Review of Apple Watch and Oura Ring Sleep Trackers


As a rapt and dedicated reader, you know I’ve been thinking a lot about how to support our Ninjas in improving their sleep.

(I realize people may not think of a “gym” as a place where they learn more about sleep, but at MFF, we’re your Holistic Well-Being & Fitness Pals. And we can’t help you live your best life without addressing recovery alongside training and nutrition.)

So my Friday thought is this:

Sleep trackers are worth considering if you struggle with sleep

AND if you have the funds to afford them.

For a few years I’ve been using a simple app with my Apple Watch called Sleepwatch. Each morning I see my resting heart rate, the amount of restful sleep, the amount of total sleep, and my “sleep rhythm” (how consistent my sleeping times have been).

The main thing I’ve learned is this: drinking and/or a big meal both increase my sleeping heart rate and hurt my sleep quality. Interesting to see the actual numbers, but hardly something I needed my watch to tell me.

This past week I’ve been using the Oura ring. This is basically a fancier sleep tracker that gets more accurate data. It consistently tracks heart rate variability, a measure of recovery. (The Apple Watch does too, but only a couple of times per day, so the data isn’t as useful).

Each morning, the Oura app gives me more robust data about my physical readiness, and finer details about how I slept. Like the Apple Watch, I’m finding it interesting, AND not a game changer.

It IS neat to get a “Readiness” score that makes suggestions for how to adapt my workouts and go easier when I’m not as recovered. This is something Sleepwatch does NOT do, and I could see this being valuable. Particularly if you like to smash your workouts every day and feel like you’re “failing” if you’re not farting blood and seeing the face of God each and every session.

Overall, I think one of the most valuable benefits of any kind of sleep tracker is simply giving you more awareness: how well you’re sleeping, how many hours you’re sleeping, how your activities during the day impact your sleep, etc.

You can’t help but feel a bit of gamification-ish urge to want to improve your scores. And this can actually nudge you to make better decisions during your day (skip that last drink, head to bed a bit earlier, cut back on the coffee, etc. etc.)

However, the Oura ring and the AppleWatch aren’t all that cheap. Nor are most of the alternative options. So while I think this nudging and “Recovery Gamification” can be helpful, not everyone is in a place to drop a few hundred bucks on this kind of product.

If you really can’t afford it, simply manually tracking your hours of sleep each night as well as how you feel in the morning can replicate some of the awareness-building benefits. But if you struggle with sleep and have the discretionary income, it could be worth considering!

Gentle Friday love coming atcha with a side of Spring Vibes,

P.S. Want to cuddle up with your pals at MFF?

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