An Introduction to Your Sleep Score
If you’re curious about how your Sleep Score is measured, what determines a “good” score and how you can work to improve this metric, you’ll find your answers below.
How Oura Measures Your Sleep Score
Oura analyzes your sleep by measuring the dynamics of your resting heart rate, body temperature, movement, and time spent in specific sleep stages, including light, deep, and REM. Oura’s proprietary algorithms combine these measurements into a summarized picture of your unique sleep patterns.
Your Sleep Score is meant to provide you with a holistic perspective of how well you're sleeping on a daily basis (think: overall sleep quality). It’s calculated according to multiple factors, including your total sleep time, sleep efficiency (the percentage of time you spend asleep during the night), latency (the time it takes you to fall asleep), among other metrics found in the Sleep tab in your Oura app.
Your Sleep Score is meant to guide you in a positive direction if you’re sleeping less than you usually do or less than the recommended average for someone your age. It’s also meant to reward and encourage consistency if you're regularly reaching a score above 70.
Here's how you can expect to see your Sleep Score displayed in the Oura app:
What’s Considered a Good Sleep Score?
The goal is not necessarily to supercharge yourself to a 100 every single night. If you’re consistently sleeping somewhere between 7-9 hours per night (the recommended average by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine) and not deviating too far from your regular total sleep time, you’re sleeping enough and doing well. This is why a score closer to 85 is still considered a gold standard from Oura’s perspective on health and wellbeing.
Naturally, some nights you'll sleep less and that’s perfectly okay. One, or a few nights of poor sleep won't ruin your Sleep Score forever. Anywhere between 70-84 is still considered good; however, scoring below 70 is a sign from your body to place more emphasis on getting the quality rest you need.
How to Improve Your Sleep Score
It’s helpful to keep in mind that your body knows what it needs and will provide you with the signs needed to reach proper balance. Your Sleep Score is designed to serve as a reminder of those needs. If you find yourself scoring below 70, it may be time to focus your attention on gaining momentum toward the 85 range.
Below are some tips for how to improve your Sleep Score. Test out a few, or all of them—the choice is yours. You can even add a tag for several of the options listed and observe how your sleep data may change via trends.
1. Set aside enough time for sleep. For example, in order to reach the recommended 7-9 hours of total sleep per night, this may require you give yourself an 8-10 hour window from the time you get into bed to the time you'd like to wake-up in the morning. This buffer will account for latency (i.e. the time it takes you to fall asleep), awake time, and any brief disturbances during the night—all of which don't count toward your total sleep time. *Note that your total sleep time is the number one most impactful contributor in helping you achieve optimal rest, and a higher Sleep Score as a result.
2. Cut off screen-time, and artificial light at least an hour before bed. You can also dim, or shut off a handful of the primary lights in your home and, or bedroom in this hour before bed. If you have to use a device near your bedtime, you can offset some of its stimulating effects by diming the screen or wearing blue light glasses. Reversely, try to expose yourself to (preferably) natural light first thing in the morning upon waking. This absence of harsh light near your bedtime, and presence of direct light soon after waking helps to establish strong sleep and wake patterns, regulated by your body's internal clock (i.e. circadian rhythm).
3. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time, no matter the day of the week. Regularity is key. It will anchor your sleep, naturally improving quantity and quality. This is because your circadian rhythm expects regularity, and responds best under consistent conditions.
4. Limit strenuous exercise, heavy meals, and alcohol consumption ~3 hours prior to your bedtime. Foods high in sugar and low in fiber consumed in the evening hours may result in more frequent wake-ups throuhgout the night, and lower quantities of deep sleep. This is because sugar naturally increases your metabolic rate and body temperature, making it more challenging for your body to mellow and remain in a restful state.
5. Avoid caffeine consumption past 2pm. Even some decaffeined versions of beverages that naturally contain caffeine (e.g. decaf coffee or decaf green tea) still have slight traces of caffeine, so you may want to consider limiting your consumption of these in the later evening hours as well.
6. Create a nighttime routine that helps you relax and unwind before getting into bed, such as taking a hot shower/bath, reading a book, doing some light yoga, stretching, or practicing mindfulness with Moment . This will permit your body and mind to adapt a sleep ritual of sorts, allowing you to enter a 'powering down' mode prior to hitting your pillow.
7. Set aside 5 minutes in the ~2 hours that precede your bedtime to write down all your currently active thoughts, concerns, to-do items for the next day, etc. Whatever is on your mind—simply get it all out, and complete sentences are not necessary by any means. This can be done in a journal, on a pad of paper, a tablet, among other options.
8. Cool down your sleep enviornment. The optimal temperature for sleep has been noted to fall around 67°F / 18°C. Your body needs to slightly drop its core temperature by around 2-3°F / 1°C in order to initiate sleep, and keep you at rest throughout the night. Ironcially, you can accelerate this process by taking a warm bath or shower in the hour or two before bed. This will naturally draw blood from your core to the surface of your skin, allowing for heat from the body to be evacuated.
9. Avoid partaking in activities other than sleeping and general restful practices in your bed. Some examples include, but are not limited to watching TV, working, or eating. Engaging in these activities in bed can build associations in the brain that digress from being in this space and sleeping, which can make it more difficult to fall and stay asleep in that environment.
For more information on your Sleep Score, please visit The Pulse.