The Oura smart ring adds chronotypes, but without the cute animals

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Over the past year, wearable makers have begun adding sleep profiles, or chronotypes, associated with adorable cartoon animals to help users better understand their circadian rhythms. For example, Fitbit Premium users can find out if their shaky sleep patterns mean they’re a giraffe or a turtle, while Samsung Galaxy Watch owners can find out if they’re a sun-averse mole or a nervous penguin. So it’s no surprise that the feature is now coming to the Oura Ring sleep tracker – although sadly it doesn’t include cute animals.

The new body clock feature will tell you how well your sleeping habits match your chronotype’s “optimal” schedule.
Image: Oura

Starting this week, Oura users will be assigned chronotypes based on body temperature, sleep-wake times, and physical activity over a three-month period — essentially, whether you’re an early riser or a night owl. Traditionally, chronotypes are associated with four animals — a wolf, lion, bear, or dolphin — based on the animals’ natural sleeping patterns. Wearable companies have taken some creative liberties on this front to represent different data patterns, but Oura sticks to a more straightforward approach. Instead, the app tells you whether your body prefers mornings or evenings and how strong that affinity is. For example, early birds can be divided into early morning, morning, or late morning types. Each type also comes with some tips to help users take full advantage of their natural rhythms.

In the same vein, Oura introduces a body clock function. Based on your chronotype, the app will tell you how well your sleep habits match an “optimal” sleep schedule. Over time, Oura plans to incorporate time windows for better focus, activity, and rest. The latter sounds similar to Rise Science, a sleep tracking app that recommends certain times of the day for activity and work based on your circadian rhythms.

No cute animals, but a lot of good information.
Image: Oura

Speaking of sleep schedules, Oura adds support for people with irregular sleep schedules, such as shift workers or those who prefer to sleep in short periods rather than a single eight-hour block. These less common sleep patterns are now taken into account when calculating your overall sleep score.

To round off the new sleep features, Oura is adding a new sleep schedule. As the name suggests, the metric is a measure of how consistently a user slept over a two-week period. That metric is then factored into the Readiness Score, which is Oura’s way of telling users how hard they should be pushing themselves on any given day. The Oura app is also about to become more colorful. Instead of using blue and red to indicate “good” or “bad” progress on a particular stat, users will start seeing yellow to indicate “fair” progress.

Most of these features will be available for both the Gen 2 and Gen 3 versions of the Oura Ring. However, the body clock and chronotype feature are exclusive to the Gen 3 and require an active subscription. The same goes for Oura’s new sleep staging algorithm, which is currently in beta.

As one of the first dedicated recovery trackers, Oura has been at the forefront of sleep tracking, temperature data and preparedness for the past few years. However, a growing number of smartwatches and fitness trackers have started fleshing out their sleep and recovery features.

For example, Fitbit rolled out a Daily Readiness Score at the end of 2021 and Garmin has also introduced several training functions in which sleep and preparedness are central. Meanwhile, Apple and Samsung have added temperature sensors to the Apple Watch Series 8 and Galaxy Watch 5 for better sleep and temperature data. Samsung also recently announced that it is following in Oura’s footsteps and partnering with Natural Cycles to use said temperature sensors for digital birth control. Given all the competition, it makes sense why Oura decided to add its own take on chronotypes and circadian rhythms — a sleep-tracking feature that’s relatively new and not yet widespread.

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