Orthosomnia is the newest sleeping disorder. It is caused by the fancy little gadgets and technology we use. It isn’t new to know that smartphones are, yet, getting another blame, but it might be new to know how trying too hard to get that ‘perfect’ sleep is going to cost you… sleepless nights.
It sounds counterproductive and yes, it is. Tracking sleep with apps that tell you how long you should sleep might just be another new way to torture yourself!
More people are beginning to notice the significance of having enough sleep and that is a good thing! However, as any consultants and psychiatrist would tell you, worrying too much isn’t going to get you anywhere. Sleep is supposed to be a relaxing activity for us. It is the time to just lay down, forget things and allow our body to rest, getting ready to work another day.
Those sleeping apps started with good intentions; to help those who are simply losing their touch on how long they should rest at night. Yet, there are people who become obsessed with the numbers on the screen and pressure themselves that they should fulfill the quota of that app. 8 hours, no less, no more.
Strictly 8 hours?
The golden rule of thumb is 8 hours, but with everyone, it could be different. From babies to teenagers, the amount of sleep they need is generally longer than the usual. Adults will do as little as 7 hours sleep a day that can be stretched to 9 hours.
Yet, many that make this app do not exactly know about this fact and went along with 8 hours every night. It is disregarding the fact that people differ from each other in terms of how long we need to sleep, our habits, nap time, and other factors.
The feeling of being unable to fulfill the expectation that you set for yourself can stress you out. You thought you could score at least a B+, but you couldn’t. You thought you could sleep for 8 hours, but you woke up at 7 hours 43 minutes.
Well, it is a great idea to keep track of your sleep, but it is not a good idea to stress about it. Sleeping is a relaxing activity, the only time your body can recuperate, prepare itself for another crazy day and stressing about how long you have slept is a bad idea.
Having those sleep tracks as a monitor before you sleep will just do the opposite of what you want. If your brain is active, there is no way you can sleep. In the end, you are just torturing yourself.
If you notice, some people who you know to really sleep well are unable to tell you exactly why they could. They also don’t really stress it and when they crash, they are unmovable. The best you can do is compare and try to improve other aspects of your lifestyle, not stressing about the numbers and race against your own sleeping hours.
Light keeps you awake
To track your sleep, you will be having gadgets with you in your bedroom generally every night. If you haven’t done your research, according to an article in Business Insider, blue light from phones and tablets are capable of keeping you awake. And that is why you are able to game, read and chat throughout the night. Light, in general, will also distract you when you sleep.
Generally, taking even a brief look at your smartphone or smartwatch before you sleep is the last advice you’ll be seeing around here.
They are not doctors
Those are simply apps that help you track your sleep, not doctors that tell you whether you’re leading a bad lifestyle for sleeping 15 minutes shorter than 8 hours. Putting your trust in these apps isn’t the right thing to do. The person that can decide whether your sleep was awesome or not is yourself.
Realize the real purpose of these trackers. If you find yourself unable to stop getting obsessed over the numbers, delete it. Tracking time can be as easy as getting a brief look at the clock before you sleep and after you wake up.
So, sleep trackers are evil?
No, actually, they are not evil. Sleep trackers were never made with the purpose of getting the users so on edge over how long they slept. They were meant to keep track of your sleep journey and analyze if there is something wrong with your sleep or if you had a bad sleeping habit in general. You should not be micromanaging your sleep down to the hours you slept.
As long as you are not overly concerned about the fact that you slept for 7 hours 43 minutes (which is still, by the way, normal and encouraged), you can keep the app. Yet, instead of relying on it, you will definitely sleep better if you refer to changing other aspects of it.
Just like how placebo pills can make you think you are eating a healthy supplement, adverse effect can also be shown if you are convincing yourself that you are not sleeping ‘efficiently’. That is not your watch or phone to decide.
Better ways to do it
There are other ways to help you sleep better. A good night’s rest can depend on how you lived the day to how you’ve been living your life this whole time. Start by assessing your usual sleeping time. Keeping a consistent sleeping time will help your body to ‘memorize’ it and get you ready to sleep when it’s time.
Refraining from having heavy meals, as well as caffeinated beverages before you sleep, wearing socks and changing a new pillow, are also ways you can try. No TV or video games at least an hour before sleep and try to engage in calm, tranquil activities that will help tone down your adrenaline.
Good or bad: You choose
Whether a sleep tracker is good or bad depends on how you use it. A knife can save people in hospital but kill on the battlefield. Use the tracker to simply track, but not trusting or making it as your benchmark of whether you’re getting good enough sleep.
If you are not stressed out by the fact that you are 15 minutes away from having 8 hours sleep, you are good and you can keep that tracker.