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

Over the past year, wearable makers have started adding sleep profiles, or chronotypes, associated with cute cartoon animals to help users better understand their circadian rhythms. For instance, Fitbit Premium users can discover whether their wonky sleep patterns mean they’re a giraffe or a tortoise, while Samsung Galaxy Watch owners can find out whether they’re a sun-averse mole or a nervous penguin. So it’s hardly a surprise that the feature is now coming to the Oura Ring sleep tracker — though, regrettably, it doesn’t come with any adorable animals.

The new body clock feature will tell you how well your sleep habits align with 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 bird 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 reflect different data patterns, but Oura is sticking with a more straightforward approach. Instead, the app tells you whether your body prefers mornings or evenings as well as how strong that affinity is. For example, early birds can be categorized into early-morning, morning, or late-morning types. Each type also comes with some tips to help users best take advantage of their natural rhythms.

Along the same vein, Oura is introducing a body clock feature. Based on your chronotype, the app will tell you how well your sleeping habits align with an “optimal” sleep schedule. Down the line, Oura plans to include windows of time for better focus, activity, and rest. The latter sounds similar to Rise Science, a sleep tracking app that recommends certain times of day for activities and work based on your circadian rhythms.

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

Speaking of sleep schedules, Oura is adding support for people with irregular sleeping schedules, like shift workers or people who prefer sleeping in spurts as opposed to a single eight-hour block. These less common sleep patterns will now be taken into consideration when tabulating your overall Sleep Score.

To round out the new sleep features, Oura is adding a new Sleep Regularity metric. As the name suggests, the metric is a gauge of how consistently a user has slept over a two-week period. That metric then feeds into the Readiness Score, which is Oura’s way of telling users how hard they should push themselves on a given day. The Oura app is also about to get more colorful. Instead of using blue and red to indicate “good” or “bad” progress on a certain metric, users will start seeing yellow to represent “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 will be exclusive to the Gen 3 and will require an active subscription. The same is true for Oura’s new sleep staging algorithm, which is currently in beta.

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

Fitbit, for example, rolled out a Daily Readiness Score at the end of 2021, and Garmin has also introduced multiple training features centering around sleep and readiness. Meanwhile, Apple and Samsung added temperature sensors to the Apple Watch Series 8 and Galaxy Watch 5 for better sleep and temperature data. Samsung also recently announced it’s 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 a lot of sense why Oura’s decided to add its own take on chronotypes and circadian rhythms — a sleep tracking feature that’s relatively new and not as widespread just yet.

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