When it comes to health, some might call me a numbers guy. I love to track workouts, and I’m an advocate of calorie counting—it’s how I dropped 30 pounds. So, of course, I wanted to get my hands on an Oura Ring. If you haven’t heard of Oura Ring, it’s a sleek, sexy little ring that uses inward-facing research grade sensors to track your sleep, your daily activity, your heart rate, temperature, and so much more. All of which helps deliver you a data-backed, holistic portrait of your physiological life, from sun-up to sundown—and, crucially, those precious hours in between. Here are my takeaways from my recent two-week test drive:
Perhaps the best thing about Oura is how easy everything is. One example: If you don’t know your size—more specifically, your index finger ring size—Oura will ship you a complimentary sizing kit first. Once it’s on, the ring is something you totally forget about. So it’s just part of your life. But that’s only one part of the Oura Ring equation; the other is the data it collects and how you access it. All the information is collected and presented in a straightforward, easy-to-understand app.
Everyday, it aggregates your sleep, readiness, and activity as a number, between 1-100, which is a no-brainer for anyone who got graded in school. (For the uninitiated: Your “readiness” number gauges your metrics like your sleep, temperature, heart rate, and more to tell you how ready your body is to take on the day.) After a few days, I intuitively understood my baseline numbers. While I thought of myself as a “good sleeper,” my number was in the 70s—I was ready to put in some work to increase it.
Getting an overall view of my daily habits motivated me to make changes. Not big adjustments, per se, but tweaks that incrementally, over time, have had positive effects.
For example, for someone who’d call himself a decent sleeper, seeing how few hours of deep or REM sleep I was averaging was a bit of a surprise. I made an educated guess that my pre-slumber social media scroll was at least partly to blame. So, I took action, bought an old-school alarm clock and put my phone in the other room at night. Within the week, I saw I was getting an extra hour of sleep each night. And now I read a book before bed. Win.
I hit the gym a few times a week—a mix of HIIT classes and strength training—but I’m a WFH writer, so I spend a lot of my day sitting at my computer, most of it hunched. Oura’s activity alerts reminded me to take a short walk to help counteract those sedentary hours. Now, during phone calls, I pop in my headphones and walk around the block. I try to schedule more calls because of it. And I’ve added a post-lunch stroll to get the blood flowing and ward off that post-meal malaise.
I’ve also started checking my readiness score. If it’s really low, I’ll choose to rest instead of committing to an intense workout. If it’s on the higher side, that’s extra motivation to put in a bit more effort at the gym. These tweaks have positively impacted my day, especially my afternoon mood and productivity.
Thinking Big Picture
When it comes to “wellness,” I do the obvious things—I exercise and watch what I eat. They are daily things I can control. But there’s so much more to it, which Oura helped to make me more aware of. Sure, sleep is the secret sauce that we all need to be focused on—it regulates hormones (including hormones that regulate hunger) and can help us feel more focused. Sleep can also help ward off the effects of aging and help support our immune system. Amazing! As I was actively trying to improve my sleep, Oura made me aware of how small, subtle changes can have an outsize effect on our daily lives. Things like low-impact daily movement and taking rest days can help unlock potential.
They add up to something that is, somehow, bigger than the sum of its parts. I never thought a ring could show me all that.
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