Executive Briefing

Oura and the future of health

The startup behind this $300 sleep tracking ring wants to “transform your health” and help save the NBA. Can it win in Apple’s world?

Oura ring
Courtesy Oura

A few months ago, as the Covid-19 outbreak was getting scary in the US, I started having trouble falling asleep for the first time in my life. And once I finally managed to drift off each night… the dreams! They were something else.

With everything going on — pandemic crisis, stuck at home, existential uncertainty — I thought this would be an interesting time to start tracking my sleep and see what, if anything, I could learn from it.

So for the past 12 weeks, I’ve been wearing an Oura ring, which tracks your vitals and activity — with a special focus on sleep — on loan from the company.

Oura is a $300 ring-shaped computer that you wear on your finger — whichever one you want — with a bunch of sensors built in, measuring your heart rate, breathing rate, body temperature, and movement.

The ring, which comes in eight sizes, syncs with the free Oura app on your smartphone via Bluetooth — no subscription required — which also serves as a basic daily activity tracker.

But its main thing is detailed sleep tracking and analysis. Oura measures and illustrates your different sleep stages — deep, light, REM — and highlights when you’re awake in the middle of the night. And in the morning, it calculates an overall score for each night’s sleep session and a “readiness” score for the day.

Before, I used to check email and Twitter first thing after I woke up. Now it’s my Oura score.

The New Consumer Executive Briefing is exclusive to members — join now to unlock this 1,500-word post and the entire archive. Subscribers should sign in here to continue reading.

Dan Frommer

Hi, I’m Dan Frommer and this is The New Consumer, a publication about how and why people spend their time and money.

I’m a longtime tech and business journalist, and I’m excited to focus my attention on how technology continues to profoundly change how things are created, experienced, bought, and sold. The New Consumer is supported entirely by your membership — join now to receive my reporting, analysis, and commentary directly in your inbox, via my twice-weekly, member-exclusive newsletter. Thanks in advance.

Join: $60 / Quarter Join: $200 / Year More Options