Having trouble sleeping through the night? Use Oura's Nighttime Movement feature to see whether or not excess tossing and turning might be affecting your sleep quality.
Restlessness can impact how restorative your sleep is—affecting your mood, productivity, mental sharpness, and overall health. When you sleep through the night without disruption, you're more likely to perform better.
Where to Find Nighttime Movement
In the Sleep tab, users can see their Movement graph by tapping the arrow just below their sleep stages to expand or hide this view.
The Movement graph displays five-minute time blocks as lines, which represent the intensity of your movement based on height and color:
- Tall, White Line: High-intensity movement. You were likely awake.
- Medium, Light Grey Line: Medium-intensity movement. You were likely tossing and turning.
- Short, Dark Grey Line: Low-intensity movement. You were shifting in your sleep and it may have led to lower sleep efficiency.
- Blank Spot: No movement. You were sound asleep.
Patterns to Look For
As you become familiar with your movement patterns, you can start to identify those that might be impacting your sleep. Some things that you may want to look for when comparing your movement and sleep stage graphs include:
- High-intensity movement (tall, white lines) and increased blocks of time spent awake during the night
- High-intensity movement and less than 20-25% of total sleep time spent in REM or less than 15-20% of total sleep time spent in deep sleep
- High-intensity movement and a resting heart rate pattern that does not complement the ideal “hammock" curve. For optimal rest and recovery, your heart rate should begin to drop from the time that you initially fall asleep, reaching an official low during the midpoint of your total sleep time. From here, it should begin to gradually rise during REM sleep, reaching a high once more when you awaken.
If you begin to recognize these patterns or similar ones in your sleep data, it may be a sign that nighttime movement is negatively impacting your sleep quality.
For more information on the feature and how some of our users are making the most of it to introduce changes to their behavior and environment, please visit The Pulse Blog.
Tips for Restless Sleepers
Restless sleep is caused by a variety of factors, many of which are tied to our daily routines and habits. Some of these may include afternoon caffeine use (after 2 pm), poor sleep hygiene (e.g. sleeping in a room that is too hot, not dark enough, or compounded with outside noise), nighttime electronic use, or having a misaligned circadian rhythm due to shift work or jet lag. We suggest that you take these factors into consideration if you find yourself waking up to a Movement graph in the Oura App that reflects frequent nighttime activity and discover that your Sleep Score is being negatively impacted as a result.
Restlessness may also be the result of underlying stress, anxiety, or pain. Stress and anxiety can keep your mind racing during a time when your body should be settling into a peaceful state of rest and recovery.
If you have trouble falling asleep or suffer from insomnia, try using a sleep story from the Explore tab prior to falling asleep. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to bring your parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation response or “rest-and-digest” mode) into dominance, allowing your body to reach a calm state. It has also been proven to help properly regulate cortisol levels (the “fight-or-flight” hormone), stimulate melatonin release, and enhance theta-wave activity in the brain (brain waves that most commonly occur while you’re sleeping, dreaming, or in a deeply relaxed state).