Remember when everyone started wearing things on their wrists to track their steps?
Then seeing them everywhere you went?
Well, it turns out that there are actually smart rings for that as well.
As far as tracking your sleep, most people don’t like the idea of a watch scratching up their face without them being aware of it while they sleep and having to explain themselves at work the next day.
Smart rings can be an effective alternative for tracking your sleep and activity levels.
What you track and measure improves. Tracking something like sleep is vital to heal from depression.
In this video and post I’ll go over my Oura ring review and tell you my honest opinion about it.
I emailed them to be able to give the site visitors a discount (and it supports me as well), so make sure to use the coupon code DOMDEP to get 10% off if you decide to order it.
Smart Ring Technology Versus Other Methods
The reason I chose not to get a Fitbit is because I wanted something that tracked my sleep more accurately and be able to wear something plain throughout the day that didn’t stick out.
Sleep is one of the biggest factors when it comes to fixing depression and that was my main focus. Anything else was more of an added bonus.
When it comes to the Fitbit, it is great with activity and fitness, but looking at it’s sleep function, it was far inferior to the Oura ring.
Fitbit has updated their product and they now track REM, light, and deep sleep using your heart rate and movement to best guess what stage you are in. For Fitbit users that works great.
I still prefer the Oura ring since it uses more than just heart rate and movement to calculate what stage you are in and also has all the other features I talk about below such as sleep latency, sleep timing, lowest resting heart rate, time to lowest resting heart rate, body temperature, etc.
The Oura Ring As a Sleep Tracking Device
This smart ring really shines when it comes to sleep and this is why I use it every single night.
It does this by tracking multiple variables of your sleep.
- The Oura ring tracks your total amount of sleep to make sure you are getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Most people don’t sleep through the night, so it tracks whether or not you kept waking up.
When Your Lowest Heart Rate Occurred In The Night
- I never knew that your resting heart rate at night was any indicator of your sleep quality, recovery, and overall health. Throughout the entire night, as you can see in the picture above, the smart ring meaures your heart rate. You can see in the picture above my lowest resting heart rate was 47 beats per minute and occurred at about 5:00am.
- If your lowest resting rate is high or occurs late at night, that can mean you need extra time to recover.
- The ring would alert me that my resting heart rate occurred late at night, which could mean I ate a meal too close to bedtime or that I need more time to rest.
Deep, Light, and REM Sleep
- The smart ring tracks how much deep sleep you get every night. This means your blood pressure drops, your heart and breathing rates become regular, and it’s useful to track for people recovering from exercise because it is the best phase of sleep for muscle growth and repair.
- It shows you how much REM sleep you got, which is usually associated with dreaming, working through memories, and learning. You want REM in order to feel good mentally. Usually 1.5 – 2 hours per night is ideal.
- Typically, a healthy person would have their awake time as low as possible (1-5%), REM to make up about 25% of your sleep, deep sleep around 15-20%, and light sleep about 50% of your night.
Sleep Latency and Sleep Timing
- Measuring sleep latency is something a smart ring can do more accurately than other trackers. It tracks how long it took you to fall asleep once your head hits the pillow. It will alert you in the morning if it took you too long to sleep, indicating you might have eaten too late. It will also notify you if you fell asleep too fast, meaning you could be sleep deprived.
- Sleep timing is a concept that I’m glad the smart ring taught me. Your optimal sleep is timed with the sun, since your body’s essential processes have a regular cycle. You want to have your midpoint of sleep fall between midnight and 3am, which is one of my problems that I am trying to correct thanks to the Oura ring.
How Does The Oura Ring Work?
Using smart ring technology, it measures different body signals that associate with different sleep stages, restfulness, patterns in blood volume pulse wave, pulse amplitude variation, resting heart rate, heart rate variation, and regularity of breathing.
It does this by having an optical sensor to track your heart rate, respiration and heart rate variability, an accelerometer to track movement and sleep, and your temperature to track sleep and activity levels.
How do we know that the smart ring technology actually works and tracks everything correctly?
In a Finnish study measuring the accuracy of smart rings, they found that in a sample of 14 healthy subjects, the Oura ring provided “unbiased and relevant data on sleep patterns”.
The one thing I don’t think the company communicates very well is how all this technology makes the ring unique. You don’t get that with other tracking devices.
Apps That Help You Sleep
A very popular app that people use to track their sleep is called Sleep Cycle.
There’s a lot of debate whether or not apps like this are really accurate.
Can putting your phone near your bed and having its microphone hear your movements really tell you how good your sleep is?
I put it to the test and Sleep Cycle was good for an overall sense of how my sleep was, but wasn’t the best (it’s alarm is great though). For example, if you are laying there really still (on both the vibrate or microphone mode), it will think that you are asleep, even though you might just have really bad insomnia and are holding still to try and fall asleep.
The Oura ring is able to track that by using more accurate measurement methods than just using either sound or vibration from your movement.
My Sleep Cycle data is sometimes very different than my Oura ring. The Oura ring also shows you actual time and percentages you spent in REM, light, and deep sleep as well as how long you were awake.
You can see that the data seems to align on the second picture, but in the first picture you will notice that Sleep Cycle thought I was in a coma from 1:00am – 5:30am when the smart ring was showing that I actually went through a couple cycles of sleep before waking up to face the day on less than 5 hours of sleep (it was a bad day).
Sleep Cycle is really cheap at just $1.00 and I still use it for my alarm clock since it is really gentle and I like how it gives you a wake up “window.” When the smart ring can do the same thing and wake you up with vibration, however, it will be game over for other apps.
“Readiness” and What It Tells You
Your readiness score will help you figure out which days may be more challenging for you to get through and which days you are ready for a big challenge. Anything above 85% means you are doing good.
