CategoriesCollections Health

How Can Intermittent Fasting Improve Your Sleep?

Have you ever tried intermittent fasting? Trick question — we all fast naturally while we sleep. But a growing number of people are extending that period to change their daytime eating habits as well.

What Is Intermittent Fasting? 

Intermittent fasting is an eating plan in which you consume food during specific times of day and then fast during the rest of the day. In practice, this commonly looks like an 8, 10, or 12-hour period of eating (sometimes called a “feeding window”) and the remainder of time is spent not eating, or fasting.

For example, some people may follow a 16:8 schedule, in which they eat only during 8 hours of the day, and fast for the remaining 16 hours, including their sleeping period.

Another type of fasting is known as 5:2, in which someone limits their caloric intake by 25% for two days of the week, then consumes food as normal on the remaining days.

The point of this practice is for your body to enter into “fasting mode” and start converting your fat reserves into energy.

Research shows that health benefits of intermittent fasting may include:

  • Weight loss
  • Improved insulin sensitivity
  • Lower inflammation
  • Improved markers for heart disease
  • Reduces risk of developing some cancers and some neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

Fasting & Sleep

Fasting before bed may improve the quality of your sleep by supporting your natural circadian rhythms.

When you go to bed with an empty stomach, the internal clocks in your digestive system align with the clock in your brain so that all your systems agree to go offline for sleep. This kind of fasting — which you can accomplish simply by eating dinner early and avoiding snacks before bed — can lead to improved sleep.

If you’re embarking on a more complex fasting protocol, however, your digestive clocks need time to adjust to a new routine. You may not see the improvements of fasting right away, but if you stick with it your body will adjust and your sleep patterns will normalize.

When you fast regularly, your body adapts to your new schedule and your circadian rhythm actually becomes more pronounced (in a good way). Intermittent fasting causes insulin levels to drop and melatonin levels to rise. Melatonin is your body’s primary sleep-promoting hormone and can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Fasting also promotes the release of human growth hormone, one of your body’s vital resources for repairs while you’re asleep.

Keep in Mind

Some first-time fasters report disrupted sleep — the dreaded experience of lying wide awake in bed, bored and hungry. Why? Your “internal clocks” in your digestive tract are saying: “We haven’t eaten anything in a while! Are you sure we shouldn’t grab a bite to eat?” As a result, your body might jump into action and produce the stress hormone cortisol to help keep you awake in case food walks by.

This is temporary — your body is simply getting used to a new routine. After an adjustment period that generally lasts about 3 to 7 days, your body steadies its rhythm and fasting can actually benefit your sleep.

Remember, every body adapts differently to food routines. If you aren’t planning to start doing serious intermittent fasting, start by paying attention to your dinner time and trying to finish up at least 2 hours before your bedtime.

Start by experimenting with different protocols and observe what happens to your REM, deep sleep, and resting heart rate in your Oura App.

CategoriesCollections Ring & App

Your BioRingo Activity Score

What Is the Oura Activity Score?

Your Activity Score is one of three Oura scores that help you answer different questions about your health:

  • Your Readiness Score: How ready are you for the day?
  • Your Sleep Score: How well did you sleep last night?
  • Your Activity Score: How are you balancing your activity, inactivity, and rest?

Your scores are connected and influence each other — giving you a full picture of how your lifestyle impacts your body.

For example, if your activity levels change how you recover, your Readiness Score will adjust to reflect the impact of your training. Similarly, if your Readiness Score drops, your activity goal will automatically adjust to help you prioritize recovery.

Your Activity Score is a great tool to discover your ideal activity-rest balance and adjust your potential training goals.

Your Activity Score ranges from 0-100 and tells you, at-a-glance, how to adjust your activity-rest balance:

  • 85 or higher: Your balance is optimal, keep it up!
  • 70-84: Your balance is good, you’re on the right track.
  • Under 70: Your balance seems off and there may be lifestyle changes you can make to improve it.

Your Activity Contributors

The sum of six daily Activity Contributors make up your Activity Score.  Your contributors help answer deeper questions about your activity patterns’ impact on your health through three core pillars — inactivity, activity amount, and recovery.

Some of your Activity contributors are actually about inactivity and help you answer “Am I successfully avoiding a sedentary lifestyle each day?” 

