A review of the Oura Ring

Posted by Dr. Michael White, Updated on October 8th, 2023
Reading Time: 4 minutes

A review of the Oura Ring

   Sleep is something that, for many people, is not a high priority. It seems like there is always something else to do besides get to bed early. Between television, the Internet, late eating, and a host of other distractions, lack of sleep is becoming an epidemic.

Why this is a problem

  Consider this. At first thought, sleep does not seem to have any evolutionary purpose. When we sleep, we are vulnerable. In prehistoric times, nocturnal predators posed a significant risk, and in modern times we are ever bit as vulnerable to hazards like burglars and fires.

Also, sleep appears to be a non-productive waste of time. While we are asleep, we can’t read, clean the house, exercise, make money, have sex, enjoy our favorite entertainment, partake in our hobbies, and socialize with our friends.

Yet despite all of these negatives, sleep remains a vital necessity for several reasons. Let’s take a look at what happens when we are sleep-deprived:

  • A weakened immune system
  • Impaired memory
  • Difficulty in thinking and concentrating
  • A lack of energy
  • Weight gain leading to obesity
  • More accident prone
  • Moodiness
  • Depleted libido
  • Increased risk of diabetes
  • Poor balance and coordination
  • High blood pressure and more strain on the heart

A nasty parade of consequences, for sure. But despite these grim statistics, there are many people who are chronically sleep-deprived. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 7 hours of sleep for adults, but their 2020 sleep study found that adults in the U.S. reported short sleep duration at rates between 29.3% and 43.8 %.

To help get to sleep, insomnia sufferers have turned to prescription sleeping pills, sleep-inducing supplements, black curtains, white noise, room and blanket coolers, and other methods. Some of these approaches have helped, but few have solved the problem long-term.

But there is a new kid on the block

Getting a failing report card shocks some people into hitting the books harder. Returning to the gym after a long layoff delivers a brutal reality check and motivates them to get back in shape.

But what about sleep? Even if we get the recommended amount of 7 hours, how can we measure our sleep quality?

Enter the Oura Ring

In recent years, wearable devices to monitor our 24/7 heart rate, resting heart rate, body temperature, the number of steps taken daily, Vo2 Max, blood oxygen level, and sleep stages have exploded in popularity.

The downside for some folks is that these devices are usually watches, and many are unwilling to exchange their Rolex for a more mundane-looking watch regardless of its health-tracking benefits.

For them, a ring is less noticeable. You can still wear your expensive watch and monitor what’s happening under the hood – especially sleep.

The benefits of the Oura Ring:

  • Unobtrusive
  • A long-lasting battery charge
  • A smooth working app
  • The most comprehensive sleep tracking available
  • The price of the most inexpensive Oura Ring is $299, which is not unreasonable.

The downside of the Oura Ring:

  • A continuing membership expense
  • Less overall fitness tracking than wearable watches

The Oura Ring tracks blood oxygen levels, heart rate, activity tracking (cardio), body temperature, and sleep...several aspects of sleep: sleep stages, naps, light sleep, REM sleep, deep sleep, oxygen saturation, breathing regularity, and total sleeping hours.

The ring uses infrared LED lights to radiate the user's skin and send feedback to proprietary algorithms to monitor the internal body operations.

The good news is that the Oura Ring does not expect users to have a grasp of the medical terms and complexities of sleep. It adds up all of the sleep metrics and delivers a sleep score using a scale of 0-100. anything under 70 is bad, 70 – 84 is good, and 85 – 100 is super.

This feature not only gives immediate feedback but it encourages better sleep hygiene, and the user can see the consequences of staying up that extra hour to get caught up with emails or watching that late-night show. The Oura Ring is indeed a sleep report card!

The battery stays charged for an average of 6 days, which is a definite plus.

As mentioned earlier, one of the downsides of the Oura ring is it is not ideal for fitness monitoring. The reason is apparent. If you are wearing a fitness-monitoring watch, just a quick glance at it after an intense cardio session will give you immediate feedback.

The Oura Ring has no screen, so this means grab your phone, clicking on the app, and get your feedback. Also, when grabbing a barbell, the ring is a definite hindrance.

Another downside is the membership fee. The first six months are free, and the price is a monthly charge of $6.00. Granted, $6.00 a month is not the end of the world. But it is another nagging fee that adds up.

Considering the crucial importance of sleep, the Oura Ring is certainly worth considering to add to your health-promoting toolbox.




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