Oura has added a new feature to their Oura Ring 3, Blood Oxygen Sensing, measuring the blood oxygen level (SpO2). This feature enabled the ring to give you two new insights while you sleep, your Average Blood Oxygen and your Breathing Regularity. The Average Blood Oxygen feature measures the percentage of oxygen in your blood like a standard oximeter and the Breathing Regularity feature can detect unusual breathing patterns throughout the night.
This feature was not present when the ring was released, the Oura ring was updated during the summer of 2022 to enable this promised feature.
There are some limitations and the Average Blood Oxygen and Breathing Regularity are measured during sleep periods longer than three hours.
“By continuously tracking and quantifying changes in blood oxygen levels in addition to heart rate, heart rate variability, breathing rate, temperature, and movement, the Oura Ring will now be able to provide a more comprehensive assessment of sleep health and physiology,”Shyamal Patel, Ph.D., Head of Science at Oura.
The Impact Of Blood Oxygen On Your Health
Oxygen is essential to many of your bodily processes. After you breathe in oxygen from the air, it goes through your lungs and into your bloodstream. The blood oxygen level is a measure of the amount of oxygen in your blood. Your body needs a certain amount of oxygen in order to function properly, and low blood oxygen levels can lead to serious complications.
“As we breathe, oxygen travels into the lungs, then into the bloodstream”. “The amount of oxygen in the blood is referred to as your blood oxygen level, and your entire body needs oxygen to function properly.”Rebecca Robbins, Ph.D
Typically, healthy blood oxygen levels are between 95% and 100%. Some common causes of low blood oxygen levels include a high-altitude environment, lung diseases such as asthma, sleep apnea, heart disease, certain medications, and alcohol.
“If you see lower-than-usual levels of blood oxygen, it could suggest that your circulatory system and/or lungs are not working properly, which could lead to health complications if not addressed.”Rebecca Robbins, Ph.D
The new Breathing Regularity feature tells you how many suspected disturbances of observable drops in your average blood oxygen levels were detected during your sleep.
The Oura Ring is not a medical device and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, monitor, or prevent medical conditions/illnesses.
How The Oura Ring Detects Blood Oxygen Levels
The Oura Ring 3 measures SpO2 with the help of a red and infrared LED sensor, the sensor was added on the Gen3 and is not available on the older rings (Gen1 and Gen2). The ring uses red and infrared light and measures the reflected light that bounces back to estimate how much oxygen that is in your blood. Richly oxygenated blood reflects more red light than infrared light, while poorly oxygenated blood reflects more infrared light than red light.
This is the same approach that a normal pulse oximeter uses, analyzing the light from a light source that passes through the fingertip o determine the percentage of oxygen in the red blood cell.
“Building this feature took a lot of creativity, innovation, and hard work from Oura’s R&D teams for more than a year, and we are thrilled to put it in the hands of our members,”Shyamal Patel, Ph.D., Head of Science at Oura.
How To Enable Blood Oxygen Sensing Feature
The Average Blood Oxygen and Breathing Regularity are turned on by default. To toggle them on or off.
- Navigate to “Breathing Regularity” in the main menu.
- Toggle Average Blood Oxygen and Breathing Regularity on or off.
Using the Blood Oxygen Sensing will impact the ring’s battery life as it uses the additional ring sensors to measure the level.
Where To Find the Average Blood Oxygen percentage and Breathing Regularity Data
Your Average Blood Oxygen percentage and Breathing Regularity can be found in the Sleep tab of the app. Keep in mind that the ring needs you to sleep for more than three hours to record a value.
The Breathing Regularity will be categorized as:
- Optimal: no significant variations to display
- Good: few variations detected (dark blue line)
- Fair: occasional variations detected (light blue line)
- Pay attention: frequent variations detected (white line)