  • Stay Active: “How much time have I been inactive today?”
  • Move Every Hour: “Have I been able to avoid long periods of inactivity today?” 

While other contributors cover your activity amount and help you answer “Have my activity patterns been healthy and balanced over the past week?”

  • Meet Daily Goals: “In the past week, how many days have I been able to stay active enough to reach my daily activity target?”
  • Training Frequency: “In the past week, how often have I been able to exercise?”
  • Training Volume: “In the past week, how much time have I spent exercising?”

Your last contributor is about recovery and helps you answer “Are you making enough time for recovery?” 

  • Recovery Time: “In the past week, have you been able to take enough recovery days?”

These contributors are designed to help you avoid the health risks of a sedentary lifestyle (increased levels of diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, & weight gain) and take advantage of the boost that regular movement gives to your heart, body, and mind.

Regardless of where you are in your activity journey, you can identify your strengths (in blue) and your potential improvement areas (in red).

Oura also provides tools to help you meet your goals. If you need a bit of encouragement, enable Inactivity Alerts, and get friendly reminders to stretch those legs. If you are ill, injured, or need to pull back a little, head into your Oura App and turn on Rest Mode. This mode temporarily mutes your activity goals so you and your body can prioritize recovery.

More Activity Tools

Oura measures your physical activity 24/7 using a highly sensitive accelerometer, helping you go beyond just measuring steps. Oura gives you credit for every movement, including subtle activities like household chores that may only involve moving your hands. With your profile information in mind (e.g., age, weight, height, and gender), Oura delivers personalized daily activity goals and a record of your overall activity levels and calorie burn.

Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Goal Progress: “How many active calories have you burned today vs. your Oura goal?”
  • Total Burn: “How many calories have you burned today, including those burned while resting?”
  • Walking Equivalency: “If all of your daily activity was converted into steps, how far would you have to walk to burn that same number of calories?”
  • Steps: “How many steps have you taken today?”

You can also adjust your baseline Activity goal and type of goal — steps or calorie burn. Learn more about personalized activity goals here.

You can use your Goal Progress and Total Burn to decide when to ramp up your activity intensity, take a well-deserved day off, or adjust your caloric intake based on your lifestyle.

You can use your Walking Equivalency and Steps to keep track of your daily activity progress and draw comparisons between different days.

Going Beyond Steps

With Oura, the answer to the question, “Does this activity count?” is always “Yes.”

Oura sets itself apart from traditional activity trackers. Whether you’re on a run or completing some chores around the house that only involve moving your hands (e.g., dishwashing, gardening, or childcare), you get credit for all your daily activities.

To get the full activity picture, Oura displays your overall activity levels in 15-minute increments across your Daily Movement graph. This timeline can help you balance the benefits of low-intensity activities (keeping your blood flowing and giving space for your body to recover) with high-intensity activities (strengthening your heart, lowering your blood pressure, and helping you maintain a healthy weight).

Your Workouts

In addition to your activity metrics, contributors, and Score, Oura also helps you detect and isolate individual activities — labeling them as “workouts.”

Oura has a suite of tools to help you track and log your workouts:

  • Automatic Activity Detection has a title that says it all. It references a list of 20+ activities and automatically detects and labels your workouts.
  • Manual activity logging enables you to track workouts that aren’t automatically detected to make sure no activity or workout falls through the cracks (Yes, even badminton!)
  • App integrations give you the power to import activities from Google Fit, Apple Health, and Strava.

We all have our favorite ways to measure our workouts, and Oura makes it easy to view all of them in one convenient location.

How To Improve Your Oura Activity Score

If you’re looking for ways to improve your Activity Score, keep these principles in mind:

  • Contributors where you receive a “pay attention” message, with a red progress bar, are areas for potential improvement.
  • An Activity Score of 85 or above is optimal. 100s are designed to be rare rather than regular.
  • If an illness, injury, or lifestyle need prevents you from meeting your activity goals, you can temporarily mute your Activity Score Contributors with Rest Mode.

As you’re exploring which Activity Contributors you can improve, it helps to consider which questions they help you answer.

If your inactivity Contributors are in the red, they’re signaling patterns of inactivity. “Are you successfully avoiding a sedentary lifestyle each day?”

