Oura ring, worth using?

Hi all,
I’m thinking of getting an oura ring, but I have a fair amount of doubt that it will help my sleep. It promises to provide advice to help one sleep better, but all the advice I’ve seen (& tried) is very much the same. It isn’t obvious to me that the oura ring can add anything.

Has anyone tried it (or know someone who has) & if so, what was your take on its usefulness?

Thanks, Beth

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I use an Oura ring. For $300 plus $5/month it’s a super value. It won’t fix anything and you shouldn’t even look at the sleep stages because it’s all guesses. But I use it for sleep time, SpO2, breathing rate (estimated)…and I try not to look at anything else to save my sanity.

I use a fitbit. I would not say that any one system is particularly better than another. I find it useful to have a vaguely objective measure of how much I am sleeping. That enables me to track what interventions improve sleep.

During the night I use the (sleep tracker) to track sleep cycles. As part of my experimentation I have discovered that if I wake after a good sleep during the night (at least 4 hours, potentially 6) and have run out of endogenous melatonin, I will be in a sympathetic state for one cycle. The cycles last between 80 and 100 minutes so I accept I will be awake for an hour and a half and I time taking melatonin to hit the start of the next cycle. Last night, for example, I got about 4 1/2 hours of sleep naturally and then an additional about 2 1/2 hours of sleep through the use of melatonin giving me almost 7 hours actually asleep. I look at the fitbit (sleep tracker) to work out when exactly I woke up and then start melatonin use about 1 hours after that with a bolus dose about 1 1/2 hours after that.

Melatonin has a short half life in serum (about 30 mins) so if you take it immediately on waking it actually causes the next sleep cycle to be sympathetic rather than parasympathetic.

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I use Apple Watch app to track my sleep. It shows duration, stages, breathing, heart rate (mine is always below 40 at night). I sleep without problems 8 hours. Last night it was 9.5 h. In winter I sleep more than in summer. I noticed that if I go to bed around 9:30 pm, I sleep the best.

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Lots of variations on this. One of the earliest:

“…you can’t manage what you can’t measure.”

Peter Drucker

Or more specifically, one can’t manage what they don’t measure.

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I bought one and sent it back during the trial period.

I learned some interesting stuff. About sleep and whatnot. After a couple of weeks, it ceased in its ability to add insight.

My knuckles are the widest points on my fingers. Over time, the friction of sliding the ring on and off created calloused skin there, making removal increasingly painful. I didn’t realize how much extra skin had accumulated until it sloughed off at discontinuation.

One could alternate the hand you wear it on, I guess.

On one out-and back weekend hike, I moved the ring from one hand to the corresponding finger on the other hand. The results from the largely downhill hike on the return hike implied I expended more energy than on the largely uphill outbound leg. Not credible.

Another time, I spent a couple hours wondering around a shopping center while I had tires put on my truck. Then I went home and did a two-hour walk with thirty pounds of weight in a backpack. The ring claimed I burned the same about of calories during both activities. Not credible.

If send it back, remember to also cancel the monthly membership, elsewise you’ll still get billed for that.

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Had one for 4-5 yrs. Best for sleep data, temperature monitoring but the ‘activity’ mode seems the least reliable. RHR and HRV too. Picked up onset of my covid infection very early before symptoms appeared.
Also good for sauna where phones/watches fail due to heat.

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I won’t comment on the ring approach. I have used two fitbits and also the E500. All of these were wrist devices. The E500 was quite good on sleep, the fitbits are/were OK. I would be unhappy not to have my fitbit measuring things. In particular I have had a lot of sleep issues. I have essentially overcome those now, but the fitbit has been an important part of this. I am sure other wrist devices would be equivalent.

This is a problem I’ve bumped into. Also with bluetooth EarPods (I like to listen to music when I’m in the Sauna, as it gets a little boring). Anyone found a good pair of heat-proof ear buds or headphone type devices? I can keep my phone on the floor of the sauna where its pretty cool, but I like to sit at the top seat of the sauna to get the high heat… but at some point my hearing devices always stop functioning before I want to leave the sauna.

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I’ve been using an Oura ring for several years. I think they’re great, but I only use them for sleep, never activity tracking as they just aren’t very good at that. For activity tracking I use my Apple Watch. The Oura ring has provided very important insights into how my daytime activities affect my sleep. I needed it to confirm how detrimental alcohol consumption is to quality sleep. Also how evening exercise or a large late dinner meal will also bring down sleep quantity and quality. The software that comes with the ring tries to provide advice on whether you should take it easy that day or rev things up - I never follow that advice because I believe it to be relatively worthless. Overall, it’s comfortable to wear at night and provides data I find valuable (especially heart rate and heart rate variability). The sleep staging data is a bit primitive, but still useful to me. With managed expectations, I would recommend it.

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The Oura ring portal says I started wearing the ring 19/8/2019. I have had four rings, two are updated versions of the physical ring and two were free replacements because of battery issues. Oura support is excellent. Very fair on their assessments and very responsive. I’ve found the ring is very robust and other than early battery issues, they are completely reliable.

