Perhaps at this stage in your life you may think sleep is something we all do naturally, but have you ever asked yourself why do we need to sleep? For how long? And how important is it for our health? There is now a growing scientific exploration into these questions by sleep researchers and bioengineering companies looking to improve the overall quality of everyone’s sleep. The bottom line is this: we all NEED good quality and optimal duration of sleep to function properly and at our highest potential, both mentally and physically.
Cognitively sleep is crucial for the storage of memories and emotional health. Research suggests there is a link between wake and sleep that coordinates the movement and integration of new memories from our forebrain into the inner brain – our long term memory hard drive, if you will. Sleep has also been identified as a vital component in our emotional health. In research studies where subjects are intentionally deprived of sleep, there are increasing complaints of emotional disturbances and reactivity. These emotional complaints which point to challenges in emotional regulation are supported with functional magnetic resonance imaging in the brain’s emotional processing center, where sleep deprived subjects experienced 60% greater use of this brain area.
Physically sleep is essential for the regulation of two primary brain systems, our stress regulation system (HPA) axis) and our fight or flight system respectively (sympathetic nervous system). These systems work in harmony and are crucial for the release and regulation of hormones such as cortisol (our stress hormone) and epinephrine (adrenaline). During any long-term, or intermittent sleep deprivation, these systems are over-activated resulting in dysregulation of these systems and their hormones. This dysregulation can result in increased inflammation and a reduction in our immune function which can result in sickness and chronic pain.
So it’s pretty clear both cognitively and physically that each of us achieving consistent, quality sleep is very important for our health.
But what is the best way for us to accurately monitor our sleep? Do you have a system you trust to track and improve your sleep? For most of us the answer is “Probably Not.”
Enter the Oura Ring
Oura Ring is a game-changing wearable sleep quality monitor taking the form of a small, elegantly-styled ring. The Oura Ring uses an array of sensors to monitor your heart rate, blood oxygen and body temperature. Your Oura ring gathers the information from these sensors to then give you three daily scores critically important to your sleep and rest:
- Sleep – How was your sleep quality last night?
- Activity – How is your balance between activity and rest?
- Readiness – Based on your rest and activity levels, how ready are you to start tasks and how much can your body take on?
With a battery that lasts up to 7 days on a single charge, you’re primed for a week of helpful information and reminders.
But is Oura Ring legit?
A 2022 independent research paper comparing Oura Ring’s effectiveness versus scientific sleep study gold standards found that Oura Ring was ~80% accurate at sleep stage detection. The study’s authors said this in conclusion of their findings: “Combining the compact form factor of a finger ring, multidimensional biometric sensory streams, and machine learning, high accuracy wake-sleep detection and sleep staging can be accomplished.”
That’s pretty high praise and science speak for – it works really, really well!