To improve these contributors, try enabling Inactivity Alerts for a friendly reminder to stretch your legs or using these tips for staying active. It may also help to keep the design of these contributors in mind:

  • Stay Active estimates your total daily inactive time while you are awake. This contributor excludes when you are naturally sedentary (e.g., asleep). To improve your Stay Active contributor, aim to keep your inactive time under 8 hours each day.
  • Move Every Hour measures how well you’ve avoided long periods of inactivity. To improve this contributor, try moving for 2+ minutes each hour and avoid consecutive hours of inactivity.

If your activity amount or recovery contributors are in the red, they may be signaling the need for a healthier activity-recovery balance. “Have your activity patterns been healthy and balanced over the past week?” and “Are you making enough time for rest?”

To better balance your Activity Contributors, keep these definitions in mind:

  • Meet Daily Goals records how many days over the past week you were able to meet your Oura Activity Goal based on your Readiness Score and profile information (e.g., age and gender). To improve this contributor, meet your goal for at least 3 days each week, and strive for 5 or more days. When it comes to balancing your activity and recovery, there’s one true expert: your body. Oura does not currently enable the manual adjustment of your goal because your Readiness Score is a reflection of your body’s true capacity — and your body knows best.
  • Training Frequency reflects how often you engaged in medium-to-high-intensity activity over the past week. To improve this contributor, try exercising at a medium-to-high-intensity level 3+ times per week. What exactly does that mean? Medium intensity activities noticeably increase your heart rate and breathing rate. You may sweat, but you are still able to carry on a conversation. High-intensity activities leave you huffing and puffing. Try incorporating moderate activities (e.g., jogging, elliptical, gardening) or high-intensity ones (e.g., running) to improve your score.
  • Training Volume captures your total activity time over the past week. To maintain a strong Training Volume, try to get 2,000-3,000 calories of medium-to high-intensity activity each week. For a healthy adult, this is equivalent to approximately 2 hours of jogging or 4.5 hours of brisk walking per week. If your Training Volume falls to 750–1500 calories per week, it will lower your Activity Score. This contributor is all about finding what works for you. Keep in mind that you can meet your goal by adding up longer periods of medium intensity activities (e.g., gardening, walking, errands) or shorter periods of higher intensity activities (e.g., HIIT workout, run). The goal is not to pack your weekly training volume into a short window of time but rather to spread it out and find balance throughout the week.
  • Recovery Time reflects your balance of high and low-intensity activity over the past week, ensuring you’re setting aside recovery time for muscle repair, muscle growth, injury prevention, and mental recovery. To improve this contributor, dedicate one to two days per week to lower-intensity activities like walking. If you’ve gone 5 days without recovery time, this contributor will detract from your score. Keep in mind that “recovery days” do not mean sedentary days — simply taking it slow can help your body recover while still getting your blood circulating with a light activity like a neighborhood stroll.
CategoriesCollections Health

Naps Around the World

We’ve all been there. It’s 2 pm, you just had lunch, loads more to get done, but your body wants a breather. What do you do instead? Fight through the exhaustion, and get some more done even if you have to do it half-heartedly. At least you’re ticking off that list, right?

What if you didn’t have to go through that struggle? What if you just took a nap? Naps, when done right, are a perfect way to take a short mental timeout during the day.

Benefits of Napping

The science is evident on the benefits of napping for physical and mental functioning and productivity. A 30-minute nap is good enough to help regulate emotions and boost performance. Napping also gives your cognitive abilities—attention, learning, problem-solving, creativity, focus, alertness, memory, and wakefulness—an uptick.

Interestingly, a 2015 study demonstrates naps can make up for the health effects of a poor night’s sleep, relieve stress, and strengthen immunity.

As much as napping can be an easily accessible antidote to daytime fatigue, many adults still think twice before doing it. The Pew Research Center reports that only 34% of American adults nap. For some, napping leaves them in a worse situation than before—groggy and sluggish. While for others, napping at work just isn’t cool.

However, it may excite you to know that some cultures take naps seriously, and we’ll be looking at these distinct napping habits and their effects on the individuals of each location.

