Orthosomnia: The New Sleep Obsession That’s Going Too Far

The sleep market is a $432 billion industry, and yet we’re still not sleeping. Now, scientists believe it’s because of orthosomnia. We’ve all heard of insomnia — the inability to fall asleep and stay asleep — but few have heard of orthosomnia, which is an unhealthy obsession with getting perfect sleep. In other words, people have become so obsessed with getting just the right amount of sleep that they’ve enlisted the aid of numerous sleep devices designed to track and evaluate their sleeping habits. There’s just one problem: They’re actually destroying their sleep by becoming too dependent on these devices. It’s estimated that 10% of U.S. adults use a wearable fitness and/or sleep device on a regular basis. Unfortunately, most doctors agree that they’re not very accurate at distinguishing between time actually spent asleep and time spent in bed. Sometimes, a sleep tracker may bring to light an issue that its owner wasn't aware of, but for most people it just turns into an obsession and actually defeats any attempt to get a good night’s sleep. Doctors recommend listening to your body, not your tracker. The mistakes most people make are simple ones: watching TV before bed, eating or drinking too close to bedtime, having a bedroom that’s too warm, or having devices in the bedroom such as phones and clocks that emit blue light. All these things interfere with the body’s ability to regulate sleep, so start there if you want to track down the culprit.