This is measured by looking at your previous night’s sleep, your total sleep score over the last two weeks, how much activity you got the previous day, how much activity you’ve gotten over the last several days, your resting heart rate, how long it took your body to reach its lowest resting heart rate at night, and your body temperature.
A few times, it actually alerted me that my body temperature was elevated at night and that could mean I was coming down with a sickness. Sure enough, I had early signs of getting an infection and I was able to hurry and rest, take the proper steps, and stop it before it took over.
It’s weird, I had almost forgotten what I was getting out of the ring but the more I write about this smart ring the more I’m realizing how cool some of the features actually are. When I first got the ring I was obsessed with the data. After a while, I forgot to look at it more closely.
Oura Ring as a Heart Rate Ring and “Activity” Score
The “activity” section is my least favorite part of the ring, although it is still really useful.
The “activity” sections shows you how active you’ve been and if you have hit daily targets.
The Oura ring helps you hit your targets based on how old you are, your gender, and your “readiness” score.
When your “readiness” score drops too low, the Oura ring will lower your daily targets to compensate.
It does this by tracking your steps, measures your “activity burn,” and gives you an estimate for how many total calories you burnt.
I didn’t quite believe the ring could track my activity level properly. Surprisingly, the “calories burnt” section was accurate.
I tested it’s ability to calculate the calories I used in the day by using the ring and then getting a metabolic test at a facility. The ring was within with the range of calories the facility reported.
The ring also gives you a reminder on your phone when you’ve been sitting or sedentary for too long. This can be a great feature for people that work on the computer or sit a lot.
One disappointment I had with the ring is that it doesn’t measure your heart rate throughout the day, only at night.
There isn’t a real-time section so you can go running and get yourself in your optimal range.
It would be nice to have an option to turn heart rate monitoring on during the day so that you can test your heart rate during exercise or to use the heart rate method to diagnose food sensitivities.
Oura Ring Strengths
This smart ring is constantly updating and improving. I will frequently get a firmware update notification, update the ring, and then get new features and better measurements.
It really shines with it’s sleep tracking. After over a year of using the ring, I can say it is very accurate. When I am awake, it logs that I am awake. That doesn’t happen with iPhone or Android apps that I’ve used. After a really good night’s sleep, I’ll check my phone and it more often than not tells me I slept great. After a bad night’s sleep, I’ll unlock my iPhone and get a notification that I didn’t get very much REM.
The sleep tracking part alone is why I am confident in recommending it, since when you have depression, if you aren’t sleeping properly, you don’t have much hope in feeling better.
You can weight lift, train, and run with the ring very easily. It’s comfortable enough and doesn’t bother you. You can bring it in the sauna, since it was specifically built to withstand hot and cold temperatures. You can wear it while swimming, because it can withstand being submerged up to 50 meters underwater.
They partnered up with the Curious platform so you can run various tests on yourself and track the effects. This means you could try l-tryptophan for a few nights to see how it affects your deep and REM sleep instead of trying to guess solely based on how you feel.
The ring charges fast.
Oura Ring Weaknesses
The pictures on the site don’t quite show how big it is. This size can either be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your style.
When I lived in Dallas, Texas, it brought a lot of awkward attention. When I was an outside sales consultant, I had to take it off before going into people’s homes because they always thought it was weird. It looked like I was trying to wear a big expensive ring to show off that I was rich.
However, living in San Diego, nobody really noticed at all. In fact, if people asked about it and I started telling them about it, it would lead to a great conversation.
A few times I accidentally wore it during one of my videos I recorded for this website and people would comment on it as if I was rocking out with a big nice ring for no reason.
You can see in the picture that the ring looks considerably smaller on the left side, which is a picture from their official site. The right side is my hand. You can see that the ring takes up almost the entire section from where my finger begins from my hand to the first knuckle.
As you can see from the pictures off the internet, the first one is from Oura ring’s site, the second is a random picture of someone wearing it on the index finger, and the last picture shows a woman wearing all three models at once.
If you just look at the website, you might think that the ring is small, but in reality it is pretty big. Depending on who you are, it could either enhance your look or detract from it.
Another disadvantage is that it only records your heart rate at night. It would have been a great feature to be able to turn on heart rate monitoring during the day to test different things like food allergies or for exercise.
Battery life is a disadvantage. At first, one charge would last 3 days. Now that I’ve had it over a year, the charge drops to 50% or less just from one night. It would be nice to take it on a 3 day camping trip and not worry. After owning the ring for over a year, you won’t be able to do that as the battery life gets worse.
It is a bit pricy. It comes in at $299. That’s a bit high for some people, but for the person that is serious about tracking their health and making sure what they are doing is working, that isn’t much at all.
Oura Ring Review Conclusion
On the one end, I use it every single night. On the other end, I stopped wearing it during the daytime after the first year.
If you are looking for something to track your sleep, let you know about how you are recovering and give you insights on what’s working for you or not, the ring is for you. We all know that when brain fog comes in it can be hard to figure out what is working and what isn’t. The Oura ring allows you to do that.
It is a bit on the pricier side and the battery life isn’t the best, but that wasn’t too big of a deal for me since I charge it every night and I am willing to invest in my health and getting better.
That being said, I feel that when the smart ring integrates a vibrate function to wake you up when you are in a light sleep state, has better tracking for the daytime and allows heart rate monitoring during the day and becomes smaller, it will be an absolute no-brainer to purchase.
I emailed them to get my website visitors a special deal, so you can order through this link or use this coupon code to get a discount. Make sure to use the coupon code DOMDEP to get 10% off. You can visit their site here.
When you place an order, they first send you a kit with sample rings so you can wear it for a day or two to make sure it is the right fit and then you send in your size and they send you your ring.
Let me know if you’ve used the ring or if you have any questions below.