5 Fascinating Napping Practices 

1. The United States & United Kingdom

It’s probably easy to guess that the prevalence of hustle culture in the US and UK has led to the devaluation of napping. If you guessed that was the case, you guessed correctly—and the data backs this up.

In the US and UK, The Oura Community naps a bit less than average with only 15% taking naps.

For reference, in Japan, that number is a whopping 22%.

2. Spain

Based on a snapshot from May 17th – May 23rd, Barcelona was the world capital of chill with members of the Oura Community taking, on average, 2 naps per week.

Naptime for people in this region, and other countries in the Mediterranean, is usually six hours after waking up—noontimeShops and local businesses shut down their doors for a compulsory leisure lunch and nap generally from 2 pm to 5 pm.

According to the BBC, this practice is no longer as widespread as it used to be. However, Ador, in a small town in Valencia, the mayor announced in 2015 a compulsory daily Siesta for the entire city.

Taking a Siesta also has the same benefits to quality of life as napping.  But it’s interesting to note that a study on 1175 older adults showed that subjects that habitually took siestas had lower systolic blood pressure levels than the group that didn’t.

3. Italy 

In Italy, businesses also close in the afternoon to take their midday break called “The Riposo.” These naps, just like the Siesta, follow lunchtime. It’s the people’s fix for the slump that strikes after a good meal and a way to refill lost energy. And they generally last from 2 to 4 hours.

4. Scandinavian countries 

Leaving a baby—as young as two weeks to two years old—out in frigid weather is something that sounds a bit unbelievable. But it’d surprise you to know that parents in Scandinavian countries—Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland—leave their babies outside in a stroller during winter to take a nap. They do this every day whenever it’s nap time.

Because of how strange this practice may seem, it’s easy to look down on it as harsh and endangering. It won’t be a first: in 1997, New York Police Officers arrested a Danish woman for leaving her 14 months old daughter outside to take a nap.

Research, however, shows that Nordic parents report only positive experiences with this culture. They claim that this practice boosts their children’s immunity, protects them from catching a cold, and improves their sleep. For some, napping their children outdoors after covering all security risks promotes family wellbeing.

5. China

Workplaces in China allow workers to nap at work because of how demanding the job is. Some offices create a “sleeping room” for this purpose. These naps help boost alertness, concentration, performance, and productivity. And they can last from a few minutes to an hour—as long as you get the recharge you need to get right back to work.

This napping culture is sacred in China because they believe rest is necessary to restore mind-body harmony.

How to Take a Nap

Now that you know that napping is good for you, and are aware of countries that own their napping culture, you may want in. But there are basic nap “rules” to follow, so your body thanks you. Let’s go through them by answering the questions: “For whom?” “When?” “How long?” “Where?” and “How often?” 

For whom?: It’s not advisable for everyone to take a nap. If you have insomnia or generally have trouble sleeping well at night, napping in the day may worsen your condition.

When?: Taking a nap when you notice a dip in energy levels is the right thing to do. Usually, that’s between 1 pm and 3 pm. Snoozing hours after that may affect nighttime sleep.

How long?: With napping, duration matters. A lot. Studies say 10 to 20 minutes is the perfect nap length. Napping for less than 10 minutes can’t guarantee you the stimulating effects of napping. And snoozing for 30 minutes or more may send you into that deep sleep zone,  making it harder for you to wake up. And when you do, you’ll wake up grumpy because your body wants more.

So before you start your nap, you may want to set the alarm.

Where?: Your best bet is a comfy place. You may have to create that sleep-friendly environment for yourself if you’re at work. Generally, you’d want somewhere cool, isolated, and with little light and noise. Your car (with the AC turned on) is a good option. Then turn off all distractions – yes that means your phone.

How often?: Napping at the same time and same place every workday primes your body to get better at the habit. You’ll not only fall asleep more quickly, but you’ll also learn to wake up without an alarm.

If you’ve tried these tips, and you still can’t regularly get a good nap, then it’s okay to ditch the idea. Meditation, listening to calm music, taking a walk, or watching an episode of your favorite sitcom are great alternatives for relaxing. By now, you’d agree that nothing’s weird if it works.


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16. Traced by: Louise Bendixen Share this page on: et al. “Would You Let Your Baby Nap Outside?” Would You Let Your Baby Nap Outside? | The Nordics,

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