• Adam Tilton

Oura Ring: Review

I purchased the Oura Ring in January as part of my recent Am I Healthy? experiment to track my sleep, and because I was curious about load management. I don’t like sleeping with my Apple Watch (and I charge it at night), so that wasn’t an option. I considered the Withings sleep tracking mat, too, but sometimes I sleep in my office and didn’t want to buy two. I’d heard good things about Oura’s sleep and readiness tracking and thought it was an interesting form factor, so I decided to give it a try. I haven’t woken up after a good night’s sleep that Oura said was bad, and I’ve had a few occasions where I slept poorly and Oura agreed. Usually I know how I slept though because I was there for it, and so far Oura’s analysis of each night’s sleep has been roughly on track with my own judgment. My average sleep is 6h 22m, which Oura classifies as “good” not “great,” and the recommendations from Oura to improve my sleep are to nap and avoid caffeine in the afternoon. I don’t nap, and I never drink caffeine after 2pm because I’m not a psychopath. Oura also suggests I go to bed between 8:30 and 10pm, which I do, and I wake up naturally without an alarm. I think what I’ve learned is I don’t need as much sleep as Oura believes I do, and things are good for me the way they are.

The readiness score, which tries to offer insight into how ready you are for the day, has correlated with how I’ve felt. When Oura judges my sleep as “good” my readiness is high, and otherwise my readiness is “pay attention” (Oura lingo for not good). My activity has been consistently “optimal,” and so has been my recovery, which indicates I don’t work out too much. Risk averted! Oura and I generally agree that I’m usually “ready.” Saying that, I don’t know if I trust the readiness score, and I’m not sure how to test it other than to intentionally try to do something that I know would make me feel bad, and see if Oura agrees that I should feel bad. I’m not drinking right now, and am curious to see where my readiness score lands the day after drinking. Exciting times ahead for me!

Looking at the raw data, the numbers for my resting heart rate and heart rate variability (HRV) during sleep are 50bpm and 37ms. According to the Apple Watch, they are 62bpm and 41, so rough agreement there. Oura also tracks my body temperature, which it is reporting as “optimal.” This is interesting, and I look forward to seeing how this is affected the next time I’m not feeling well with a fever. It’s also been interesting to see how I spend time in various sleep stages:

I initially dismissed the ring as a form factor, and indeed it’s just big enough to cause discomfort after a long time wearing it. If it were slimmer I could see myself adopting it long term. It’s also slippery when wet, and moves around a lot while doing something like dishes. I don’t like how frequently I feel like I need to take it off. It has been a conversation starter, though, since it’s hard to miss and looks just a bit unusual from other rings, like a wedding band.

In terms of behavior changes, the Oura hasn’t led to many. I’m not any more or less thoughtful about sleep. I go to bed at about the same time every night. I still wake up between 4:30 and 5:30 AM, and feel ready to go. I don’t need an alarm unless I absolutely need to be up for something before 5 AM. I already discovered caffeine in the afternoon impacts my sleep, and I also don’t eat after 7pm (another Oura recommendation). I haven’t learned anything more about my heart than the Apple Watch already tells me and it hasn’t had an impact on my exercise routines either.

Saying that, I now have better sleep data than I used to, and I look forward to seeing the long-term trend data. I wish I had data from before and after moving on from alcohol. We’re also expecting a baby in March, so that will be an interesting time period to watch the trends change. I also look forward to seeing what kinds of changes it detects at the onset of my next cold. I imagine if someone were having sleep issues the data might lead to more significant lifestyle changes. The Rating I devised a 1 - 5 rating system for the wearables products I’m currently using (I plan to review more soon). They are categorical, i.e. there is no 3.5 rating. 1: This device is bad and I don’t recommend anyone use it. 2: This device does not satisfy its primary purpose. 3: The device does what it says on the box. 4: The device provides more than I was expecting. 5: This device will literally change your fucking life.

Oura is a 3.

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