A Guide to Your Sleep Contributors

Your Sleep Score is made up of 7 unique contributors that interact with one another to offer a holistic view of your overall sleep quality.

In this guide, we walk you through each of the Sleep contributors and explain what they are and how they’re measured, then suggest a general framework to use while looking at these contributors on a daily basis.

Note that for Sleep insights, your personal data is evaluated against general recommendations (apart from ideal bedtime, which is personal) from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).

1. Total Sleep

Definition & Measurement

Your total sleep time for last night, compared with the recommended total sleep time for a person your age. For healthy adults, the recommendation is 7-9 hours, though this amount can decrease with age. Sleeping for more than 9 hours may be appropriate if you’re a young adult, someone recovering from sleep debt or recent illness.

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Note that if you’re an inconsistent sleeper, there is more room for fluctuation in your total sleep time per night without a significant impact on your Sleep Score. The same does not hold true for people who are very consistent in their total sleep length.

2. Efficiency

Definition & Measurement

Sleep efficiency is a measurement of your overall sleep quality. In the Oura app, it’s the percentage of time you spend asleep after going to bed, compared with a generally accepted cut-off score of 85% for healthy adults.

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Scores below 80% imply that wake-ups and/or restless sleep may have disturbed your sleep quality, leading to a lower Sleep Score. Note that it’s common for sleep efficiency to decline with age.

3. Restfulness

Definition & Measurement

Restfulness is a measure of how soundly you slept through the night. Wake-ups, excessive movement and getting up from bed during the night will all take away from your overall restfulness.

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It can be common to move during the night or wake-up on occasion, but too much tossing and turning can have a significant effect on your sleep quality. This is because “restless” sleep is less restorative than uninterrupted sleep and is a key source of daytime sleepiness.

Note that sleep disturbances can be caused by various factors, including: excess stress, noise, partners, pets, heavy meals or alcohol in the late evening, caffeine after 2pm in the afternoon, and exercising or engaging in blue light screen time within 1-2 hours of your bedtime.

4. REM Sleep

Definition & Measurement

REM (rapid eye movement) sleep is known as the “mentally restorative” stage of sleep given that it’s highly associated with memory consolidation, learning, creativity and dreaming.

The REM sleep contributor in your Oura app compares the amount of REM sleep you got last night with the average amount for a person your age. On average, the optimal amount for adults is between 90-120 minutes, however this value slightly decreases with age.

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Getting more REM sleep often requires you to sleep longer since most non-REM sleep occurs early in the night and the length of REM periods tend to increase as the night goes on. REM sleep is generally regulated by circadian rhythms (i.e. your internal body clock); this means that by sticking to a consistent sleep schedule and avoiding caffeine or alcohol in the late afternoon/evening can play a role in increasing the amount of REM sleep you obtain each night.

5. Deep Sleep

Definition & Measurement

Deep sleep is also known as slow wave sleep (SWS) and the “physically restorative” stage of sleep. Deep sleep is the most rejuvenating sleep stage given that this is when your cells regenerate, tissues and bone undergo repair, your muscles experience increased blood flow, and your metabolism and blood sugar levels achieve balance. The deep sleep contributor in your Oura app compares the amount of deep sleep you received last night with the average amount for a person your age.

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Note that the amount of deep sleep typically decreases with age. For young adults, the optimal amount is about 1.5 hours, and for 60-year-olds it’s roughly 45 minutes.

Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, exercising regularly, staying properly hydrated, avoiding caffeine and long naps in the afternoon (past 2pm), limiting screen use 1-2 hours before bed, and refraining from consuming heavy meals and alcohol up to 3 hours before your bedtime can all play a role in increasing your nightly deep sleep.

6. Latency

Definition & Measurement

Sleep latency is the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep. The latency contributor in your app evaluates the amount of time it took you to fall asleep against recommended sleep latency time, which is between 10-20 minutes.

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Note that falling asleep in less than 5 minutes may be a sign that you’re overtired and not getting enough sleep relative to your needs. If you have trouble falling asleep within 20 minutes, try doing something relaxing in dimmed lighting, such as reading, until you become sleepy.

7. Timing

Definition & Measurement

Sleep timing has to do with waking-up and going to sleep with the rise and fall of the sun. The timing contributor in your app compares the period of time that you were asleep with nature’s 24-hour circadian cycle. Oura considers your sleep timing to be optimal when the midpoint of your sleep falls between midnight and 3 a.m. (the darkest period of the night).

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Because the majority of our bodily processes such as temperature, hormonal and hunger regulation run in 24-hour cycles (aka, circadian rhythms), sleeping during the night and remaining active during the day helps to keep these rhythms in check.

Bedtime Guidance

In addition to sleep contributors, you can also see a recommended bedtime in the app. It’s a personal recommendation, based on your sleep schedule and quality. Although you don’t have to follow this bedtime suggestion, think of it as Oura’s reminder to guide you toward more sufficient and restful sleep. Oura is fully attuned to your body’s needs and offers this guidance based on your recent physiological responses and what’s required to reach optimal rest and recovery in the days to come.

To learn even more about your sleep contributors, check out this article.

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