I’ve mentioned a few times on the ‘gram that I’ve had a crap time sleeping recently. Well, that’s not entirely accurate. I’ve slept. Upwards of ten hours at a time, at times. What I didn’t get much of is rest. I’d often wake after a long night of sleep feeling groggy and not rested, with no energy for the day ahead, and especially not for sport. So when I discovered a wearable sleep tracker ring that could help me pinpoint what I was doing wrong and help me fix it, I was all over it. Enter my Oura Ring review.
I’m sure many people can relate to this. I need a ton of physical activity to sleep well, but I also need a ton of sleep to have the energy for said physical activity. Not sleeping well leads to not exercising, which leads to not sleeping well, which leads to… you get the point. It’s a total Catch 22. So saying that my hopes were high for the Oura sleep monitor to help me find out what was wrong with my sleep is a bit of an understatement.
Were my unrestful sleep nights more impacted by my lack of exercising or was I doing more harm than good by exercising while running on empties? I was about to hopefully find out.
The Oura Smart Ring Features
I’ll start my Oura ring review by saying it is gorgeous. It’s a little thicker than most rings, but I’ve always been one to wear one bold yet minimalist piece of jewellery, and my Oura ring is exactly that. It’s available in three colours (and if you’re really cray, also available with a diamond) and two shapes. I have the Silver Heritage one.
The Oura ring is made of titanium and carbon coating and is hypoallergenic and waterproof. The seamless inner moulding includes infrared optical pulse measurement, a 3D accelerometer, a gyroscope and a body temperature sensor. The battery lasts up to a week and takes only 20 minutes to recharge wirelessly.
Oura connects and syncs to mobile devices via Bluetooth, and can store data for up to six weeks. Things that are tracked in the Oura app include sleep stages (deep, light, and REM), bedtime, resting heart rate, total time in bed, total time asleep, as well as sleep efficiency.
The Oura App
The Oura ring app has a sleek design and does a great job at making the very many metrics digestible and understandable in the form of “Readiness Score” which makes interpreting the data a breeze. Readiness refers to a calculation of all your stats from the previous day and night taking into account how active you were and how restful your sleep was, on a scale of 100. Based on that, the welcome screen will make a recommendation to rest or go all out for that day and lead to more in-depth graphs.
Digging a little further inside the app allows seeing where there could have been issues on the previous day and night. I, for example, often have a very low Recovery Index. The Recovery Index score refers to how long it takes for your heart rate to drop and stabilise during the night. The longer it takes for your heart to drop to its resting rate, the less restorative the night will be. Alcohol, a heavy meal before bed, or late exercise speed up the body’s metabolism and keep the heart rate elevated, which delays recovery and increases sleep needs. I’m kind of guilty of a few things here.
Through repeated use, the Oura app will aggregate data and start making precise recommendations about optimal bedtime and what could be a good level of activity for that day.
Oura Ring Review: The best sleep tracker?
So I’ll begin by saying this: the Oura sleep Ring looks fantastic and I love wearing it, even outside of what it does for me. I would have no problem wearing it even if it wasn’t tracking my snooze.
Bear in mind though, Oura is not a fitness tracker. Sure, its accelerometer is a good indicator of how active you are and is especially helpful if, like me, you like to eat or train late at night, or enjoy a late glass of wine once in a while. But for athletes or very active people, it might not be fully accurate.
That said, my Oura ring helped me realised one thing that’s likely had a huge effect on my sleep quality, and that is the Recovery Index. And so, as strange as that might sound, I’ve now stopped eating dinner. If I’m hungry, I’ll have a cup of vegetable broth, but I actually rarely am, because I snack and eat so much throughout the day. Maybe that’s some kind of intermittent fasting?
All in all, I will say this: being more mindful, listening to myself, a very silly pair of blue-light blocking glasses recommended by the Internets, and being extra aware of the importance of good sleep via monitoring it with my Oura ring, all have made me catch some amazing sleep recently, and that’s pretty sweet.