Oura ring: The Traveller Toolkit for the Post-Pandemic Flier
Early starts, late finishes, airport delays and aircraft changes can all conspire to make the frequent travellers day longer. Energy and its conservation are at a premium for travellers especially when you can’t factor disruption proximity into your travel day. Stress triggers are plentiful in the path of the frequent traveller going about his or her business, which is another drain on energy. The challenge is frequent fliers don’t have the downtime to sufficiently rebuild their energy before they take off again, this makes focusing on the quality of sleep an important element of a healthy frequent flier travel wellness approach.
Best non-medical device
Without opting for medical grade sleep equipment or being able to pop into a sleep clinic for a polysomnograph the next best thing in the consumer market is the Oura ring. Now in its third iteration and having been independently tested and widely adopted the Oura ring is the go to piece of wearable tech for sleep monitoring, it gives quality analysis and has a nudge factor to help you achieve better energy through managing your sleep and resilience better.
What you measure you can improve
Oura ring monitors your resilience via a readiness score, your movement activity including exercise, and your sleep. The ring works with an iOS and Android app which gives you a daily readout of how you slept and moved the following morning. Sleep monitoring is especially useful when you come to understand the value of the different types of sleep as you can adjust your sleep routine to be more rested and productive from the feedback you get.
A standout feature of the Oura ring is the site where it gathers data. As a ring worn at the base of your finger is able to capture a rich source of data and use this with algorithms to bring you accurate feedback. It is thought that Oura ring 3 is even more accurate than previous versions, some of which were measured against the gold standard polysomnograph*.
For travel wellness purposes statistics to note on a regular basis are your daily readiness score, your sleep score and your heart rate variability. Furthermore depending on the kind of challenge you are facing you might want to pay attention to the amount and quality of Deep sleep and REM sleep you get on a daily basis. Typically deep sleep is known to be particularly restorative to physical energy while REM sleep is known to help with memory and learning.
Data and trends
Other stats you may be interested in monitoring include your body temperature, your resting heart rate and your nighttime heart rate variability measurement. Nighttime heart rate variability is particularly useful because its measurements are taken throughout the night when you are at rest and are said to be a more accurate measure of recovered capacity.
More important than any one specific statistic is the trend you can track by signing into the Oura cloud platform. It syncs seamlessly to your data on the app on your phone and has more depth to how are you can see your data. This is particularly useful if you are not a fan of daily tracking. Looking at the trend and adjusting your behaviour periodically is also an alternative for those who fear becoming slaves to their data.
* de Zambotti M, Rosas L, Colrain IM, Baker FC. The Sleep of the Ring: Comparison of the ŌURA Sleep Tracker Against Polysomnography. Behav Sleep Med. 2019 Mar-Apr;17(2):124-136. doi: 10.1080/15402002.2017.1300587. Epub 2017 Mar 21. PMID: 28323455; PMCID: PMC6095823.