In December 2017 I ordered the 2nd gen Oura ring. It was an exciting moment and I was looking forward to it. Now, more than a year later the long wait was over. The initial excitement somewhat tempered down to a normal level, though.
In this article, I
First things first, here’s the video:
Wearables – Smart Ring
The oura ring falls into the category of wearables; to be precise it’s a smart ring. Like fitbit bracelets, smart watches and similar products, they give you certain features.
Smart rings, like the oura, are linked to your smartphone via an app. This app syncs the data gathered from the ring with your account (mobile app and desktop website).
Smart Ring – Oura
The oura ring is a tool. It lets your track many different things that go on in your body and let you pinpoint and tweak things and habits in your life to perform better, recover quicker and overall just feel better.
There are many different metrics the oura ring can track, like your resting heart rate, HRV, body temperature, movement (steps), overall activity level, breathing rates, but the most interesting and powerful data in my view is the ability to track and analyze your sleep.
The battery of the first generation oura ring was rather poor, but the new second-generation version battery lasts for 5-7 days, which makes it a very comfortable biohacking tool.
The oura ring is currently available in 4 different versions and many different sizes.
Initially, you had to be a very patient person until having your ring in the first place (I pre-ordered it and ended up waiting 11 months), it now usually only takes a couple of weeks to get your ring
Oura Ring – Sleep Tracking
Sleep tracking is a common feature nowadays. In some way or another it will track your sleep pattern, like when you go to bed or wake up, maybe even how much you moved during the night.
That’s interesting data, but there’s a lot more happening when you sleep and the oura ring is able to measure and analyze this for you – while you sleep.
The oura ring will gather data on the following points:
- Deep sleep
- REM (rapid-eye movement) sleep
- Resting heart rate (RHR)
- Heart rate variability (HRV)
- Sleep efficiency
- Sleep score
- Sleep stages
- Total bedtime
- Total sleep time
- Wake time
With all these metrics you can get feedback on how restorative your sleep actually was. This allows you to add some objective
After a few weeks of gathering data, the app can see trends and recommend you when to get to bed. By then it has also established your own baseline of sleep efficiency, deep and REM sleep, breathing rates, RHR, HRV and body temperature to let you know how well you’re doing compared to your own baseline.
What I like to do is to compare how I feel and then see how this compares to the data provided by the ring. Mixing both subjective and objective feelings into my own well-being scorecard.
One of the biggest sleep and recovery disruptors is stress (here’s how you can reduce it). Being in a stressed state short or long term can have a tremendously negative impact on your body.
These disruptors or stressful events are sometimes easy to identy. You had a car accident, your lost your wallet, you had a alcohol havy party night with your friends. This all is stress and definitely easy to identify.
These fight-flight-freeze moments can be much more subtle too. It could be timing of food, or even a specific food itself that is causing your body much more stress than you think. Shallow breathing patterns can cause a lot of stress too. The nearing project deadline, an annoying habit of a colleague are all factors that cause stress but aren’t that easy to spot.
The oura ring lets you at least help to figure out that something is off in your day.
Your HRV is one of the best indicators of stress. Low HRV usually means that your body is stressed and high HRV means that your body is in a good spot when it comes to coping with stress. While there is an overall baseline, these measurements are all relative to your own baseline. That said, your baseline isn’t set in stone. You can shift it upwards or downwards over time – just like you can change your health and fitness level.
The oura ring tracks your HRV during sleep and gives you feedback on it in the morning. If it was relatively low, you might end up with a cold. Or you just haven’t recovered from a hard workout yet and better do some meditation or yoga. If it’s high it might be a good day to push harder at your workout.
As I said above, the ring can also track your activity level. It can track your steps and give you an overall activity index. You can wear the ring for most sports, but as it might scratch easily or be in the way, you most likely won’t wear it during your workouts (especially strength training).
That’s why you can add activities in the app and let your ring know what your did, how long and with what intensity. This will be factored into your overall activity and will help you to make sense out of your morning data (like recoverability, HRV etc).
Now, the ring can do these things, but it isn’t a device that is meant to track exercise. It is not your typical fitness tracker and I wouldn’t recommend it for that.
I will add my own personal review of the second generation oura ring once I gathered some experience and data. Once that’s done, I’ll share it with you.