Tracking your recovery - the wellness revolution?
If you are remotely invested in your health and wellbeing, you’ve probably been hit with information regarding your rest, recovery and/or sleep and how they are one of the most important factors for consideration when it comes to your health.
We are not here to dispute this fact, because that is what it is (a fact) – the quality of recovery is one of the most important factors when it comes to improving your fitness, and more importantly, your health.
Thanks to modern tech, we are now able to track our recovery like never before and in today's post we are going to review two of the more prolific products currently available – the Ōura Ring and the Whoop Band.
Sleep is probably the most important factor to consider when tracking your recovery and both products certainly focus the majority of their information on that.
The Ōura Ring
The Oura Ring assesses and gives feedback on 3 major areas.
First is your readiness, using tools such as sleep quality, daily activity, HRV balance and body temperature the Oura ring aims to provide feedback about how you are/should be feeling.
Second is your sleep through data on your sleep stages, your total sleep time and your sleep efficiency.
The final area is feedback on your activity with information on calories, steps, inactivity, and training volume to name a few.
The Whoop Band
The categories of what the Whoop Band assesses and provides feedback on are a little larger though predominantly the same.
Firstly, it tracks the performance of your sleep.
It monitors and makes suggestions on how much sleep you need by setting a baseline, referencing your recent strain, taking into account your sleep debt and recent naps.
It tracks your sleep stages including wake, light sleep, deep sleep and REM sleep.
It provides personalised sleep advice (coach) as well as sleep trends (suggestion on how you'd feel in reference to your sleep) as well as track your strain and how your body is responding to all of these factors.
In comparison of both/all other devices available on the market when considering sleep, scientist Matthew Walker noted on a recent podcast that the devices are not particularly accurate when it comes to categorising the sleep stages at a comprehensive “4 class model” (awake, light non-rem, deep non-rem and rem).
He goes on to say that although there is error when it comes to genuine accuracy of such devices, major deviances within the typical “error” are certainly worth considering - put simply, the data you get after a poor night's sleep compared to a good night's sleep is important and worth consideration/action to try and reduce!
To take a thorough look into the science we suggest (to those of you that are interested) dive into this recent article - Evaluations of Commercial Sleep Technologies for Objective Monitoring During Routine Sleeping Conditions.
Some of the major points of the article regarding the Ōura Ring and Whoop bands, which appears to be one of the first third party independent assessments of the efficacy of commercial sleep tracking technology, include:
- General sleep wake error is lower than sleep stage error (we knew this).
- The Ōura Ring appeared to have lower magnitudes of error when it came to measuring total sleep time, total wake time and sleep efficiency. This is due to higher quality tracking using photoplethysmography (PPE).
- WHOOP performed similarly to Fitbit and Ōura Ring with respect to total sleep time, although error margins for total wake time and sleep efficiency were nearly doubled.
Considerations for the study is that it was published in October 2020, each of the brands may have updated/released new tech since and it was conducted on only 5 participants – which is a typically small sample size (reduces the effectiveness of the data).
Over all, both products are a testament to how far tech has come and a great insight into where tech is going in regard to preventative health and wellness measurement.
As far as our recommendations, it depends on what you're after.
The Oura Ring provides a higher quality assessment, particularly when it comes to sleep. The Whoop Band seems to provide (or at least attempt to) a greater range of information (which sometimes isn’t always a good thing).
We haven’t included any pricing information, if you’re interested in that we are sure you’ll work it out for yourself.
What we will say is that the time has come to start really considering your recovery through assessment, particularly if you want to perform at a high level in anything that you do.
Both these products allow us to do so and we look forward to what is to come in this space.