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Oura’s New Nighttime Movement Feature Displays Your Tossing & Turning

If you’re getting a full night’s sleep but still feel tired during the day, there’s a chance that your body’s nighttime movement is disrupting your sleep quality. While it’s normal to shift periodically, some of us can toss and turn more than others, and may not even know it.

Oura can now help you understand how your nighttime movements impact your sleep. With the new Movement graph, you can spot if excess activity is affecting your sleep quality by comparing your movement patterns with your sleep phases and resting heart rate (RHR).

Excess movement can impact how restorative your sleep is—affecting your mood, productivity, mental sharpness, and health. Keep reading to find out how you can start leveraging this feature.

What’s New?

On the Sleep tab, iOS users can now see their Movement graph by tapping the arrow just below Sleep stages (v) 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:

  • A Tall, White Line = High intensity movement. You were likely awake.
  • A Medium, Light Grey Line = Mild intensity movement. You were likely  tossing and turning.
  • A Short, Dark Grey Line = Low intensity movement. You’re shifting in your sleep and it may impact your sleep quality.
  • A Blank Spot = No movement. You were sleeping peacefully

Below are examples of three Movement graphs with different amounts of activity from none to high:

Excess movement may impact elements of your Sleep score, which you can see via three contributors: higher Awake Time, a lower Efficiency, or frequent enough wake-ups and movement to impact your Restfulness. For a breakdown of all of your Sleep data, see this comprehensive guide. 

How Can You Use This Feature?

If you feel refreshed in the morning and energetic during the day, there’s most likely nothing to worry about, even if you move around at night. If you’re interested in investigating, however, your Movement graph enables you to line up data within a single night as well as compare your sleep between nights.

To look at a single night’s sleep, you can now visually align moments of high activity with your sleep stages and RHR. Look for periods when a sudden increase in movement aligns with awake time in your sleep stages or spikes in your RHR. Both can signify that something is disturbing your sleep.

As you become familiar with your movement patterns over time, you can start to identify habits that might be impacting your sleep. Excess nighttime movement has many possible causes, many of which are tied to our daily routines and habits. Here are some factors to keep in mind:

Stress, exercise, or stimulants may be engaging your fight-or-flight system before bed.

  • Strong emotions or stress can activate our systems to stay alert, while a clear mind can help us wind down before bed. Try writing your thoughts or to-do lists in a journal or taking a Moment prior to sleep.
  • Digestion or stimulants can prime your body to stay awake, long after the meal or beverage itself. Limit your intake of large meals, caffeine, or alcohol a few hours before sleep.
  • Training hard too close to bedtime can keep your body energized and metabolism running overtime. Try to schedule intense workouts  2 or more  hours before bed.

Your sleep environment may be waking you up. 

  • Exposure to light and darkness is one of the main regulators of sleep. If you think light may be keeping your inner clock awake, try using blackout curtains, a sleeping mask, or avoiding blue light at least a couple of hours before bed.
  • Noise can wake you up in the middle of the night. If you can’t control the sound levels of your surroundings, learning to sleep with earplugs, white noise, or noise cancelling headphones or earbuds can help keep noise levels consistent.
  • Our bodies stop regulating temperature during REM sleep which can often cause people to wake up if their sleeping situation isn’t ideal. If possible, keep your bedroom cool and choose bedding that doesn’t make you overheat once you’ve fallen asleep. You may need to start off with your bedroom cooler at first to ensure it stays ideal throughout the night.
  • If you toss and turn at night, is it possible that you’re sleeping on a mattress that doesn’t adequately support your body? Check your sleep ergonomics. A comfortable bed and pillow that support your head and back are the cornerstones of restful sleep.

Your sleeping partner might be disrupting your sleep. 

  • Sometimes it’s not you per se who sleeps restlessly but someone else causing your restlessness. Be it your partner, child, or pet, you all deserve peaceful nights. Try multiple sleeping arrangements (or even separate blankets!) until you find an optimal solution for everyone in the family.

How Is The Oura Community Using This data?

The following are true stories taken from users who chose to share their experiences. We’ve changed their names to respect their privacy.

“My back pain makes me shift a lot in the night when I can’t get comfortable. There’s a big difference in nights where I’ve gone to the gym and stretched my back out vs. days when I can’t go and it’s really bothering me. On those days, you’ll see those sharp white lines where I’m suddenly waking up in pain. I’m really making time to stretch it whenever I can now.” – Matthew


“There was a stressful period at work where I started having trouble falling asleep. To remedy this, I started playing different types of sleep audio (podcasts, Headspace sleepcasts, white noise, etc.) and sure enough, that helped me drift to sleep! When I woke up however, I didn’t feel at all refreshed.

Then I noticed something interesting: every night that I was playing these audios, the whole night was filled with low level movement. This was easy to spot, as I don’t normally move around a lot at night.

I took from this that the noise during the night was affecting my sleep, potentially keeping it lighter than it should be.

After googling around for a while, I found out that your iPhone actually comes bundled with the perfect tool for these situations. You can simply use the clock app to set a timer, then choose “When timer ends”, scroll all the way down and choose “Stop playing.” What will happen is that whatever app you have playing audio when that timer ends, it will turn it off. After that, I started setting a 30-45min timer for my sleep audio, and the movement fell. I also felt more refreshed in the morning.” – Max

Two “Bad nights” with audio playing all night:

A more “regular” night, one wake up:


“I’ve always suspected that I toss and turn a lot during the night. On some mornings, I feel like I’d run a marathon! I heard from a friend who used to be a restless sleeper that a weighted blanket has made all the difference to her sleep quality. So I decided to test it, too! After a couple of weeks, I’ve come to a conclusion that my blanket would need to be made out of rocks if it were to help me sleep more soundly :’D I guess we’re all unique in our sleeping disorders, so I’ll continue searching for my solution!” – Jess

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Oura ring products and services are not medical devices, and are not intended to mitigate, prevent, treat, cure or diagnose any disease or condition. Oura’s insights are suggestions based upon your data, and shouldn’t be substituted for medical advice or prevent you from taking a holistic view on your overall health. If you have any concerns about your health, please consult your doctor

 

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