Orthosomnia : A New Sleep Disorder You Haven’t Heard Of

Fitness trackers which helps in monitoring your activity and habits uses sleep as one of the most significant parameters to determine fitness level. According to the National Institutes of Health , high-quality sleep has been linked to healthy brain function, emotional well-being, and a stronger immune system. But like all good things like exercise, healthy diet etc. , it’s possible to take sleep tracking too far.

The use of sleep tracking device is on a hike. It provides individuals to have a track on their sleep. However, there are a growing number of patients who are seeking treatment for self-diagnosed sleep disturbances such as insufficient sleep duration, insomnia, restless sleep observed on their sleep tracker data.

According to a case study published in the  Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine that studied several patients who had several sleep troubles. By sleep tracking , reaserchers collected various information about the patients and causes behind such trouble. The researchers involved in the study came up with a name for the phenomenon: orthosomnia. which essentially means being overly concerned with getting “perfect” sleep. Why is that a problem? Interestingly enough, having too much stress and anxiety around sleep can actually make it harder to get the HQ shut-eye.

Part of the problem is that sleep trackers aren’t 100 percent reliable.  It means people sometimes get misguided and rise of emotional panic by incorrect information. “If you feel like you’ve had a bad night’s sleep, disruptions on the sleep tracker can confirm your opinion,” explains Mark J. Muehlbach, Ph.D., director of CSI Insomnia Center. On the flip side, he pointed out if you feel like you’ve had a great sleep in night, but your tracker shows disruptions, you may start to question how good your sleep actually was, rather than question if your tracker was accurate . Muehlbach says :  “Some people report that they didn’t know how poor of a sleeper they were until they got a sleep tracker,”.Sleep tracking data has become like a self fulfilling prophecy. Later he added,  “If you become too concerned about your sleep, this can lead to anxiety, which will certainly make you sleep worse,”.

Ending to the conclusion drawn by the case study, the authors mention that the reason they chose the term “orthosomnia” for the condition was partially due to the already existing condition called “orthorexia” which involves becoming extremely preoccupied with the quality and healthiness of food. And unfortunately, it’s on the rise.

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