A recent study found that a wearable device can accurately identify a person’s stress level using biometric information it collects, including sleep data . The study also found that the odds of a person experiencing moderate to high stress levels were lowered by about 38% for each additional hour of sleep they obtained at night.

Researchers at the University of Vermont and Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina conducted the study with data from 525 first-year university students. The study participants each wore an Oura Ring, which is a wearable device that looks like a plain metal ring. 

The Oura Ring collects data related to a person’s pulse, breathing, blood oxygen levels, and other bodily metrics to determine sleep quantity and quality. In this study, subjective reports of stress correlated to multiple types of data collected by the ring, including a lower total sleep time, higher resting heart rate, lower heart rate variability, and higher average breathing rate.

The study authors suggest that these results show wearable devices may help identify which college students would benefit from mental health services. Previous research has shown that over 60% of college students experience mental health issues linked to poor sleep

In the recent study, 64% of the college student participants experienced moderate to high levels of stress, and 32% slept less than seven hours per night. Female, transgender, and nonbinary students reported higher stress levels than male students. 

These findings echo the results of a recent Gallup poll in which 57% of respondents said they would feel better if they got more sleep and 49% said they experience daily stress .

The Oura Ring isn’t the only wearable being studied for its ability to detect stress. EnLiSense, a Texas-based medical sensor developer, recently announced the upcoming release of a wearable device called Corti that monitors stress and sleep hormones .

The Corti device measures cortisol and melatonin levels by analyzing small amounts of sweat on the skin. Cortisol and melatonin are hormones involved in both stress and sleep, and their levels fluctuate throughout the day. By collecting and sharing information about these fluctuations, the Corti wearable may be able to help people pinpoint how their lifestyle choices affect their sleep, stress levels, and overall wellness.

Although the ability to use wearables to monitor stress is still in the early development stages, researchers think the technology holds great promise. With time, wearables may help people use sleep and stress monitoring to better manage both mental and physical illnesses .

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5 Sources

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  2. Becker, S. P., Jarrett, M. A., Luebbe, A. M., Garner, A. A., Burns, G. L., & Kofler, M. J. (2018). Sleep in a large, multi-university sample of college students: Sleep problem prevalence, sex differences, and mental health correlates. Sleep Health, 4(2), 174–181.

  3. Fioroni, S., & Foy, D. (2024, April 15). Americans sleeping less, more stressed. Gallup Inc.

  4. Murray, L. (2024, April 5). North Texas’ EnLiSense to launch Corti health wearables for stress and sleep hormone monitoring. Dallas Innovates.

  5. Pali, M., Jagannath, B., Lin, K., Upasham, S., Sankhalab, D., Upashama, S., Muthukumar, S., & Prasad, S. (2021). CATCH (Cortisol Apta WATCH): ‘Bio-mimic alarm’ to track anxiety, stress, immunity in human sweat. Electrochimica Acta, 390(10), 138834.


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