Like most lovers of tech, there was a tweak of excitement to hear my Oura ring was onboard for delivery. It had, after all, been a nine-month pre-order for the first release of the Gen 2 sleep tracker. In the meantime, it received the coveted Red Dot Product Design Award in the Jewellery Category.
Minimal, refined wellness tech. Is it “the world’s most advanced wearable” it claims to be?
Recording activity and sleep data from day one, it progressively builds an understanding of the wearer’s cycles so it can optimise daily readiness readings and sleep alerts based on unique patterns.
The first sleep contributor I look for after syncing to the app each morning is how much deep sleep was recorded. The remaining sleep contributors are also insightful, however, the best data is only as helpful as the person putting it to good use.
I’m transparently sharing my early results so you can see how this data can be most useful. To be honest, there were a couple of surprises. Looking at the key learnings shared below, Oura does its job of guiding us to look at deficits in sleep, which enables us to correct our health – a job well done.
First, let’s look at what I find to be the most useful combinations of sleep data from Oura, in addition to the breakdown of awake, light, REM and deep sleep stages:
RHR: Resting Heart Rate
Night-time RHR is one of the most common indicators of recovery.
Typically a lower average RHR indicates good cardiovascular fitness and efficient heart function.
HRV: Heart Rate Variability
Shows how your body recovers from stress and fatigue, showing autonomic nervous system function.
Typically a higher HRV indicates better health and fitness, whilst over-training impacts HRV.
Indicates your immune system health and environmental stressors, inflammation and menstrual cycle stages.
My results showed that while RHR was low (a ‘good’ thing, and somewhat predictable given my overall state of health, lifestyle choices and years of daily meditation), HRV was also relatively low (not such a ‘good’ thing and unexpected for my level of activity and years of daily meditation). Along with low HRV, deep sleep scores were low. These two factors were a concern, given I advocate that quality sleep is the single most important starting point for health and well-being.
I soon connected the dots that the low HRV and deep sleep correlated to tightness in my hips. The physical tension was disturbing sleep and stress levels remained elevated. It could also be questioned whether heightened stress during that period was increasing muscle tension, contributing to a pattern. Whichever way it started, it was time to break the cycle.
With that data, I was able to holistically reassess daily movement and exercise, nutrition including increasing anti-inflammatory foods, meditation, relaxation, and self-care to address the hip tightness, reduce stress and course correct my sleep.
It’s fair to say, as a sleep tracker the ROI has already been invaluable.
- Accurate sleep tracking.
- Enables data to be incorporated into a practical range of health and wellbeing analytics.
- Exceptional design aesthetically and technically.
- Collects up to 6 weeks of data
- In aeroplane mode and standard Bluetooth activity is low, minimising EMF exposure like no other tracker on the market.
- Customised alerts on inactivity/sedentary daytime periods and ideal bedtime based on your circadian rhythms.
- *On-demand RHR and HRV coming later this year – I believe this will be a game changer for Oura wearers wanting to see the real-time health benefits of meditation and breathing exercises.
- The pre-order time frames can be lengthy, depending on which country you’re in.
- (Pro to that Con: Use the time to practice your meditation skills which will enhance your sleep).
- You can add tags to your daily records on the app, however, it would be helpful if this could be included in the online dashboard data so that lifestyle factors can be more accurately analysed.
- There is considerable talk about Oura’s shortfalls in activity tracking. However, whilst the wearable does track activity to a certain level, that was not the intention of Oura’s design – it was designed and performs as a leading sleep tracker.
More About Amber Ward
Amber Ward is a mentor whose superpower is matching people’s energy with their mission. Working with high-calibre creatives, innovators and entrepreneurs, she draws upon new technologies and ancient wisdom sharing the art and science of understanding your energetic intelligence. In her practice, Life UnLtd she guides people to integrate proven tools in the day-to-day through the framework of her Optimised Self program.