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  • Writer's pictureEsther

COVID-19 with the Oura Ring

My Oura ring has been my go-to smart gadget tracking a ton of data for more than 18 months.

Most of the time, it has been smooth sailing and the Oura ring and I were on a challenge to finally get a Sleep score of 100.

Well, that challenge has been put on hold as I am a week into having tested positive for Covid-19, allowing me to look at some days of fighting the virus.

It was truly interesting to see how the Oura ring influenced my recovery and supported me going through the infection.

How it all began

The virus caught me at a weak moment, which may be why it hit me in the first place, but anyways, let me start at the beginning.

Last Friday, when waking up, my Readiness was 32. This was a historical low in my Oura ring journey.

However, admittingly, there were no high expectations -or likelihood- towards a high Readiness score, as it was the Friday of an exhausting week of travelling filled with work, late dinners and, thus, bad sleep. But, still, 32 was really low.

To be safe, I tested for Covid-19, but the test was negative. So, it looked like I was just exhausted from the week.

As it was Friday, it was time to drive home, and I pushed through the 10-hour road trip, knowing that by the evening, I would be home and able to relax and recover from the week.

And indeed, the following morning was much better. My Readiness went back up to 50 and my Sleep to 93, but the Oura ring still warned me about an elevated resting heart rate even though I didn't have a late dinner for the first time that week.

My heart rate averaged 74 bpm, around 20 bpm higher than usual. On top of that, my nose started running, but no wonder - didn't I spend a week travelling, including visiting the Christmas market in a bitterly cold week in December? Yes, I did.

On the next day, my Readiness went further up to 66, my Sleep to a stunning 94 and my resting heart rate averaged down to 64 bpm. But my nose kept on running, so I tested again for Covid. And even before the check line appeared, the test turned positive. Congrats - the virus eventually got me!

Well, I put my Oura ring into Rest mode, added the tag Confirmed COVID-19 and enabled the Blood Oxygen Sensing that I usually keep turned off to save battery. And my Covid-19 week began.

Symptoms and Setup

My symptoms were mild: a manageable headache and a runny nose on the first few days. To support my body, I increased my Vitamin C intake, got a solid base of other vitamins and minerals day-to-day and stayed in bed (even for work). I fasted 18/6 and focussed on two high-fat, high-protein meals per day.

No activity goals - the pure focus now was on resting my body and concentrating on recovery.

Datawise, I looked out for the following insights from the Oura ring:

  • Readiness & Sleep

  • Heart rate variability (=HRV)

  • Average resting heart rate

  • Blood Oxygen & Breathing regularity

  • Body temperature

Let the data roll - my week with Covid-19

The morning after having tested positive, the Oura ring informed me about a slightly increased body temperature. No fever, but my body was fighting the virus.

Moreover, I didn't sleep well and woke up often while still getting a solid Sleep score which I found incredibly interesting.

I am not going too much into detail with my daily stats, but here, just as one example, are the data from Monday morning - the day after I tested positive:

Data Set

Monday, Dec 19th, 2022

Readiness & Sleep

49 & 87

Average Heart rate variability (=HRV)

34 ms

Average resting heart rate

64 bpm

​Blood Oxygen & Breathing regularity

96 & Optimal

Body temperature


These data signal that I wasn't doing too great, but not too bad either. Undoubtedly, it was time to focus on recovery, as the ring told me. And so, I stayed in bed, continued to take vitamins and tried to get the virus out of my system.

In the following days, I was doing well. My nose got better, the headache was gone, and my temperature returned to normal. I bet - if it weren't a confirmed Covid-19 infection but a normal cold, I would have gone out and about again by then. Therefore, I found it increasingly important to keep an eye on the data. Does that sound odd?

Well, maybe. But while I saw a steady positive change in the data, I still averaged significantly below my usual, which might be a dangerous phase. Dangerous in a sense to get started too early and put a full recovery at risk.

The impact of the ring

Clearly, my most important learning was that even though I was feeling OK and only had mild symptoms, I wasn't healthy. I was weakened by the infection and the intense week of travelling - as the data showed.

Data isn't lying. And based on the insights from the ring, I kept resting and concentrating on recovery even longer than I might have without the ring. Whatever it might be good for.

That being said, it seems to be crucially important to look at a full data set instead of just one value to get the full picture.

While I slept a whopping 94, I only had an average HRV of 38 ms and an average resting heart rate of 61 bpm. So everything was slowly getting better, but I was not entirely back to being healthy. One optimal score does not necessarily mean everything is OK and might give a false impression of overall health.

So yes, Oura´s impact here must be acknowledged. The ring revealed how I actually was inside and enabled me to see the full picture of my overall condition.

While this might not be needed when being obviously sick and having more severe symptoms that are forcing you to stay in bed anyways, I believe that constantly having the ring at hand and being able to reply appropriately to all changes in one's health is 100% beneficial... Whatever one deems to be appropriate.

Let me end this post with today´s data to compare last Monday with this Monday and thus one week of going through an infection with Covid-19 (while still testing positive today):

Data set

Monday, Dec 19th, 2022

Monday, Dec 26th, 2022

Readiness & Sleep

49 & 87

83 & 94

Average Heart rate variability (=HRV)

34 ms

55 ms

Average resting heart rate

​64 bpm

58 bpm

​Blood Oxygen & Breathing regularity

96 & Optimal

98% & Good

Body temperature

​+0,8°C (=37,02°C)

-0,4°C (=35,89°C)

Way to go!

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