How Oura Rings Optimize Sleep for Energy Boost

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In a dream world, we would actually listen to our phones and smartwatches when they tell us go to sleep. But since we live in real life, on a planet with endless to-do lists, demanding jobs, kids, and no Timer in sight, recommendations Digital sleep recommendations are often overlooked. This was my case, a woman who clearly needed at least seven hours of sleep for basic functionality but skipped REM in favor of late-night emails and TikTok scrolling.

That’s a problem. But that’s a problem I’ve been working to solve for the past six months using a wearable I’ve owned for about a year: The Oura Ring Gen 3 ($299). Ring’s sleep tracking capabilities not only help me optimize my sleep habits, but also boost my performance at the gym. (The Oura Ring actually does a lot more, but you can read our full Oura Ring review later.) If you’re looking for a sleep wearable to reschedule your schedule your sleep, here’s everything you want to know about Oura Ring’s sleep data capabilities—from myself and the experts.

our ring

Oura Ring Gen3, starting at $299

Available in five finishes including silver, gold, and rose gold.

Sleep Analytics, included with Oura’s monthly membership, is $5.99/month.

How Oura Ring Works and What It Tracks

Before we get into its sleep data technology, here’s a quick breakdown of Oura Ring. The ring (not to be confused with .) Rings) is a fitness tracker that you wear—you guessed it—a ring, and it tracks your heart rate, body temperature, movement, blood oxygen levels, readiness (basically, your blood pressure). energy) and your sleep. It uses photoplethysmography (PPG) technology to do all of this. “Basically, the device uses light and a light sensor to detect changes in blood flow. The device sends light into the skin and measures the amount of light reflected back from the tissues,” said Sharon Gam, PhD, CSCS, personal trainer and health coach, previously explained.

our ring
Photo: Author

Sleep function is the most important tracking tool for me, as sleep efficiency is what affects my workday And my workouts—if I don’t get enough sleep, I feel lethargic, irritable, and unable to stay focused. Plus, I have less energy for the gym and find my stamina takes a hit. A two-mile run that I can normally do at a three- or four-level incline becomes unfeasible, I get muscle fatigue much faster when lifting weights, and I find myself walking (and sitting) more than I recover.

Oura .’s sleep tracking capabilities

Sleep stage

As you sleep, Oura tracks four stages of sleep: Deep sleep (physical recovery), REM sleep (mental recovery), light sleep, and wakefulness. You want to get enough deep and REM sleep to really get the most out of your sleep.

sleep score

This ranges from 1-100 and the higher the score, the better (makes sense!). Your score is completely personalized and is based on data like total sleep, REM, deep sleep, heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV) and several other factors.

bedtime guide

Oura recommends how long to sleep by learning your personal sleep patterns and finding out from your best sleep. Over time, it can even recalculate how long you should go to bed for optimal performance the next day based on how (or poorly) you slept or recovered.

For months, I’ve found that my intense workouts don’t make me feel better – I feel worse. More tired. I don’t feel stronger. During a routine checkup, my GP asked me if I was getting enough sleep. I said “yes”, but then began to wonder why, even after eight hours, I always felt so tired (blood tests showed I was perfectly fine, with no underlying medical conditions affecting my levels. my energy).

That’s when I decided to really listen to Ring’s bedtime suggestions, and its personalized bedtime for me is between 10:15 and 11:15 p.m. As I’ve learned in six months over, just because you’ll get 8 more hours of sleep, doesn’t mean you’re getting the highest quality rest. “Not all eight o’clock at night are the same! Many of our members discover something they don’t know is disturbing their sleep like pets jumping into bed at night, light coming too early in the morning or late at night interferes with their sleep. Their heart rate drops when they go into restorative sleep,” explains Caroline Kryder, Oura’s science communications lead.

In my case, even after I got 8 hours of sleep, they were interrupted because I got up to pee at 3 a.m., urged my husband to stop snoring, or made room for one of the 85-pound dogs. mine. felt like cuddling that night. Once I addressed these sleep disturbances (still working on my snoring husband issue—if anyone has any tips, email me), I increased the amount of sleep deep and REM. Not a shock to anyone at all, I feel so much better rested.

How Oura Ring’s sleep tracking helps increase exercise performance

When you sleep better, you have more energy. It’s not rocket science, but I really thought I’d get rid of caffeine sleep deprivation and hit the gym well – I was definitely wrong.

