Oliver Schmid Owl Logo

One Month With The Oura Ring

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I’ve been using the new Oura ring sleep tracker for a little over a month now. It’s exactly the kind of wearable I’m a fan of: invisible, reliable, and focused. It looks like any normal ring, it’s tough and its battery lasts a week, and (unlike other devices) it isn’t a distraction because it only tries to do one thing: measure your recovery.

The ring data seems pretty reliable and the fact that it summarizes all the different measurements into 3 daily scores (Sleep, Readiness, and Activity) is handy. I try to assess how rested I feel each day before checking the app and the app does seem to give better scores on days I feel better and worse scores on days I feel worse.

The ring has also pointed out a couple areas I could work on to improve my sleep. I plan on tracking these measures over time to see if I can get them up.

While activity tracking isn’t a huge focus for Oura, I like the fact that the goal changes each day depending on my Readiness score. On days when I’m not rested, the number of active calories it sets as my goal is lower than on days when I am rested. This makes more sense than an inflexible “10,000 steps a day – every day” type of goal.

The one technical issue I’ve run into is that the Android app sometimes can’t find the ring. This only seems to happen if I have the app open earlier in the day but then keep it open in the background for a while. Closing and restarting the app fixes it though.

Along with the app, Oura also has an online platform called Oura Cloud that lets you do more fine-tuned analysis of your data. For instance, you can compare your Bedtime Start with your total Deep Sleep Time for each night to see if something jumps out.

The problem with Oura Cloud though, is that none of the notes or activities manually tagged in the app are available for comparison. So I can’t use it to see for instance, how much of an effect taking melatonin might have on my sleep.

I’ve emailed Oura about this, and they say they are planning to make notes and activities available in Oura Cloud, but they didn't specify a timeline. Hopefully they can release that feature soon though because there isn’t even a way to bulk export notes and activities through the Oura API.

Overall I’m pretty happy with the Oura ring and plan to keep using it to improve my sleep. That’s it for the review portion of this post.

User Guide

These are some useful bits of information I’ve looked up and wanted to write down in one place.

How tough is it?

It’s made of titanium with a DLC or PVC coating and waterproof to at least 100m. That’s good enough to take it on most recreational dives!

The Oura ring is also hardy enough to operate in anything from an ice bath to a hot sauna (-10°C – 54°C). This stands to reason: the ring was made in Finland after all. (It also handles hot tubs and hot yoga without a problem.)

How about the battery?

The LiPo battery has between 15mAh – 22mAh (depending on your ring size: US6 – US13). It is recommended to charge the battery to 100% as often as possible.

How much EMF output does it give?

The SAR (specific absorption rate) level allowed for a device like the Oura ring is 2.0W/kg for the head and body. The Oura ring’s SAR level is 0.0003W/kg. The light emitted by the sensors is also in the infra-red band, something known to be healthy rather than harmful.

There’s also an airplane mode if you’re really worried about EMF emission. Though the ring emits only about 1mW while some cellphones peak out at about 1000mW.

How does the 3 crown scoring system work?

The Oura ring gives you a crown if you score over 85% in Sleep, Readiness, Activity. In the calendar view of the app, the 3 crowns are shown top down in that same order: Sleep at the top, Readiness in the middle, and Activity at the bottom.

Sleep scores are based on data from your last night’s sleep. Readiness and Activity are both based on data from several days.

How do I find my ideal bedtime?

After the few weeks that it needs to learn your habits, the Oura app starts showing a window of time when it suggests you go to bed. This is the window of time when you seem to score the best sleep. Stick to this bedtime as much as possible for improved sleep.

There are other many other factors that can affect sleep. Consider:

Oura is involved in a sleep study of hunter–gatherers. Hopefully when that study is published there will be even more interesting tips for getting better sleep.