How My Sleep Tracker Told Me I Had COVID

Something I never thought I would use a sleep tracker for!

Let me start off with some background – and a disclaimer!

Yes – I got covid – my entire household got it. Thankfully we had mild cases – and my kids were completely asymptomatic. We have done all the required contact tracing and quarantine.

No – I have no idea how we got it – we have been incredibly careful, always wear our masks and washing hands. We had no known confirmed contacts but somehow contracted it anyway. At this point I don’t think we will ever really know.

I am in no way suggesting you rely on a sleep tracker to diagnose yourself with covid or any other illness, but it was very helpful to me to have this tool.

September 2019 to December 2020

After researching a review of sleep trackers for Food Network in 2019, I have been using the Oura Ring. I wear it daily and use the corresponding app to track my sleep habits and activity. The ring’s analytics uses this data to calculate a daily “readiness” score (out of 100) that measures how well equipped I am to tackle the day ahead.  

I have logged over a year of data so had very established baselines for my sleep habits, sleep cycles and normal ranges for body temperature, respiratory rate and heat rate. As a busy working mother of 3 in a global pandemic, I don’t get as much sleep as I would like but I do but I exercise regularly (for my sanity) and usually have a readiness score in the mid to high 80s – today my score was actually 91, which according to the Oura scale is “optimal.” ….yes, patting myself on the back … tee, hee.

On a Sunday morning in early December I awoke like any other morning. When I synced my ring for the night’s results, I was rather surprised to see a readiness score of 65 ….

In true “me” fashion, I dismissed this as a fluke – I was “fine” – I wasn’t feeling sick, I checked my temperature with a thermometer and it was 99.1 – not a fever. I had a beer and dinner rather late the night before which can impact readiness  – I went about my day. Sunday is my typical day off from exercise so didn’t push it but rested more than usual and went to bed early.

Monday morning was worse ….

Now I wasn’t feeling so great. I felt tired and achy and had a headache. I took a closer look at my app and found that my respiratory rate, heart rate and body temp were all elevated. I didn’t feel this – was not short of breath, no awareness of my heart racing  – and still did not have a fever – 99.4F – but I did start to worry.  I reluctantly decided to get a covid test. In the days that followed, my scores and vitals improved. Readiness returned to the high 80s, but on Wednesday my test came back positive! I. WAS. SHOCKED. By Wednesday night I felt pretty horrible – and I’d rather not get into the next 10+ days of quarantine.

Overall my case has been mild – and thankfully, I feel like myself again. Easing back to activity and praying for my sense of smell and taste to return! My readiness scores have been good and I have been getting plenty of sleep 🙂

My main takeaway – trackers and tools like this, when used correctly and consistently can truly help monitor your health – and benefit you in both expected and unexpected ways.

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