“While exercise builds endurance and strength, resting and recovering during sleep allows our bodies to adapt in response to those exercises,” says Kyrder. “That’s because during exercise, you’re challenging your body with stress (heart, muscles, etc.). If you don’t give your body enough time to recover from that stress, the next workout just adds more impact to your body, rather than getting you back to baseline or growing stronger.”

Sleep allows your body to reset and recalibrate, making it healthier and more efficient for the next day. Jayne Morgan, MD, cardiologist, executive director of health and community education at Piedmont Healthcare, and blog creator, explains, “During sleep, the body produces hormones that help repair repair muscles and cells and regulate energy use”. Stair Chronicles. This only happens when you get restorative sleep, which is the ultimate goal. “To get restorative sleep, the body must enter a deep sleep phase known as non-REM sleep. This is the stage of sleep when the pituitary gland releases growth hormones that stimulate both the repair and muscle growth.”

When you sleep deeply, you are increasing blood flow throughout your body. “Additionally, during the deeper stages of sleep, blood and oxygen flow to the muscles is increased. This also aids in the regenerative and repairing state of muscles and cells,” explains Dr. Morgan.

Finally, sleep fights inflammation by increasing prolactin. “Prolactin is a hormone that helps regulate inflammation, which is also released during sleep. So, not enough rest and sleep? Inflammation of the body and muscles increases, which has an anti-inflammatory effect. muscle recovery and regeneration, and conversely, a lack of sleep puts a person at risk for further injury,” says Dr. Morgan.

My experience

For the past half year or so, I’ve been pretty diligent about sticking to my Ring’s personalized bedtime (except on weekends, since I can make up for it and often use them as rest or recovery days). ). I’ll go to bed no later than 11 p.m. on weekdays and find that the earlier I go to bed, the better I feel the next day. No brains, though, right? What really surprised me was how much better my performance at the gym was. I feel like I could do more: go more miles and lean more on the treadmill, and lift heavier weights in the gym.

Thanks to the amount (and quality) of sleep I got, I felt (and saw!) real muscle growth, and it’s not something I’ve experienced before relying on coffee. Coffee and energy drinks before the gym to recharge the body. body. My energy at the gym (I take two Orangetheory Fitness classes — which are HIIT-based workouts — a week, then jog and lift weights two to three times a week at the local gym ) is also more sustainable — I don’t run out of gas after 20 minutes like I used to. I can jog for 30 minutes and then still be able to row or lift with fuel still in the tank.

Here are some examples of my Oura Ring sleep data:

For this particular night of sleep, I got a 94% “efficiency” score for my sleep. While I did “sleep-sleep” for seven hours (you’ll see in a second), the ring tracked how optimized my rest was.

our sleep score
Photo: Author

A closer look at my sleep quality revealed that I had good REM sleep, but could sleep more deeply. However—I clearly got enough sleep to support my performance at the gym the next day.

Photo: Author

And here’s my Activity Score for that Monday: That day, I finished it in my Orangetheory class, and on top of that, I walked the dog for 45 minutes—all of it contributing to part in walking more than 12,000 steps and burning almost 800 calories. That’s thanks to how well I recovered during the night (plus keeping my nutrition and stress levels on top!).

our recovery
Photo: Author

On nights when the quality of my sleep indicated I needed more recovery time, Oura sent me a report the next morning recommending that I reduce my activity (light exercise or a day of rest). These are the days when I skip the exercise, or take a short walk with the dogs to give my body a break (read more about why it’s more important to give yourself rest days).

Photo: Author

The next day after resting, I’m even more energetic and energetic at the gym — I’m so much more productive. Like I’m a phone with 5% battery left and having to recharge all night (I’m not a doctor, but basically… what a good night’s sleep, right? A phone charger? Good?). That’s the reset I clearly need—and it’s nice to be able to use the Oura Ring as a way to send me reminders that I need this in my fitness journey.

“When used correctly and with good engagement and motivation, fitness trackers are tools that can help promote and encourage movement, sleep, calorie consumption, energy use, and activities.” In many ways, they serve as coaches and/or accountability partners,” Dr. Morgan reminded.

Oura Ring has been the accountability partner my fitness routine needs for a long time — and the results show.

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