements throughout the night.

The next morning, it provides you with a nightly report of how well you slept. It can even show you how many times you woke up, and how deep of a sleep you were in. Sounds pretty amazing, right? Apparently not.

With these apps becoming increasingly popular, researchers are starting to find that they may be doing more bad for your sleep than good.

This is what researchers said about it...

"As sleep trackers are getting more and more popular, we were finding that there's a selection of people who were taking the data way too seriously, and in a lot of ways it was actually undermining what they needed to be doing to improve their sleep," Dr. Baron says.

"They were so worried about getting an exact number of hours of sleep that it was creating bad habits, like trying to lay in bed longer when they weren't sleeping, or even just thinking, If I don't have this particular number of hours of sleep, then I can't feel good."

The term orthosomnia, is sort of like a version of insomnia, except it is caused by over-stressing about how much sleep you should be getting, often due to sleep tracking apps.

It seems crazy that you can actually lose sleep, from stressing over getting sleep, but it is very real.

If you use a sleep tracker, you need to remember that it is not completely accurate, and works as an estimation. If you find yourself stressing too much about the results, it might be time to delete it before you lose sleep over it.