Oura Ring review: Why Kim Kardashian and Gwyneth Paltrow have swapped diamonds for data

In a world bursting with wearable fitness devices, The National tries out the gadget loved by A-listers on the back of a new UAE partnership

The Oura Ring tracks and analyses sleep duration and quality, as well as heart-rate variability, blood oxygen rate and body temperature. Photo: GluCare
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There’s not much I have in common with Kim Kardashian, Prince Harry and Will Smith. I’ve never broken the internet, lost at strip poker in Vegas or disgraced myself at the Oscars.

When it comes to our bling, however, all of us have a penchant for something chunky and eye-catching, that purportedly monitors everything from stress levels to heart health.

The Oura Ring is a health and sleep-tracking device that has been a favourite of fitness enthusiasts and celebrities since its launch in 2015. Goop-loving Gwyneth Paltrow has one, as does MMA-loving Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg.

Now, the tracker has set its sights on the UAE market with a partnership with Dubai diabetes centre GluCare.

What is the Oura Ring?

While the rings have been available in the region for a while, the partnership means wearers can sit down with a doctor and go through all the metrics that Oura gathers, potentially picking up any risk factors and enabling a personalised health plan.

Now in its third version, the Oura Ring tracks and analyses a host of metrics, including heart-rate variability, blood oxygen rate, body temperature and sleep duration. It then uses this data to provide daily scores, tallying the quality of your sleep, activity, “readiness” and resilience, which gives an insight into daily stress.

By combining personalised stats with medical expertise, GluCare plans to provide its members with tailored health plans, taking the wearables trend to new heights.

I’m no stranger to wearables. I’ve been through more Fitbits than I care to count and I love smashing a step count goal. The Oura, however, is pricier with options starting at $299 on the brand’s website, though GluCare members get theirs for free.

The pros: Sleep and stress, sorted

The Oura Ring is made of titanium and comes in black, gold, silver or stealth (matte black) options. But the sleek aesthetics are only the beginning.

I find the biggest benefit of the ring is the sleep tracker. Oura calculates my sleep score by looking at total sleep time, sleep efficiency (the time spent asleep versus time awake) and the time spent in each stage of sleep.

The future of medicine is in real time – it's continuous and it's in your back pocket
Ali Hashemi, co-founder, GluCare

It also looks at sleep latency (how long it takes to drift off) and how often I wake up and move during the night. Over 90 days, the Oura app also looks at my body clock and gives me an optimal sleep schedule.

If I manage to not fall asleep on the sofa, I always drag myself to bed relatively early but rise feeling exhausted, which Oura reveals is due to waking up countless times in the night. By using the app’s sleep and mindfulness exercises, I learn to wind down properly before bed, creating a relaxing environment and learning better bedtime habits.

Another aspect I am a fan of is the resilience feature, which teaches wearers how to track, understand and manage stress. In the Oura app, I am given a resilience grade, from exceptional to limited, based on an algorithm that uses recovery and stress metrics to evaluate how I’m coping with pressure.

For example, if resilience is low, this might show up as an elevated heart rate, lower health variability or poor sleep. Surprisingly, I discover that my most stressful days are on the weekend, where I might burn the candle at both ends with socialising, exercising and generally trying to cram in as many activities as possible.

Experts are always telling us that recovery is an important part of staying fit, and I find the Oura’s encouragement to rest to be far more satisfying than annoying reminders to move – though, thankfully, these can be switched off, permanently in my case.

The cons: Procrastination and price tags

The drawbacks of the Oura Ring are probably more personality flaws than product failures, but I find low readiness scores to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Why bother starting this project / doing that workout / having that difficult conversation when I’m clearly not ready for it? With the data to prove it.

It’s obvious that sometimes you just need to take the bull by the horns, regardless of how many hours you’ve slept, but for a self-confessed procrastinator, it gives me another excuse to put off difficult tasks until a day I was more “ready” for them.

Secondly, there’s the hefty price tag. The Oura isn’t cheap, though neither are ClassPass memberships or fancy gym leggings, and I’m happy to fork out for those.

GluCare members needn’t worry about the price, which is included in their subscription, some of which are covered by insurance or otherwise start from Dh995 per month.

The integrated diabetes centre also offers endocrinology, cardiology, thyroid, paediatric, reproductive and obesity care. Its hybrid model combines human expertise and machine learning.

“The future of medicine is in real time – it's continuous and it's in your back pocket,” says GluCare’s co-founder, Ali Hashemi.

“It's based on data that your body is streaming to the cloud 24/7 and having a model like that requires you to have a human team that has the intelligence and capability to synthesise all that real-time data.

“That insight can help you make better decisions in your life and change your own outcomes, giving you agency over your own care.”

And, with a repeat prescription for daily naps in my hands, Oura might just be what the doctor ordered. If only I could put off all that procrastination.

More information is available at glucare.health

Updated: February 28, 2024, 10:56 AM