Research Library Data Insights

Data Insights

Do sleeping habits affect how effective Natural Cycles is?

Woman in bed with her arm over her face

Key takeaway: 

  • Natural Cycles is just as effective regardless of sleeping habits

Natural Cycles’ algorithm relies on temperature and menstruation data to analyze each user’s individual cycle and provide them with a daily fertility status — red (fertile) or green (not fertile). 

When used with a basal thermometer, we recommend measuring right when you wake up, at roughly the same time every day (within a window of ±2 hours), and after sleeping the same amount of time as usual. 

With this in mind, we wanted to know if sleeping habits affect the effectiveness of Natural Cycles as birth control. We asked Natural Cycles users about their usual sleeping pattern and analyzed the responses from 10,712 users. 

Around half of the users answered that they wake up the same time every day on workdays. The rest of the users were divided into those waking up several times every night, those who wake up the same time every day, shift workers, and those who wake up late and snooze.

We then calculated the effectiveness of Natural Cycles for each of these groups, to see if the effectiveness was impacted by the users’ sleeping habits. 

We founds that Natural Cycles’ effectiveness rate was consistent with previous studies for all of the groups (93% effective with typical use and 98% effective with perfect use). There was no significant difference in effectiveness between the groups based on their sleeping pattern.

Sticking to a regular sleeping and measuring schedule will likely result in more green days due to lower temperature variation, but the Natural Cycles algorithm will account for having an irregular sleep pattern by giving more red days to the user if this is affecting their temperature measurements, to ensure the app’s effectiveness.

This information can be helpful for those who have been unsure if Natural Cycles is a good fit for them because of their sleeping routine. While the effectiveness stays the same, sticking to a regular routine may give you a better experience with Natural Cycles and more green days. 

If you do struggle with your measuring routine, it is now possible to use Natural Cycles with an Oura Ring. When using Natural Cycles with an Oura Ring, you do not need to manually measure your basal temperature anymore as the ring will measure your temperature trend data while you sleep.