Since booze is a nearly inescapable element of many people’s social lives, it probably comes as no surprise that “alcohol” is the most popular tag by Oura members. It also is probably no surprise that it’s not exactly a boon for your health. But how does alcohol specifically impact your biometrics? We took a closer look at aggregate Oura member data to find out. 

Member Spotlight: See how Oura helped Gemma R. give up alcohol after she saw a massive spike in her resting heart rate on vacation.

Heart Rate

Impact of Alcohol on Heart Rate

Alcohol leads to a median increase in resting heart rate of 4.8%.* 74% of members experience at least some “positive” effect, which in this case isn’t a good thing at all — a higher resting heart rate can be an indication of stress on the body.

LEARN MORE: All About Your Resting Heart Rate

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) 

There’s a strong negative influence of alcohol on overnight HRV, with a median decrease of 12.1%. Over 70% of members saw at least some negative effect.

HRV is one of your body’s most powerful signals of stress and well-being. ​​In general, higher HRV is associated with general fitness and good recovery, while a lower HRV is associated with stress or illness.

LEARN MORE: What Is Heart Rate Variability? 

Deep Sleep

There’s a fairly consistent negative impact of alcohol on deep sleep, the most rejuvenating stage of sleep. The average decrease of deep sleep is 6.9% on nights when members tag alcohol. 

LEARN MORE: Deep Sleep: What Is It and How to Get More

Which Oura Contributors Did Alcohol Not Seem to Affect? 

Interestingly, our data analysis showed nonexistent or negligible effects on other contributors: 

  • Restlessness 
  • Duration of sleep
  • Sleep efficiency 

READ MORE: How Alcohol Affects Your Sleep


*Note that we are looking at the median metric in these charts, rather than the mean or average, since the mean is much more sensitive to outliers, or very large and very small values.