The popularity of apps and wearable tech that monitor our sleep activity has rocketed in recent years. But with so much choice out there it takes some good old research to seek out the best and avoid the rest! After doing my (Co-Founder Jeff’s) homework (and combing through reviews!) I decided to test drive an Oura ring sleep tracking device and have been using it for almost a year now. Read on to find out more about my experience so far and what I would recommend for anyone looking to track and improve their sleep!
What’s the Deal with Sleep and Activity Trackers?
We’ve all heard of wearable technology and apps designed to monitor, track and give us feedback on our sleep activity – but are they necessary? In my opinion, yes!
It’s possible to have a good night’s sleep or a great workout without knowing the exact miles, minutes and ins and outs of each! But knowing exactly what’s going on in your body can help you to reflect on each and encourage more healthy habits.
Understanding your body gives you scope to change your lifestyle and adapt your biology, something known as biohacking. Simply put, by analysing your sleep patterns and learning how they work you can adjust your sleep and learn some healthy habits that will maximise your rest and rejuvenation each night.
Here’s just some of the amazing benefits of improving your sleep:
- Increase athletic performance and stamina
- Boost energy levels
- Improve concentration, focus and mental clarity
- Maximise rejuvenation to promote health and prevent disease
What is a Smart Ring?
Unlike many techno gadgets which are given quite ambiguous and even outrageous names, the Oura smart ring is in fact a smart ring! It’s a ring in a jewellery sense and smart due to its amazing functionality. You wear it on your finger both day and night and it constantly gathers data on your heart rate, motion, temperature, pulse, respiratory rate and – of course – sleep patterns!
It monitors multiple bodily functions simultaneously to gather data on your daily activity and sleep and collates this to provide user-friendly data via an app. This gives you feedback, advising on what changes you could make to improve your sleep in both quantity and quality.
Five Reasons I Chose Oura…
With so many sleep tracking devices available on the market, it can be hard to choose which is the best for you. Here’s a few reasons why I chose the Oura Ring:
When it comes to wearable tech it is often debatable just how wearable some gadgets are! But gone are the days of strapping on a lace-up helmet and hooking your body to a machine by some sort of extra-terrestrial sensor pads to monitor your sleep. The Oura ring is small, light, unobtrusive and quite frankly unnoticeable compared with other wedding bands! It’s battery and sensors are encased in a regular-sized ring shell that’s smart and sleek in design.
Low EMF Output
If EMF = WTF then bear with me! EMF stands for electromagnetic field, something which wireless devices emit and which many consider to be bad for our health. Compared with other sleep trackers and wearables, the Oura Ring has a low EMF output – especially in airplane mode. Whilst there is little evidence that low EMF exposure is directly linked with adverse health effects, it is strongly recommended that we avoid heavy exposure to EMF.
Awesome Battery Life
The Oura Ring charges wirelessly – and quickly! It comes with a charger pad which fuels your device with an amazing full week of battery life per charge, with a full charge taking only one hour. Because the ring tracks your activity and sleep 24/7, you’re likely going to benefit from the ad-hoc wireless and fast charging, boosting your battery now and then when you’re in the shower or cooking, rather than parting from it overnight when you need it most!
The Oura Ring comes with app and cloud functionality that make it both interactive and actionable. The ring is in constant communication with these and as a result provides insight into multiple aspects of your health and fitness. Pictorial representations, notifications, detailed data and the ability to add your own notes and comments make the app and cloud platforms both engaging and empowering!
Superior Sleep Tracking
Everything else aside, the Oura really does what it says on the ring! It gives you bedtime guidance that will help to optimise your sleep, measures quality of sleep, monitors stages of sleep and gathers data on sleep trends. When these results are combined you get an amazing insight into how you sleep and will take great pleasure in finding out how this improves as you learn to adjust to a sleep-promoting lifestyle!
As with all things in life, there will always be an option that’s more suitable for one person than it is for another, but when it comes to tracking sleep activity I really think that the Oura Ring has everything covered. Sure, the price may be premium but in return you’re getting a sound investment in your health – and as the saying goes, you get what you pay for!
It felt quite strange wearing a ring at first as I am not such a fan of jewellery – I soon go used to it and also liked how it can be used as a conversation starter. I’ve got quite small hands for a guy (my feet are not so small however!) and it did feel reasonably large at first. I always feel more comfortable taking it off when lifting bars and playing on suspended gymnast rings etc. I think this might be primarily due to my smaller hands though!
My 5 Take Homes
- Keeping it charged is paramount as it sucks when you run out of battery and miss a night. It would be great if a notification existed that told you when the battery was getting low.
- The App and Browser offer some really cool insights that you can track over time. Being able to see long terms trends is arguably the most important aspect of a tracker such as the Oura ring
- It gives accountability and highlights sub-standard sleep opportunity. For instance, I always thought I was getting a good 8 hours sleep until I actually see the hard data and realised it was closer to 7 hours. This allowed me to adjust accordingly!
- It’s not 100% accurate in terms sleep stages as discussed by many leading sleep experts, however it is an awesome directional tool that should be part of your arsenal of weapons when embarking on improving your sleep.
A Word for the Wise…
Whilst I’m a huge fan of the Oura Ring, I thought it necessary to make it clear that sleep tracking devices aren’t needed to get a good night’s sleep! I consider the Oura a privilege and an amazing tool to help me live as healthy a lifestyle as possible. But some people won’t wish to track their sleep at all or may even find that doing so makes them lose sleep! Fixating over and analysing sleep could have a negative effect on your ability to switch off, so if using a tracking app keeps you awake at night check out our Guide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep, without apps and tech!
Oh, and make sure you’re not staring at your screen before you go to bed assessing your data – this kind of defeats the object of getting good sleep! I’d also advise against looking at your phone and App as the first thing you do in the morning. In my opinion, this can lead to compulsive behaviour and a poor sleep score could negatively affect your outlook on the day ahead.
Ou’ Do I Get One?!
The reputation of the Oura rings precedes itself and their ever-growing popularity, paired with intricate design, means that there’s a bit of a wait between ordering and delivery. The guys at Oura can have your smart ring with you in around 3-4 weeks following your order; you know what they say – good things come to those who wait!