Technology

The Oura Ring

Written by Sabine Downer

Wearable health monitoring devices like the Fit Bit have become hugely popular. The Oura ring is the latest in this health monitoring accessories. Their commercials focus especially on the ability to monitor and improve sleep through use of the device. So, what is the Oura ring and should you give it a try?

The Oura ring is a wearable sensor that pairs with a mobile app. It integrates with Google Fit and Apple Health to provide users with health insights and help them form better habits, especially when it comes to sleep [3]. Sensors on the ring are very advanced and provide more accurate readings since the finger is a more sensitive location than the wrist. It records calorie burn, pulse, temperature, sleep, heart rate, nighttime movement, and activity and provides users with three scores: Readiness, Sleep, and Activity. This includes sleep time and quality, time spent in different phases of sleep, and nighttime movement.

A 2018 study observed that Oura ring users sleep an average of seven hours per night and have a consistent and more efficient sleep schedule [1]. A 2019 study noted that it may even be a good tool for predicting ovulation and menstrual cycles through high-sensitivity body temperature monitoring [2]. These observations support the Oura ring claims to its ability to provide advanced health monitoring, especially for sleep.

Sleep is a vitally important process and achieving better sleep can reduce risks for health conditions and improve the way you feel and function in day-to-day life. For individuals with overall good health and good habits, wearable health monitoring devices might be overkill. However, for the many who are working to build better habits they help keep you mindful and provide very useful insights.

The Oura ring’s advanced sleep data and insights could be a game changer for many struggling with sleep disruption and deprivation. The improved technology of the Oura ring could also lead to better medical device technology for monitoring conditions like sleep apnea. While it is not an FDA approved medical device, it may also provide a valuable option for people who do not have access to medical treatment for sleep conditions. Of course, you should always consult with a doctor regarding medical conditions and medical treatments. However, with the Oura ring you may have a new tool to help you form better habits or have more data to suggest that it might be time to see a doctor if your condition does not improve.

 

References

1- Koskimäki, H., Kinnunen, H., Kurppa, T., & Röning, J. How Do We Sleep. Proceedings of the 2018 ACM International Joint Conference and 2018 International Symposium on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing and Wearable Computers. Acm.org. Published 2018. Accessed June 25, 2021. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/3267305.3267697

2- Maijala A, Kinnunen H, Koskimäki H, Jämsä T, Kangas M. Nocturnal finger skin temperature in menstrual cycle tracking: ambulatory pilot study using a wearable Oura ring. BMC Women’s Health. 2019;19(1). doi:10.1186/s12905-019-0844-9 Accessed June 25, 2021. https://bmcwomenshealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12905-019-0844-9

3- com. Published 2021. Accessed June 25, 2021. https://ouraring.com/

 

Image: https://unsplash.com/photos/YX54hH-luJg by Ajay Karpur on Unsplash

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Sabine Downer

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