I’ve Used the Oura Ring for a Year—Here’s Everything You Need to Know

I’ve Used the Oura Ring for a Year—Here’s Everything You Need to Know featured image

As I type this, my Oura ring is tracking my heart rate, stress level, resilience, menstrual cycle and more. I’ve been wearing an Oura Ring (starting at $349) for over a year. In that time, I’ve learned a lot about myself, received a surprising number of compliments on the jewelry and influenced friends to give the technology a try after conversations about the pros and cons. If you’ve been considering putting an Oura Ring on it, let me answer all your burning questions.

The Technical Things

The battery life of the Oura Ring is impressive. If I’m going on a short trip, I can often manage without bringing the charger—if it’s fully charged when I leave. I generally just pop it on the charger when I’m in the shower or washing dishes, and the battery surges quickly and holds for a while. I remember being surprised by how infrequently I had to charge it when I first started using it.

The ring is waterproof and great quality. I tend to beat my belongings up unwittingly, so the ring has some scratches, but that’s to be expected when wearing it for everything from rock climbing to swimming in the ocean.

My biggest gripe with the ring is that it sometimes irritates my skin. During my first winter season with the ring, I lived in Colorado and skied every weekend while wearing it and got contact dermatitis, which was remedied with over-the-counter skin-care products and a little extra TLC. I haven’t had as many issues this winter while living in New York. Although the ring is waterproof, I’ve found that my skin is most irritated when it’s dry in the winter or when water gets trapped between my skin and the ring, so I tend to take it off when washing my face or working with soapy dishes.

One of the biggest surprises for me was, and continues to be, that people compliment the ring as a gorgeous piece of jewelry—I have the Heritage in gold. When I tell admirers there’s essentially a computer inside of it, they can’t believe it. This certainly sets it apart from chunky, cheugy watch-tracking options.

Sleep Tracking

When I first got the Oura Ring, I was most excited about its sleep tracking, which is what, at the time, I felt set it apart from the Apple Watch I had previously worn. I’ve never been a good sleeper, and Oura felt like my own personal ongoing sleep study. It tracks your time in bed and the amount and type (REM, light and deep) of sleep you get. Additionally, it reports the efficiency and restfulness of your slumber, indicating how much movement you had throughout the night and how long it took you to fall asleep.

Having the ring as a tool to work towards healthier sleep habits has been extremely helpful. When trying various lifestyle changes, supplements and even prescription sleeping medications, I was able to use the data from Oura to get an unbiased take on what was working and what wasn’t. Additionally, I was able to make the connection that when I experienced a more challenging mental health day, it often followed a night of poor sleep, even if I thought I was well-rested. To my chagrin, Oura also confirmed the fact that after drinking, I may fall asleep quickly but then have a restless night of poor-quality sleep.

Menstrual Cycle Tracking

At first, I wasn’t using this feature, but after having to stop taking birth control for health reasons, I suddenly needed an alternate way to prevent pregnancy for the time being. I synced Oura with the Natural Cycles app and have not looked back. I was skeptical about how well the tracking would work, but in just a matter of months, it seemed to know my cycle better than me with the use of temperature insight and past patterns.

Like with the sleep tracking, the cycle tracking has helped me predict, or at least understand, mood swings. During those bad PMS days it even sometimes suggests you take it easy. I’ve encouraged anyone seeking to change birth control methods to consider the Oura Ring. I feel better and more in touch with my cycle than I had the past 10 years of taking birth control medication.

Shop Oura Ring Gen3: Horizon Silver


It Knows When I’m Getting Sick

One of the coolest aspects of the Oura Ring that I hadn’t seen widely advertised was its ability to predict you’re coming down with something. On multiple occasions when I’ve noticed a change in my temperature, resilience and heart rate, a serious cold or sinus infection followed. The app is mindful of these times as well, sharing messages like, “Your elevated body temperature is affecting your readiness, so it’s better to take it easy today.”

Resilience and Stress Tracking

The stress level tracking is a newer feature, and it’s been fun (and unsettling) to check it at the end of the day, knowing exactly what spiked my anxiety at 11:40 AM. It feels validating to see that there are actual body changes when stress levels change—it’s not all in your head. It’s also interesting to see what moments make you most calm and take note of that. Oura also tracks your resilience and the balance between stress and recovery.

Activity Tracking

I will be the first to admit I’m not someone who loves working out or hits the gym regularly, so this wasn’t the most important aspect of the ring for me. When it did log my movement, I was happy to see it had options to tag the exercise with a variety of things I do—like skiing, dancing, hiking, etc. I appreciate that Oura adjusted activity goals based on your readiness. I would say the activity-tracking technology is not as adept at picking up more subtle exercises like pilates or yoga, which can be frustrating when that’s what you’re into.

It Offers Meditations and Sleep Aids

Oura offers meditations, breathwork and sleep aids within the app. After testing out a few options, I became reliant on one specific instrumental sleep aid. I would say 70 percent of the time I would listen to it after tossing and turning it would help lull me to sleep before the 20 minutes were up.

The Bottom Line

I don’t see myself going without the Oura Ring for a while. It has the ability to shift with my life changes, and I love that there are still new features being added. On mornings when I wake up without it on my finger I feel ill-prepared for the day without the knowledge of my sleep score, and does exercise even count if your Oura Ring doesn’t know about it?

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