Oura analyzes your sleep quality and quantity by tracking your resting heart rate, body temperature and movement. To understand how restfully you sleep, start keeping an eye to the following metrics:
Awake time. Awake time is the time you spend awake in bed. A high amount of awake time usually indicates trouble falling or staying asleep. In addition to wake-ups, awake time includes the time it takes for you to fall asleep (sleep latency). If your ring detects a significant amount of movement, restless sleep can sometimes be shown as awake time.
Restfulness. The Restfulness sleep contributor looks at the overall restfulness of your sleep by measuring wake-ups and restless time.
Efficiency. Sleep efficiency is the percentage of time you spend asleep after going to bed. For healthy adults, a generally accepted cut-off score for good sleep efficiency is 85%.
In this article, you'll learn:
- How much awake time is normal
- Why the app can show you awake time even though you were asleep
- What to do if you sleep restlessly
How much awake time is normal?
People usually spend about 5% of their total sleep time awake, and being awake for up to 15% of your time in bed is still considered normal. Some of us toss and turn more than others. If you wake up energetic and don’t feel drowsy during the day, your sleep is most likely restful enough, and you get enough of it for your needs.
Why am I seeing awake time in the app even though I know I was asleep?
If you sleep very restlessly, and your ring detects a lot of movement or spikes in your resting heart rate, some of your sleep time can be shown as awake time.
Excessive tossing and turning can be visible in your daily movement or your resting heart rate graphs, as seen in the following examples of one specific night:
Example 1: Excessive movement caused by restless sleep starting at about 11.30 PM
Example 2: Spikes in resting heart rate caused by restless sleep
Example 3: Excessive movement shown as awake time
Example 4: Nighttime movement in raw 1-minute accelerometer data
Note: to make sure that you get the most accurate data on your movement and heart rate, check that the sensor bumps of your ring are always on the palm side of your finger, and that the ring sits on your finger snugly yet comfortably enough. If your ring feels too loose, try wearing it on a different finger.
What can I do if my sleep is restless?
Restless sleep has many possible causes, many of which are tied to our daily routines and habits. If you have trouble falling asleep or suffer from constant wake-ups or nighttime insomnia, here are some things you can try.
Make time for rest
The first thing to do is to check your sleep routine. Do you feel like you get enough sleep for your needs? Do you feel refreshed when you wake up, or tired throughout the day? If you constantly feel tired, is it possible to adjust your schedule to make more time for sleep?
Keep your sleep schedule consistent
Human bodies love routines. Going to bed and waking up at around the same time daily – even on weekends and on your days off – helps your body know when it’s time to be awake, and when it’s time to feel sleepy.
Take time to unwind
If your days are packed due to a busy schedule, it can be difficult for your brain to shut off when it’s time to go to bed. To help prevent this, try to take small breaks during the day, and unplug at least an hour before bed to signal your body and mind that it’s time to calm down.
Make sure your bedroom is dark
Exposure to light and darkness is one of the main regulators of sleep. To keep your inner clock in sync, try to get sunlight in the morning, and keep your sleep environment as dark as possible. Avoid blue and bright light at least a couple of hours before bed.
Keep a journal
Strong emotions, both positive and negative, can cause us to sleep restlessly. It can be hard to shut them off, but there are methods that can help. Writing your thoughts or to-do lists down in a journal well before bedtime, and different types of gratitude and mindfulness exercises are worth testing.
Find the right evening snack
Eating heavy or spicy meals before bed often results in restless sleep, but going to sleep with an empty stomach can disturb your zzzs too. Pick a light snack in the evening to fight hunger, and to help keep your blood sugar at a good level throughout the night. Also, while it’s important to take care of hydration, try not to drink too much water to avoid having to get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Caffeine, tobacco and alcohol are common causes for sleep disturbances. Try to avoid caffeine after 2pm, and skip the nightcap to help you sleep more soundly.
Check your workout schedule
Getting regular doses of moderate exercise is good for your sleep quality, but training hard too close to bedtime can keep your body awake and metabolism running overtime. To help your body get the rest it needs, try to schedule intense workout sessions at least 2-3 hours before bed.
Napping during the day can make it difficult to fall asleep in the evening. If you can’t resist a nap, try to take it as early in the afternoon as possible, and don’t sleep for more than 20 minutes.
Do a relaxing exercise
Doing something relaxing in the evening can help your body and mind unwind before bed. Meditation, light yoga or breathing exercises can help you destress, and quiet down any racing thoughts.
If you need to toss and turn during the night, is it possible that you’re sleeping on a mattress that doesn’t adequately support your body? A comfortable bed and pillow that support your head and back are the cornerstones of restful sleep.
If possible, keep your bedroom cool and choose bedding that doesn’t make you feel too cold or hot. Many of us fall asleep better if our hands and feet are warm, so give wool socks a try if you like. Fresh, oxygen-rich and dust-free air can also help you sleep more soundly.
Needless to say, most of us sleep better in a silent environment. If you can’t control the noise levels of your surroundings, learning to sleep with earplugs, or noise cancelling headphones or earbuds can help.
Having said that, listening to calming sounds has proven to be a great method for falling asleep for some of us. There are many types of sleep playlists available online, and also in Moment in the Oura app (for iOS).
Sometimes it’s not you per se who sleeps restlessly, but someone else causes you to wake up or move around. Be it your partner, child or pet (or a combination of them), you all would deserve peaceful nights.
At times it may be hard to find an optimal solution for everyone in the family, but since we should spend around one-third of our lives asleep, this is the topic we recommend for a family discussion. Try to find a way to support everyone’s optimal sleep schedule, and figure out compromises that allow every family member to have a good night of sleep often enough.
Should I be worried about restless sleep?
If you feel refreshed in the morning and energetic during the day, there’s most likely nothing to worry about even if you sleep restlessly.
If you’re often or continuously tired, or think that there’s something unusual in your restless sleep (breathing, heart rate, movement, or your thoughts and dreams), it’s recommended to consult your physician. The same applies if you suspect that you could suffer from sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome (RLS), REM sleep behavior disorder or some other sleep disorder.
Restless sleep can also be caused by medication, a medical condition or for example pregnancy. It’s very important that you follow all instructions and guidance given by your healthcare personnel, and report all changes in your sleep quality to them immediately.
Remember that the Oura ring is not a medical device, and cannot therefore be used to diagnose or monitor diseases or other health conditions. Always consult your physician before increasing your training load or making major changes to your nutrition, especially if you don’t feel well or if you suffer from long-term illnesses.