That Time Gwyneth Bought Me on the Oura Ring

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Kiki Koroshetz headshot

Kiki Koroshetz is the wellness director in the goop editorial team and the ringleader of the goop Book Club.

I ran in high school and did well at my events. But this isn’t a story about how nostalgic I am for high school. Once my mother stopped at a traffic light in the car on the way to a meeting and turned to me. “It doesn’t seem like you are enjoying this,” she said. (I had spent the last twenty minutes talking about how much I didn’t like indoor courses.) “You know, you don’t have to do this. You could stop “

I haven’t left the indoor track and in my senior year I’ve also run the outdoor track. But at least I stopped there. In college, I played soccer, which I could do while I couldn’t help smiling. For a while, I still wore the digital watch I’d used to train for races. It was once light green and now dirty. One of my teammates threatened to cut it off, but the strap fell apart on its own.

As an adult who no longer competes in any sport, I was not interested in races or any kind of physical tracking device. I didn’t trust myself to be normal enough to enjoy them. When I signed up for a half marathon or looked at a log of my daily activities, I had the potential to transform myself back into the seventeen-year-old who tried to run a five-minute mile and wasn’t scared of it. Then we entered a pandemic and the simple act of walking became a revelation to the people. How did you get 10,000 steps a day? I wondered. Did you lie? Nobody had work to do? I activated the health app on my iPhone – I rarely reached 5,000 steps on a weekday.

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Then goop started selling the Oura Ring, a wearable device that uses advanced technology to monitor your body’s heart rate, movement, and temperature, and then organizes that data into a description of your overall health. When I read “advanced technology” in the report produced by our science team, I read it as “too advanced for me”. I thought an editor on our team could interview someone who already had an Oura ring. I posted on our Slack channel for all companies to see if anyone was using one, and four minutes later GP replied, “Me. I love it. “A few more messages were exchanged and I’d reassigned the story to myself and decided I wasn’t going to interview anyone. I got the Oura ring size set, chose my right ring finger, and ordered a size 7.

It turns out that wearing an Oura ring is nothing like watching split times from laps driven down the hallways of your high school when it’s too freezing to run outside. The Oura ring is fun. And while the algorithms used are beyond my understanding and desire to understand, the information presented is easy to understand. Here’s what has happened to me in the three months since wearing one:

I took at least 10,000 steps every day. (Hope some people don’t believe me and others find me angry for not believing myself before Oura, and I find myself angry.) For accuracy, the Oura ring measures your pulse from your finger rather than your wrist. It can track training and recovery time, yes, but also small, subtle movements. I have a new appreciation for: getting up from my chair, taking out the trash, shopping bags that take more than one trip from the car to my apartment, walking in the dark with a hot tea. Walking is now non-negotiable at the same level as cocoflossing – I enjoy these activities more than I’d like to admit, and I don’t go to bed until I’ve done them.

Every day the Oura gives you an activity rating that you can see in the app. (Your Oura ring is synced to an app on your phone via Bluetooth. I think it’s good that Bluetooth is only active on the ring for a short time – usually around 1 percent of the day.) Your activity rating is based on six factors. How long are you active all day? Do you move every hour (The app can ping you to remind you if you want.) Are you reaching your daily activity goal? Exercise Frequency and Volume: How often have you received medium to high intensity activities and how much in the past week? Recovery Time: Have You Had Enough Easy Days? Each day, you can see how you are dealing with these different measures through a spectrum of attention to the optimum. You can also click any factor in the app to get more context and see what that data point can tell you about your own health. My monthly average for my activity rating is ninety-five. And yes, I started with my best news.

I didn’t get into my sleep stats for the first few weeks that I had the Oura ring, but now I see why people wear it for this purpose. The ring indicates roughly how much time you spend awake during your sleep window, light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep. There is a graph in the app that shows when you are in each of these stages. So if you wake up at 3:17 a.m. and think about the text you forgot to send, this is what you will see. You will also get a sleep score every day based on total sleep, efficiency (the percentage of time you sleep after bed), rest (less disturbed sleep means a higher score), REM amount, deep sleep amount, and latency (how fast you falling asleep) and when (optimal by Oura standards if the center of your sleep is between midnight and 3 a.m.).

What is interesting (to me) is that I sleep better than I thought. My average monthly sleep score is eighty. According to Oura, I’m in bed an average of eight hours and sleep about seven and a half hours. Some days I wake up and want to stay in bed all day. Then I look at my sleep data and next to my line “Restfulness” I see “Good” or “Optimal” – and I am convinced that I am not all tired. I know that when my latency period is in the red, I can’t get enough rest. The Oura app says it ideally takes fifteen to twenty minutes to fall asleep. However, if you fall asleep in less than five minutes, it could be a sign that you are not getting enough sleep. Last night I fell asleep in three minutes. And two minutes the night before.

I’m not strict about monitoring all changes in my sleep, but even glancing at the data eventually motivated me to take the advice on the internet and keep my cell phone out of my bedroom. Around that time, I saw fewer sleep readings in the red zone and more sneaking into the blue zone. It also means I read more books and spend less time scrolling Instagram in bed. And it means I have to get up in the morning to turn off my alarm clock, which is way more than half the battle. Anecdotally, I’ve heard that some people sleep better with an air purifier, so my next experiment might involve purchasing the Air Doctor.

The last daily score is known as readiness. This is based on seven factors: how well you slept the previous night, sleep balance (this measurement refers to the last two weeks as sleep debt is a monster), activity the day before, activity balance, body temperature, resting heart rate, heart rate variability (a An indication of beat-to-beat changes in heart rate, which can be used as a measure of autonomic nervous system activity) and recovery index (how long it takes for your resting heart rate to stabilize during the night). I was surprised to read how accurate some of these measurements can be. When the Oura ring was compared with a medical-grade electrocardiogram, it received a confidence level of 99.9 percent for resting heart rate and a confidence level of 98.4 percent for heart rate variability.

My average readiness score is seventy-five. The resting heart rate, the HRV balance and the recovery index can be improved. According to the app, some things that could affect these areas are eating and drinking alcohol right before bed and stress.

Will that be easy for me to change? No.

But nothing about using the Oura ring is daunting. Yesterday my readiness was sixty-seven. It’s seventy-three today and my home screen says “Good,” then “You can do this,” and “Your readiness is improving, well done!” Remember to keep your sleep schedule consistent and activity levels balanced in order to reach your full potential. ” Right. On my homepage I can also see that I slept from 11:31 pm to 7:14 am and that my ideal bedtime this evening is between 9:30 am and 10:45 pm

Now I’m glad I got up last night to finish reading Burnt Sugar, the novel I started earlier in the week, because I won’t be forced to do it tonight. But before bed I set off to take a few thousand steps.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, nor should it be used as a substitute for specific medical advice. To the extent that this article contains the advice of any doctor or health care professional, the views expressed are the views of the expert quoted and do not necessarily reflect the views of goop.

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