Today we’re thrilled to announce the launch of a brand new feature within Oura: Moment.
Moment is a new way to understand the impact meditation, breathing exercises, and relaxation have on your body. Using the Oura Ring’s advanced sensors, Moment quantifies mindful moments to illustrate the link between mind and body like never before.
Giving yourself dedicated downtime during the day can have a big impact on your well-being. Similar to sleep, these periods aid in physical and mental recovery.
Imagine your mind and body are a computer uploading and downloading information during your waking hours. At a certain point, the computer slows down if there are more requests than it can handle (what we humans might call “hitting a wall”). The savvy user knows to pause the lower priority demands to ensure the most important files are being transferred. Taking a daytime breather gives your mind and body a chance to hit pause on those frantic “files” and reconnect to their most essential functions.
Moment is your on-demand companion for all forms of downtime. Here, we’ll get into what Moment is, how it works, and how to get started.
Moment was designed to promote peaceful moments because — great news — chilling out is really, really good for you. Meditation can decrease anxiety and risk of cardiovascular disease while increasing mental cognition and sleep quality (which, in turn, will increase your Readiness Score — win, win).
Moment delivers insights to understand how dedicated periods of mindfulness impact your body during your waking hours, similar to the insights Oura collects while you sleep.
If you’re new to meditation, we hope Moment will drive you to develop your own practice. If you already meditate regularly, think of Moment as a motivating new tool to enhance your routine, giving you an extra layer of information to maintain or improve your practice.
Measuring With Moment
The Oura ring tracks your blood volume pulse directly from the palmar arteries of the finger with infrared LED sensors. We deliberately designed Oura as a ring (rather than a watch) because the arterial pulse at the finger delivers a significantly more accurate reading than what can be collected from the wrist. From that data, Oura’s algorithms calculate your resting heart rate and heart rate variability (HRV).
If you aren’t already familiar with HRV, here’s the super simple version: As you know, you have a heartbeat; let’s say it’s 60 beats per minute. What you may not know is that the time between those beats varies. If your heart rate is 60 beats per minute, that doesn’t mean it’s hitting a beat exactly every second. Sometimes it will be 0.9 seconds, other times 1.3 seconds, and so on. Sounds like a bad thing, but it’s actually a good thing! The goal is to have high variability (reflected in a high HRV score), because that means your heart is in good condition to react, respond, and recover from all the ups and downs life throws your way. A high HRV is the sign of a healthy heart. (For a deeper look at HRV, check out this article from Harvard Medical School.)
So what does that have to do with meditation? A low heart rate and a high HRV correlates to lower stress levels, and vice versa. A 2015 study looked at the effect self-help interventions including mindfulness meditation and slow breathing exercises had on stress-reduction and — long study short — participants were able to increase their HRV with guided breathwork. Additionally, the results showed a reduction in stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms, plus improved psychological well-being and sleep quality.
With an eye on HRV, you can self-study how different meditation sessions affect you physiologically, leading you to develop the most effective routine for your unique needs. Additionally, you’ll get a new way to track progress: compete with yourself to increase session time, decrease resting heart rate, and raise HRV.
To start a Moment, tap the + button in the app home view. Before you begin, you’ll select a session length and set your soundscape (or opt for a silent session).
Moment was intentionally designed to be versatile because mindfulness is personal — there is no right or wrong way to take a breather. With Moment, there are no prescriptive programs or must-follow instructions. You can cue up your favorite guided meditation app or video, or go freeform with your own practice. (Don’t have a favorite guided meditation program? Here are a few we like: Oak, Waking Up, Calm, Headspace.)
All that Moment requires is that you are as still as possible so that Oura can collect the most precise measurements possible, just like it does when you’re asleep. Too much movement will distract the ring’s optical tracking and disrupt the delicate beat-by-beat difference seen in the pulse, leading to less accurate data. For best results, find a comfortable position before beginning and try to remain still (your mind and body will thank you!).
When you wrap up, you have the option to tag your session type and rate how it went. Then you’ll get the sweet, sweet reward of insights. The longer your session, the more in-depth your stats will be.
Currently, Moment is only available for iPhone users with a second generation ring and app version 2.6.0 or later. We will launch Moment on Android later this year.