Why Oura Ring has a green light problemDec 07, 2022
I excitedly go to bed with my new Gen 3 Oura Ring on for the first time.
I put my blue-blockers away, turn out the light and start to drift off, safe in the knowledge that tomorrow I’ll get all the stats I’d ever wanted about my night of slumber.
But before I finally fall asleep, I’m awoken by what feels like a green fireworks display centimetres from my head.
Welcome to the Oura Ring Generation 3.
It uses green LEDs to capture heart rate data. And unfortunately, while those green LEDs were originally intended for daytime use, it seems a lot of people are now having their sleep affected by them.
There is a considerable body of research to suggest that bright light at night can disrupt circadian rhythm and sleep. So it’s disappointing that a device which is all about improving your sleep should seemingly do just the opposite.
Previously, the Oura Ring used infrared light only - invisible to the naked eye. Which is why so many users have such a problem now.
I should add I’m a huge Oura Ring fan. I think it’s a brilliant bit of kit, which is exactly why I upgraded. But I’m not a fan at the expense of affected sleep.
I reached out to Oura on the app and they sent me this reply.
Once in a while, you might catch a faint green glow coming from the green LEDs within your Gen3 Oura Ring. The Gen3 ring’s hardware is equipped with Green LEDs, which enables heart rate sensing during the day while you're awake. More specifically, green LEDs enable Gen3 to detect your daytime heart rate, live heart rate, and workout heart rate (a feature to come in the near future).
It is also possible that you notice the green LEDs when you wake up in the night to use the bathroom, for example. This is expected if the ring senses you are awake.
Well I can tell them that it flashes all night long.
I can simply be lying in bed, doing nothing and it will flash.
My young son might wake me up and I’ll go to look after him and it’ll flash at both of us.
As I get back into bed it’ll continue to flash, again impairing my melatonin and my ability to get back to sleep.
And what is a ‘faint green glow’ during the day, is seriously bright at night.
Most damning, my sleep stats on my new Oura Ring indicate less deep sleep since I upgraded. Hmmm.
I’m no scientist, and I’m happy to be proven wrong if I’m barking up the wrong tree here.
However, I’ve spoken to plenty of scientists on my podcast. And they all seem to agree the research shows light and circadian rhythm are intimately linked. If you want links to that research, start here, or here, or just google bright light and sleep research.
- So is this intentional?
- Have I got a faulty ring?
- Are other people experiencing the same issue at night?
- Can Oura somehow update their hardware so this doesn’t occur?
Please do leave your thoughts below. Until then, I’m going back to my old Oura Ring from three years ago. (A bit of a shame since the new one cost me $399 plus £60 import tax but there you go.)
UPDATE: Recently Oura Ring have updated the app, and now ring flashes red AND green throughout the night. No your Oura Ring is not malfunctioning. This really is supposed to happen - apparently. We wait for an update where we can turn this intense flashing off at night - it’s so bright. In theory the red light shouldn’t cause such an issue to our circadian rhythm, but it’s still annoying and not conducive to calming before bed/during the night.
This red light represents Blood Oxygen Sensing. It is clearly a really useful feature, but unfortunate that it disrupts sleep. It can be toggled on and off by going to the main menu (top left) and clicking on Breathing regularity
NEXT: Read my blog: Surprising Oura Ring sleep insights to help you improve your HRV and sleep scores and subscribe to my newsletter at the bottom of the page.