Jun 27, 2020
Exceptionally Accurate Sleep Tracker
What It Is
Oura ring is a ring format sleep tracker developed by a Finnish company. It does not feel intrusive when worn to sleep. It feels just like wearing an ordinary ring. I have used a couple of sleep trackers in the past, but this is hands down the best sleep tracker I have ever used, and extremely accurate.
It comes with two styles: Balance, and Heritage. Balance shape is slightly pointy at the top, while Heritage has a flattened surface at the top. There is no difference in functionality. There are 3 different colors to choose from, Silver, Black, and Stealth (more expensive). The ring looks really gorgeous.
Oura ring tracks the following and computes the scores every day:
Sleep: sleep stages, sleep latency, restfulness, bedtime, wake-up time, time in bed, total sleep time. Every morning, you are presented with the graph of your sleep. You can determine if you wake up frequently at night, and what causes so.
Readiness: resting heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV), body temperature, respiratory rate. It should be noted that HRV and resting heart rate tracking are not turned on 24/7. They are only measured when you sleep or when you activate moment mode. This mode provides a guided or non-guided meditation session, and measure HRV and resting heart rate when your meditation exceeds a certain duration and your finger (with the ring on) stays still to allow the measurement to take place.
Activity: daily movement, total calorie burn, steps count, walking equivalency (in km), inactivity, training frequency, training volume, recovery time, workout. The ring automatically detects running/jogging exercise, and its intensity. Other than this exercise, you will have to manually input your exercise and define the intensity for it to calculate the total calorie burn.
Once a week, the app sends you your weekly report and shows your trend based on the recorded data:
Is your HRV improving overtime?
Do you shift your sleeping hour to be later?
Is your resting heart rate going upward? And you are in the pit of over-training?
Is your wake-up hour getting later and later?
All these provide valuable input for you to adjust your sleep and exercise.
Look at the sheer number of useful metrics it collects, and they are depicted in beautiful graphs.
How to Use
It is recommended to wear the ring either on the index finger, or middle finger, or ring finger for higher accuracy. Before deciding which finger to wear it on, you should try the sizing kit that comes with the purchase. Try to wear it on different hands for several days, and note down how you feel wearing it at different fingers. If you want to wear it every day, you need it to be comfortable on your finger. Pay attention to the dominant finger(s) that may:
Cause the ring to scratch on the doorknob when opening/closing a door; or
Make you feel uncomfortable doing certain activity in your daily routine; or
Cause discomfort to the neighboring fingers when you grab something.
The ring itself is scratch-resistant, but you certainly want to protect it from abuse.
The ring connects to a mobile app (Android and iOS are supported) via Bluetooth. The battery can last for about 1 week, but you have an option to turn on airplane mode which could last longer. Switch off the airplane mode requires that you put the ring in the charging dock.
Oura ring also allows you to add comments to your day so that you can review back what could cause your bad sleep.
You can view your collected data through Oura ring website or from the phone app, but it must not be in an airplane mode.
With the current looming situation of COVID-19, Oura ring proves to be able to predict the symptoms earlier with over 90% accuracy. You can view a success story here. It is a life saver.
How I Use It
Oura advises that in order to get a more accurate scoring, it should be worn at all times. For example, in order to accurately compute your activity score, it will need to measure all your activities throughout the day, including how many steps do you do, and what exact exercise do you do.
I have worn the ring for more than a year now. As I don’t use the Activity scoring to determine my workout regime, I have stopped wearing it at day and stopped inputting the exercise. I currently use Oura ring only when I go to sleep to primarily track the sleep, HRV, and resting heart rate. These 3 metrics are essential to:
Make adjustment to better quality sleep based on the sleep records.
Plan my workout around my HRV and resting heart rate. Oura ring determines your average HRV and resting heart rate. When you see your HRV is higher than your average and you had a good night's sleep the previous night, you are likely able to get a good workout. Surely, I will not get an accurate result of Readiness and Activity score since I don’t input them. However, I can still use HRV and resting heart rate to plan my workout.
What I Wish It Has
I’m sure Oura is continuously improving the product. This can be seen from the frequent firmware update release.
What I think will be very helpful for people who use this to adjust their sleeping schedule is to have the feature to trigger an alarm in the phone app when the wearer is at the lightest stage of sleep within the wake-up time windows.
The other feature I wish it has is the ability to measure heart rate and compute the calorie spent during the workout (other than jogging/running). That would save the trouble of guessing the intensity of the exercise to be input in the app. I will start wearing the ring at the daytime if Oura ring has this feature.
Do not expect wearing an Oura Ring will improve your sleep without doing anything else. No sleep tracker is able to. It only provides insight for you to determine where you could go wrong with your sleep, and you need to take the necessary actions to address them in order to improve your sleep. As a sleep tracker, Oura ring is excellent, but not as the activity tracker. There is a lot of data it collects, and they are really handy.