I have tried a lot of other wearables in an attempt to collect actionable data. I use Garmin - currently 955 Solar - for all my serious exercise and competitive events. I still have a ‘nearly’ up-to-date Apple watch but it mostly sits on my desk because they deliberately dumb down the potential features and the battery life is still awful. Besides I prefer an analog watch!

As an early adopter, I don’t pay the monthly subscription fee but I certainly would to keep everything working.

The online Oura Ring Portal allows me to analyse long term data. I don’t use it often but it allows me to compare long term data ie, I have a “Moderate positive correlation” for a higher HRV score and improved Deep Sleep. I can compare every area of sleep and activity from Aug 2019 until today.

Oura has other useful data - lowest resting heart rate (HR) in sleep, Heart Rate Variability (HRV), and body temp. There are other reported metrics ie sleep stages, steps, calculated calorie burn, etc. but I do not rely on these, nor do I check them regularly. Like a lot of serious athletes, I’m data obsessive to help me justify and support changes, or confirm improvements.

The Oura ring links to my phone so it automatically registers, all runs, bike rides, swims, etc.

The sleep information is imperfect but better and more convenient than any other wearable I’ve tried. Whether it is totally accurate or not, doesn’t matter too much to me. I’m convinced that the data is consistent and works well in assessing my ‘relative’ sleep data. Therefore, I find the Oura data useful relative to itself. I am happy to rely on myself to determine how I feel good.

I usually take the ring off to charge it in the morning while answering my overnight email - it’s also better for the battery not to let it run down - although I have worn it for 4/5 days without and issues. I move it from my right hand “ring finger”, to my larger “index finger”, when I’m swimming, to combat cold hands. I have never found wearing the Oura ring inconvenient.

One interesting metric is the temperature information. I have had covid once, 21/6/22. Using Oura’s “body temperature” data I found that my temperature was one degree higher two days earlier than I really felt sick and the increased temp lasted for four days. My temp indicated that I was sick nearly two days before it really hit me.

Yep, I’m a fan boy!

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I bought my Oura ring a year ago for the sole purpose of improving my sleep.

When I started I had sleep apnea that woke me up multiple times a night, sometimes gasping. I was getting some REM sleep but next to no deep sleep.

By experimenting with various sleep practices I have completely eliminated the sleep apnea. My REM and deep sleep are much better, often an hour each, but I still have 1 or 2 wakeups I need to improve.

I tried to use the ring for exercise tracking but since I have to take it off to do resistance training, its of no value to me for that purpose.

So if you want to improve your sleep I would definitely recommend it.

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There is a product comparison at the end. Apple watch is the best according to this test.

I like the Apple Watch because it can record all sports activities. However, if you suffer from bad insomnia from time to time like me, then on such nights Apple Watch and Oura are just a joke

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Series 9 test: https://youtu.be/4igZ3DEhrk4?si=LD1ELRv9KWocQvtW&t=1913

Wow, I didn’t realize how much info all you guys can provide. Thanks very much.

I have a garmin watch, which I like a lot, but I’m afraid I’m a bit of a gearhead (not too much, but a little). :slight_smile:

After reading what you all say, I’m going to try it & see what I find out. The garmin offers insight into sleep, but I have little faith it is very accurate. For example, I think it under measures the blood ox.

If the oura provides info on sleep cycles, that is likely to be very useful. I tend to wake up in the night & sometimes can’t get back to sleep. If the oura helps me figure out a way to avoid that, it would be totally worth it.

I’ve heard of this thing called paper books that might not be too affected by sauna heat … :wink:

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I use Whoop for sleep tracking and sometimes my Apple Watch just to compare data. Whoop is very data rich. Users typically fill out a brief journal (literally takes less than a minute) at the beginning of each day. You get weekly, monthly, yearly reports as to what has positive or negative effects on your sleep quality, quantity, hrv ect. They also share some data from other whoop users (anonymously of course) to provide tips on how to improve your sleep. Without a doubt drinking alcohol has been the biggest repeatable cause of poor sleep quality and quantity. It doesn’t take much either. I don’t drink often but when I do, it’s usually bourbon. It only takes 1-2 drinks for my sleep scores to take a very obvious hit. Based on the information provided by whoop, this is universally replicated with whoop users as a whole.

I did 1 year of whoop. I think it’s great, I recently signed up for another year but I was somewhat reluctant. I think I got all I need out of it after a year. Hopefully Whoop 5.0 comes out soon with some new killer features otherwise I may not renew after this.

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I looked it up – it’s pretty pricey. I’m glad to know about it & will keep an eye on it. Thanks for the info.

I also really like the Oura Gen 3 and will buy another one when it wears out unless one of the newer competitors outclasses it. It has given me insight into how medications and supplements impact my sleep, HRV, and RHR. I’ve adjusted doses and timing based on the data. Since it isn’t a very good exercise activity tracker, I use a Polar H10 chest strap with the Polar Flow app and have Oura import the data automatically. All of that then gets pulled into my Cronometer calorie/nutrient/biometric tracking app.

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