Being in sync with one’s circadian rhythms is key to getting a good night’s sleep. Circadian rhythms are the innate and somewhat mysterious biological ‘clocks’ which tell our bodies when to rest and when to be active. Neuroscientists and sleep researchers have known for decades that circadian rhythms exist, but only recently have scientists been able to actually pinpoint how these rhythms affect the human brain. Despite being a hardwired part of our neural circuitry so to speak, many environmental and behavioral factors can disrupt one’s circadian rhythms, such as excess nighttime screen use or the excessive use of substances like caffeine or alcohol. Luckily, a new wearable is on the market which claims to help users stay in sync with their circadian rhythm, and using it is as easy as slipping it over your finger.
The Oura Ring is a miniature sleep monitor built into an unobtrusive and unassuming metal ring. While users sleep, the ring tracks variables like body temperature, sleep stages, ECG level, resting heart rate, and heart rate variability. With these factors the ring can calculate an overall level of sleep health which users can track day to day using the companion mobile app. The ring can also be worn during waking hours to track heart rate and heart rate variability. Prices range from $299 to $999, depending on if you want yours to come with diamonds or not. How else will people know how wealthy you are while you sleep?
Kari Kivelä, Head of Design and co-founder of Oura Health, says the ring represents a new step in the trend to quantify and somewhat game-ify health using big data:
The new Oura ring uniquely combines beautiful design and pioneering technology with ultimate wearing comfort and scientific accuracy. The new ring is a real leap forward in technology – its processing power is ten-fold compared to the first Oura ring and even with added functionality the battery lasts up to one week with a single charge.
The Oura Ring joins a growing list of smart wearables designed to help users monitor and regulate their sleep health. Many apps have been designed for the Apple Watch, for example, and products like the FitBit have sold millions of units. You’ve got to wonder though: as smartphones and other mobile devices continue to disrupt our sleep like never before, do we really need another hi-tech gizmo in the mix? We’ll likely find out April 2018 when the Oura Ring ships.