Oura ring- a great health tracker to be your guide
Updated: Mar 14, 2022
It was a bit more than a year ago, when a friend of mine recommended me to get myself the Oura ring. Since I was recovering from a brain surgery, there were many questions that I had about health I was trying to find answers to. And Oura ring has been one of the great measurement tools to understand where I am with the state of my well-being at any point of time and what can and do or should not to in order to have optimal health and perform at my best.
People, who tell me, just listen to your body why do you need to measure what's happening to determine what to do and what not to do- then unfortunately after the brain surgery my mind and body has never been the same. Anyone who has had brain surgery hopefully sees what I mean.
What has Oura ring helped me to measure?
Oura has the Oura app, that you install on your phone and which communicates with your ring 24/7, provided you have the ring on your finger and charged at all times. It measures health in three categories, readiness, sleep and activity and shows you the below details for your health:
heart rate variability
resting heart rate
sleep, including your REM, light and deep sleep
What is heart rate variability (HRV)?
It's a marker for resilience and it regulates among other things our heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and digestion. HRV helps the identify the imbalances. If we are constantly in a fight-or-flight mode, the variation between subsequent heartbeats is low. If you are in a more relaxed state, the variation between heartbeats is high. The better your HRV, the more resilient you are, the faster you are able to switch gears. A low HRV is associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease and increased risk of death. HRV a good way to track how your nervous system is reacting to the environment around you, as well as your feelings, thoughts and emotions. And what I have clearly noticed is that, focusing on better quality sleep, physical activity, managing stress levels, has a positive impact on the HRV. Normal ranges can be anywhere from below 20 to over 200ms, depending on the person, it's age, it's state of health etc.
What is resting heart rate?
It's simply the number of times your heart beats per minute while you are at rest. A lower heart rate at rest shows better cardiovascular fitness and more efficient heart function. This can really vary between 40-100 depending on the age of the person and the fitness level of the person.
What is respiratory rate?
It's how many breaths you take a minute. A normal respiration rate at rest is between 12-20 breaths per minute.
Body temperature and Oura ring
You will learn this over time, as Oura tracks and displays body temperature relative to your baseline body temperature. So, it shows how much lower or higher your body temperature is compared to your average.
Sleep and Oura ring
Oura ring looks and analyses your sleep based on HRV, body temperature, resting heart rate, movement and also time spend in specific sleep stages, including light, REM and deep sleep. It shows you data on how much time you are spending in your different sleep stages, shows you latency, sleep timing, shows you when you are awake and gives you daily your sleep score. You get an understanding on your sleep quality and start to understand over time how much sleep your body needs in different stages for you to feel well.
REM sleep is where your brain and body re-energises. On average REM sleep counts 20-25% from total sleep, which is 1.5h-2h. It does decrease with age though.
Deep sleep is restorative and rejuvenating sleep stage and enabling muscle repair and growth. On average people spend 15-20% of their sleep in this phase.
Sleep latency indicates how quickly you fall asleep. If you fall asleep too quickly, it shows you are not getting enough sleep.
Sleep timing is important contributor to the quality of your sleep. As your bodily processes run in 24h cycles (circadian rhythms), it's important to sleep at night and staying awake during the day. The midpoint of your sleep should ideally fall between midnight and 3am in order for you to get optimal and balanced sleep.
Activity and Oura ring
As with many other gadgets, Oura tracks your steps, your calories burnt, alerts you when it's time to stretch your legs when you been sedentary for too long period of time.
What is a recovery index?
This is how long it takes your resting heart rate to stabilise during the night and to reach it's lowest point
What have been my learnings about my body with the help of Oura ring?
First of all it's important to note that while you can start to see the numbers for yourself and your body as soon as you start to wear the ring and have installed the app on your phone, you only will get to learn more about your body over time since the app needs data about you for some time before it can start to give you more accurate scores.
I have learnt that in order for my body to have the rest it needs, I need to go to bed around 10PM. Anything later than 11PM will impact my well-being. I also know that I need ideally 8.30 hours sleep per night to have both the mind and body rested, and my REM sleep and deep sleep higher than an hour per night. I also know what affects my sleep negatively- eating dinner later than 7pm, drinking a glass of wine, exercising later in the evening.
I have also started to see the shifts in my heart rate, body temperature, when I am starting to get ill. This has helped me to put more focus on my sleep and rest before the illness hits me really bad.
I only need to charge it once a week for an hour or so. Though it's ok to go to shower with it, I choose to take it off. I also take the it off when I am lifting weights not to damage the ring.
Here are images from my Oura app, when I have been in a good state.
And here are images from my Oura app, when I have had a glass of wine, have been eating too late and down-prioritised sleep- New Year's Eve :).
In conclusion I can say that wearing an Oura ring has helped me to understand my body better, be more kind to it when I have pushed it too far and understand what I need to do to get the body functioning at its best. If you are interested in learning more about Oura ring or want to purchase yourself one, visit Oura Ring website.