Last week, we revealed our team’s resolution for the new year, and we solemnly swore to pay attention to our own sleep habits.
One of our goals was to improve the restorative nature of sleep. After all, it’s during nighttime that our body and mind recover and recharge. Sleep is also important for our learning, memory, muscle growth and many other physical and mental processes.
The question then is how are we going to track the progress of our quest towards more restorative sleep? In this first instalment of our sleep goal follow-ups, we introduce one of our methods, the Oura Cloud Trends view.
Just a quick recap for those of you who aren’t familiar with Oura Cloud: it’s a web dashboard for the data the Oura ring collects. It shows you daily, weekly, and monthly outlooks on your sleep, recovery and activity trends.
From the viewpoint of restorative sleep, the amount of deep sleep (or N3 stage sleep) is one of the things to keep an eye on. It’s the phase in which your respiratory rate and pulse are most stable, and it’s an optimal time for your body and mind to regenerate.
This is what the first weeks of 2018 have looked like for one of our colleagues.
As you can see in the daily view, the amount of deep sleep per night has varied quite a lot. After holidays it’s been busy, both at work and with all the hobbies and family life. The day’s mental and physical load if often reflected in the amount of deep sleep the following night.
Remember that when it comes to tracking your deep sleep, you shouldn’t compare yourself with others but pay attention to your long-term trends. When you look at your data, do you see correlations between the amount of deep sleep and things such as stress, heavy exercise, travelling or late-night meals?
Here’s another example from a colleague, showing deep sleep weekly averages. This person noticed that a particularly stressful week with heavy exercise, after having recovered from a persistent cold, had an immediate impact on the amount of deep sleep. The overall load was, perhaps, too much.
For those who are worried that they don’t get enough deep sleep, a word of comfort: the N2 stage of your sleep is restorative, too. So, it’s not just deep sleep that pays a role in your recovery.
However, if you’re interested in learning how to improve deep sleep, here are some tips for getting more deep sleep that are worth testing.
Another interesting topic in tracking restorative sleep is your heart rate variability (HRV). It’s a widely used measure of recovery, but one that needs to be interpreted with care.
Generally speaking, if your HRV is on a downward trend, there might be something burdening your body’s nervous system. It can be for example mental or physical stress, or an impending sickness.
Whatever the reason, a downward HRV trend means that it’s time to concentrate on getting more restorative sleep.
Here’s an example of a colleague who noticed such a downward trend. She decided to skip the heaviest exercises for a couple of days, didn’t open her computer in the evening and tried to calm down to get a good start for the night. In this case the measures worked, and she was back on track very quickly.
We’ll continue reporting our sleep goal tracking process, so stay tuned for updates and subscribe to the Oura Insider, our weekly newsletter.
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