The Oura smart ring can now tell whether someone is a morning person or a night owl and adjust their sleep schedule accordingly.
It's part of a suite of new sleep-tracking features Oura announced Wednesday, the latest sign that tech companies are increasingly focused on sleep as a wellness metric in new products. The new features will be available alongside Oura's other health and wellness metrics for those who subscribe to the company's $6 monthly service.
Oura members will be able to see their chronotype, which is the body's natural preference for either the morning or evening. Oura measures activity, sleep-wake cycle and body temperature to assign a chronotype, even claiming to tell whether someone is a morning person or an early morning person. The app will include a description with a definition of the user's chronotype along with an optimal sleep schedule.
From our Best Fitness Trackers list: "The third-generation Oura Ring is a set-and-forget wearable. Put it on like a regular ring and in the background it will track your sleep, skin temperature and heart rate. [...] But unlike earlier models of the Oura Ring, this version requires a $6-a-month subscription -- without it you'll just get access to a daily readiness score." Read our hands-on impressions of the Oura Ring.
"By revealing this information to users, our goal is that they can work with the grain in terms of their circadian rhythm, rather than against it, which ultimately is going to help with natural energy levels, sleep patterns, etcetera," said Jason Russell, senior director of product at Oura.
Oura is adding a handful of other updates to sleep tracking as well, including a body clock feature that shows whether a person's slumber was aligned with their optimal sleep schedule. Other new metrics include Sleep Regularity, which shows whether sleep was consistent over the past two weeks, and an expanded version of Sleep Scores that now analyzes shorter sleep sessions. The latter might be useful for polyphasic sleepers or those who work night shifts. Oura is also adding a new "fair" rating for sleep quality to provide a middle ground between other ratings like "optimal" or "pay attention."
"We think fair is a better characterization for that," said Russell. "That calls your attention to it in a light way."
Most of the new sleep features are available across the Gen 2 and Gen 3 Oura rings, although certain metrics like the chronotype and body clock are exclusive to the Gen 3.
The announcement comes amid a fixation on sleep within the wearable tech industry. At CES 2023 in January, watchmaker Citizen debuted a smartwatch that promises it can help boost alertness by understanding a wearer's chronotype and making recommendations accordingly.
Apple also brought the ability to track sleep stages to the Apple Watch last year, while Fitbit and Samsung introduced more detailed sleep tracking that assigns animal-themed mascots to symbolize sleep patterns. Oura's latest update could be seen as a move to stay ahead of rivals in what became a more competitive space in 2022.
Oura had a breakout moment during the early stages of the pandemic when it formed a partnership with the NBA to use its wellness rings to detect potential COVID-19 symptoms. But it's also garnered a following among celebrities like Prince Harry and Jennifer Aniston.
Oura is now on the third generation of its ring, which CNET's Scott Stein praised for its daily sleep and wellness analysis, but criticized for its high $300 price, which doesn't include the monthly subscription necessary to access most features.