How to use the Oura ring data in your life


Lately, you’ve probably been hearing a lot about the Oura ring, a fairly new wearable technology that’s out on the market.

This is a very robust option to monitor several parameters of your health, and so it can be confusing about how to interpret all the data collected from this amazing, stylish, high-tec tool.

(note: this post is not sponsored...I just LOVE the product)

In this blog post, you’ll learn how to understand the following data to biohack your recovery or to optimize performance:

  • Sleep Data

  • Heart Rate Variability (HRV)

  • Heart Rate (HR)

  • Body Temperature

  • Respiratory Rate

Sleep data

Every day when I wake up I check my Oura ring app for my sleep data. The app gives you a “readiness” score.

This number is 0-100 and the higher it is the more “ideal” a day is for challenging yourself or taking it easy.

The overall number for me doesn’t vary drastically so I dive into the specific data for clues as to how well rested my body is on a given day.

The Oura ring collects numerous sleep data contributors in addition to total sleep, time in bed, sleep efficiency, resting heart rate, and sleep stages.

The data I review daily includes

1. The quantity and quality of Sleep (Optimally sleep total is no less than 7.5 hours, with 1.5 hours of both deep and REM sleep each)

2. When looking at the sleep pattern for the night optimally there would be 1 wave of REM sleep within 90 minutes of falling asleep.

3. The first ½ of the night would account for the majority of deep sleep.

4. The second ½ of the night would have REM sleep predominate

5. There optimally are 2-3 sleep cycles present that follow the expected sleep pattern: light sleep→ deep sleep → light sleep→ REM sleep)

6. The sleep latency would be less than 30 minutes.

7.The frequency of waking at night would be 0-5% of the night.

8. The timing would be that the individual was asleep by 11pm at the latest to optimize the deep sleep (when the brain cleans itself, produces key hormones, and consolidates memories.)

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) data

Heart rate variability is the exact change in time between heart beats.

A  low HRV reflects the body leaning toward sympathetic nervous system activation (fight or flight).

A high HRV suggests a greater ability to tap into the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest).

It is helpful to note both what the average and peak HRV for the night as well as to look at the trend over the night to see if there was a blunting of the HRV at some point in the night. If HRV is lower at periods of the night you may correlate these times to when you were in light sleep.

Given the previous day’s physical or emotional stressors, HRV will fluctuate, should it dip steeply both the average and the peak value, it would be advisable to verify a degree of recovery from any excessive sympathetic NS stimulus (exercise or emotional/psychological stress) prior to challenging the body again with a hard training day for instance.

Interestingly enough, when an intense workout is just right for your body you may actually see an increase in average and peak HRV.

Similarly with fasting, when someone is keto adapted, you may also see an increase in HRV.

All stress is perceived by the body the same way.

The body is unable to appreciate chemically a difference between exercise stress, poor-sleep stress, work stress, illness stress, or fasting for too long stress.

These stressors will all be reflected in parameters measured by the Oura ring such as:

  • a decrease in heart rate variability

  • an exceptionally high or low heart rate

  • an increase in body temperature

a decrease in heart rate variability, an exceptionally high or low heart rate an increase in body temperature

a decrease in heart rate variability, an exceptionally high or low heart rate an increase in body temperature

a decrease in heart rate variability, an exceptionally high or low heart rate an increase in body temperature

a decrease in heart rate variability, an exceptionally high or low heart rate an increase in body temperature

When I see changes in these numbers outside of my norm, I know there is an activation of the sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system.

I then dive into the specific data to look for patterns within the nightly data to see if any hints are there that correlate to the previous day’s activities.

For instance for me when I do a heavy leg workout I can see avg HRV go down for the night.

If I have multiple stressors for the day like a late dinner, stressful work day, poor night’s sleep, my peak HRV may also decrease significantly.

When this is the case, I know for me I would benefit from utilizing some practices to stimulate my parasympathetic nervous system such as deep breathing, meditation, and keeping my physical activities to gentle yoga and walking.

Too many days in a row of intense exercise poor sleep and or work stress and it will delay my HRV recovery time from a matter of a day or two upwards of 4-5 days.

I find this data invaluable to prevent a downward spiral into chronic fatigue and to optimize my performance.

In the last year since monitoring my Oura data I have been able to fine tune my exercise, eating, sleeping & self care to increase my average HRV by over 30 points and max HRV by 50 points!

Heart rate (HR)

Heart rate is the number of times the heart beats in 1 minute.

The ring collects heart rate as you sleep. It will show you your average heart rate, a graph of the rate as you slept, as well as the low for the night.

I look to see what is the average HR for the night, and the time of the night the heart rate reached its lowest peak.

I not only keep track of just the average for the night, but what that low rate was compared to the typical low HR (as the less the variation, the more likely the body is not feeling “stressed”)

I check to see if the heart rate varied much during the night. I also check to see how long it took for my body to “relax” --reach a low pattern for the night (the closer to waking time this occurs the more likely the body was having a more difficult time tapping into the parasympathetic nervous system.)

An elevation or drop in the average or low HR for the night greater than 2-3 beats I take note of to then see if it is trending over the previous days or if I have been pushing my body with physical or emotional stressors. This may be an indication that I need to take it easy if this has been going on for several days in a row.

When it takes the pattern for the heart rate is elevated and does not hit a low until late the morning hours this may be an indication the body was having a hard time relaxing.

I then check in with myself about how late I ate dinner, how late in the day I did my exercise, if I had any excessive emotional stressors, or even what menstrual cycle day I am.

Often times, but not always, there will be a correlation of changes seen in HRV to the HR.

Body temperature

Besides the obvious elevation in body temperature due to having a fever or is recovering from an intense workout, the Oura ring can potentially help a woman predict ovulation.

Just before ovulation the body will drop it’s temperature to a low for the cycle then will increase for the next few days to potentially help with fertilization should the opportunity arise.

This can also help with planning exercise training, especially for those ladies who’s body’s struggle to produce hormones at the adequate levels to prevent PMS symptoms

For those struggling with their hormones it can be helpful to plan training harder for the first two weeks of her cycle and once you see that nader body temp to switch to doing more gentle exercises after ovulation or those last 2 weeks of the cycle.  

Respiratory Rate

The number of inhalations taken per minute.

This number is not used in Oura ring “readiness,” or Lacey’s for that matter, however if allergies to foods or environment are present or should the body be fighting an illness or the individual be experiencing obstruction while they sleep this number may be elevated out of range from average.

I personally find this helpful when I am evaluating a client’s data who is working to reintroduce food items for instance and we are looking for subtle clues a food item does or doesn’t agree with their body.

If someone is also “stressed” and tends to chest breath when this happens you will tend to see an elevation in this number as well.


I love using the Oura Ring and other technology in my own life and helping clients utilize in their life to optimize healing & performance.

If you are interested to see how I work with clients, schedule a free, no obligation 15 minute transformational health consultation HERE.