Orthosomnia: the obsession to sleep well

The disorder known as orthosomnia It has become one of the many generators of stress that ails us a lot in our daily life. The interest in sleep and good sleep associated with health is nothing new. But now, thinking about how many hours we sleep has become, for some people, an obsession.

In this article we will learn what orthosomnia is, why and how it occurs, what its symptoms are and how it can be overcome. All this in order to regain peace of mind when going to bed, without worrying about how many hours we should sleep. Keep reading to know more.

What is orthosomnia?

We have always been obsessed with statistics and numbers related to the body. First we start with bust-waist-hip, with respect to which 90-60-90 was fashion. Then, from the ideal body weight, we move on to thinking about the balanced body mass index (BMI).

Nowadays, a new trend has emerged, related to the use of sleep monitors to measure the hours we sleep and evaluate the quantity and quality of rest. These devices, far from helping to regulate or improve, can trigger anxiety.

And it is that sleep monitors generate dissatisfaction in some people with respect to their rest. Consequently, the need to optimize their statistics can be enhanced in them as if it were a race.

In short, to say what is orthosomnia, we can define it as the obsessive desire to achieve the perfect dream. The term does not appear yet in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), but it is a reality that afflicts many people every day.

Statistical sleep monitoring can arouse an obsession with sleep-related figures.

You may also be interested in: Tips for a good sleep: 10 fundamental guidelines

Why is it produced?

One might think, right off the bat, that the cause of orthosomnia is the use of sleep hours measurement. It is true that this practice can reinforce anxiety or perfectionism in some. But not all sleep monitor users develop this compulsive need to monitor hours.

However, it is not always known what the rest periods were like in patients before starting to use the monitor in question. So it is possible that there were already sleep disorders and that the device has accentuated the tendency to poor sleep, for example.

On the other hand, patients who develop this obsession They may also have other troublesome patterns in the use of excessive measurements and statistics.. In other words, the main cause for this behavior is associated with the same obsessive-compulsive nature.

Keep reading: Discover the most common sleep disorders

Symptoms associated with orthosomnia

Perfectionism in relation to sleep can mean changes in sleeping habits that do not bring positive consequences, but rather the opposite. If you are a person who suffers from orthosomnia, you may have some of these symptoms before and during sleep:

  • At bedtime you may be anxious and worried, thinking about whether you will achieve the standards you have set for yourself. This can lead to difficulty falling asleep (so-called conciliation insomnia).
  • It is possible that you check several times, throughout the night and if you have it, the sleep monitor, affecting the continuity of rest. And if you wake up in the early morning, you may also have trouble getting back to sleep (it's maintenance insomnia).
  • Having spent such a night, in the morning you will wake up with the feeling of not having had a good night's sleep. And if you have a monitor that reveals not good stats, you can feel irritable, listless or moody.
  • There are those who seek treatment for sleep disorders with self-diagnosis and self-medication. This leads them to take drugs, which together with poor sleep can cause drowsiness during the day, disorientation and deconcentration in tasks.

How can orthosomnia be treated?

The first thing to be clear about is whether we are facing a real situation of orthosomnia. How to know? The answer is positive yes Fixation regarding the amount of time you sleep affects not only sleep, but other areas of life: health, work, family or couple relationships.

Another way to check is to stop wearing a sleep monitor for a day and see the reaction, especially at night. If problems persist, it is best to seek help to identify and overcome sleep disorders. In this regard, cognitive-behavioral therapy is recommended.

But if you don't test positive for sleep apnea or other disorders, you can start making some small habit adjustments yourself, such as the following:

  • Set a bedtime and wake-up time, make it the same time every day.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants, especially around bedtime.
  • Don't do intense exercise no heavy meals at night.
  • A nap is a good thing, but not if it's too long or too late.
  • Do whatever you think is necessary to relax: meditation, soft music, self-help videos, reading.
  • Don't spend a lot of time lying down before going to sleep.

Maintenance insomnia appears when we wake up and cannot go back to sleep, despite being tired.

Sleep is an important part of life

According to the official guides lack of quality and restorative sleep is a public health problem on a global scale that has consequences for the person as well as for the economy and society in general. And while it worries many, not all seek professional help.

On the other hand, sleep monitors help raise awareness about the importance of rest, involving patients with their health. But they can reinforce anxiety and perfectionism related to sleeping hours.

It is worth noting that these devices are not entirely accurate in terms of discriminating the stages of sleep and detecting waking patterns. Although they have their utility, they cannot be considered medical treatment.

Trying to achieve a perfect idealized dream can be a fruitless pursuit. Rest is affected when too much attention is paid to it. Healthy sleep does not always mean an exact amount of time.