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5 ways Oura Ring changed my life for the better

Trying to decide if the Oura Ring is right for you? These features have had the biggest impact on my health.
Written by Min Shin, Associate Editor
Oura Ring
Min Shin/ZDNET

Smart rings have been rising in popularity during the past couple of years. For a tiny, inconspicuous device that fits right on your finger, smart rings have many features, including tracking your wellness and fitness levels, analyzing your sleep data, and helping you reach your activity goals. 

Also: The best smart rings right now

Among the smart rings on the market, the Oura Ring has become one of the key devices. I've been using the Oura for a few months now, and it's played a significant role in my wellness journey. Here are five reasons -- both with and without the Oura membership -- why I love the Oura and see myself using it for the long run. 

View at Oura

1. My 'Readiness Score' helps me plan my day

The most useful feature of the Oura Ring is my "Readiness Score" and it's available to all Oura Ring users. This is a compilation of my activity, sleep, and body signals, like my resting heart rate. Using these stats, Oura assigns a daily number that determines how ready you are to face the day. 

Oura ring Readiness score
Screenshot by Min Shin/ZDNET

Scores range from 0 to 100 and can be divided into three categories. A score under 70 means you should pay attention to your body and make sure to get some rest. A score of 70-84 means you've recovered well enough, and 85 or higher means that you've reached an optimal level of recovery and are ready to take on the day. 

Also: How old is your heart? Oura Ring's new feature may tell you

I've received scores as low as 50 and as high as 92, and this information has helped me craft the type of day I will have, whether that be getting to sleep early or making sure I get to the gym.

2. The Resilience feature helps with stress management

Released at the beginning of this year for all Gen 3 members, the "Resilience" feature has become monumental in my ability to recover throughout the week from physiological stress. You can track how well your body manages stress over time using two-week averages of your daytime stress load, daytime recovery, and nighttime recovery. 

Oura ring Resilience feature
Screenshot by Min Shin/ZDNET

There are five types of resilience levels: Exceptional, Strong, Solid, Adequate, and Limited. These range from accomplishing my ideal balance of stress and recovery to letting me know that I require more rest to attain a better balance. 

Also: Oura Ring users can now sync data with Strava -- here's how to turn it on

Oura also provides a Daytime Stress graph for Gen 3 members that measures your stress level throughout the day starting when you wake up to when you go to sleep. I have used this information to help me understand the points of the day where I tend to be most stressed and relaxed to become more aware of stressors. 

3. A full charge lasts for days 

One of the perks of the Oura Ring is that a fully charged ring can last up to a week. That power means I don't have to take the ring off every other day to ensure it has enough battery. Oura says battery life could vary depending on the frequency you use its features, such as Blood Oxygen Sensing or Workout Heart Rate. I've found that I usually go about five days until the battery level shows in the red range. 

Oura Ring charging
Min Shin/ZDNET

Unlike the Apple Watch, which has had issues with battery draining fairly quickly, the Oura Ring gives me peace of mind because I can travel for a weekend without packing my charger. I also don't have to lose sleep data to charge the ring overnight. I've found the charge time is fairly quick, depending on the starting level. The ring can charge as quickly as 20 minutes to slightly over an hour. 

4. Learning my chronotype helped me build better sleep habits

The sleep features in the Oura Ring have transformed my bedtime and wake-up routine. Apart from getting a "Sleep Score" every morning, I have particularly enjoyed the chronotype feature that comes with the Oura Ring membership. Using your sleep, body temperature, and activity data for the past 90 days, Oura determines your chronotype -- a term used to describe if you are a morning bird, night owl, or someone in between.

Also: The best sleep trackers: Expert tested and reviewed

There are six different chronotypes. I am a late morning type, meaning I'm usually most productive in the mornings, enjoy going to bed early, but don't mind the occasional late night. "Knowing and living according to your chronotype can benefit your energy levels, sleep, and overall well-being," Oura said in its blog.

Oura ring chronotype
Screenshot by Min Shin/ZDNET

Since Oura analyzed my chronotype, I have been trying to keep a consistent schedule of when I go to sleep and when I wake up. Before I bought the Oura Ring, I was used to saving the weekends for late nights and sleeping in. However, the chronotype feature has made me realize the importance of an optimal sleep schedule and I have found that there are fewer days where I wake up feeling tired.

Oura ring sleep data
Screenshot by Min Shin/ZDNET

5. The ring is comfortable and subtle

Having a ring to keep track of your health data is convenient when you're out and about or trying to get some sleep. You can use the Oura Ring sizing kit to ensure it fits on your finger. I've been wearing the ring every day since purchasing it, and it doesn't get in the way of my everyday activities. On the other hand, having a smartwatch strapped onto your wrist may not be the best option for tracking your sleep data comfortably due to the watch's bulkiness. 

Oura ring closeup
Min Shin/ZDNET

Because the ring is waterproof, you can wash your hands and shower without removing it and risk interrupting data collection throughout the day. To wash the ring, Oura recommends using a small amount of mild dish soap and water to rinse it. You may also use hand sanitizer with the ring. 

Also: Samsung Galaxy Ring: Features, price, availability, and everything else we know

Overall, the Oura Ring is sleek and stylish and can blend in with your other jewelry, as the ring comes in several styles, colors, and finishes. This is a device that I will continue to use to track my health and wellness. 

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