The Oura ring is a high-tech sleep tracking and activity tracking device that you can wear all day long or just when you sleep. The data syncs with an app on your phone. As Matthew Walker says in his book, Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams, “When sleep is abundant, minds flourish. When it is deficient, they don’t.”
My husband and I received rings as gifts a few months ago. I wasn’t interested in the ring initially, as I’ve never been into any fitness or sleep tracking gadgets. After a week of wearing the ring, I began to love it. My favorite reasons are listed in this blog.
What is in the Readiness Readings?
The ring tracks your daily Resting Heart Rate (RHR) and averages over time. An elevated RHR shows that your body may be under stress and that you didn’t get the quality of rest you may need. When this happens- the app encourages you to slow down and take it easy the next day. Food and alcohol late at night drive this number up for me.
Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Balance is used to show whether your body is stressed. A higher number is a better healthiness indicator and lets you know that your body is in recovery mode while a lower number may indicate too much stress is on your body. The Recovery index- the RHR plays a role in determining this as well. Ideally, your lowest RHR occurs midway through the night, allowing for an appropriate amount of recovery as your RHR gradually climbs back to a wakefulness level.
Body Temperature- when my body temp rises beyond my normal range, the ring encourages me to take it easy. It is a sign that my body is exhausted. Again, the slight elevation is a warning sign to slow down.
Sleep Balance – when this is red, I am not getting enough consistent sleep, and it’s time for me to get back on track.
What is in the Sleep Section?
Restfulness – I’ve learned that many factors go into achieving a restful night’s sleep. A cooler room, 68 degrees or less, and limited screen time seem to improve this number for me.
REM and Deep Sleep – It’s always interesting to see the trends here. More deep sleep happens earlier in the night. (another incentive to try to get to sleep earlier in the evening!)
Although there is an Activity section. I use it only rarely, and it tracks steps, periods of inactivity, etc. I like that the findings contribute to my overall readiness score when I use the ring during the day.
How Does the Oura Ring Holds Me Accountable?
“What gets measured gets improved” -Robin Sharma. What I love most about the Oura ring is that it holds me accountable. I’m starting to recognize trends- if I eat or drink too late at night – I see the changes in my scores. Maybe it’s the placebo theory, but I feel more rested and energetic when my scores are higher. It takes away that nagging thought in my mind: “I didn’t get enough sleep!!” It also is empowering. I recognize I actually can influence how much sleep I’m getting. By making slight adjustments, I can achieve my goal of a restful night’s sleep.
What Have I Learned From this Tracker?
Avoiding late-night heavy eating and alcohol helps keep my RHR lower and supports the number lowering earlier during sleep, allowing for a better recovery. Also, keeping the bedroom at 68 degrees decreases restlessness and improves my chance for restful sleep. If I have a bad night, I have to remember it’s not about just one night of sleep; it’s about patterns of sleeping over time. Small habitual changes in eating, drinking, and screen time can improve sleep quality and readiness levels. The Oura ring has helped me become aware of my trends and habits, which are worth its weight in gold.
Ps: Are you still in the throes of holiday prep? See these tips on how to find peace and joy while ramping up for the holiday season.