Sleep is one of the pillars of performance, without it, basic bodily functions are hard to carry out. The first issue I run into with people when we are talking about sleep is the number of hours they are getting, often there is just simply not enough sleep going on, other things like watching TV seem to take priority!
However when we get over that hurdle the next thing I need to know if we are looking at maximizing someones performance is what the quality of their sleep is like. The old school way would be to rate it out of ten, how many times did you wake up in the night, how did you feel when you woke up in the morning or what was your dream activity like. For me these are just not quantitative enough. I am a nerd for specifics, for some data that I can look at in a chart and analyze.
Cue this little bad boy on my wrist below. I picked this up 2 months ago and have been wearing it ever night since. What is it? It’s called a Fit Bit device which amongst a few other functions gives me some great data on my sleep, not only the time I am asleep but also the number of times I have woken in the night, therefore the number of hours I have actually been asleep and therefore able to give me an efficiency reading as a % which I clearly love!
It is so simple to use. Click that button on top when my head hits the pillow and the thing acts as a stop watch until I click it off again on waking. As it sits on my non dominant wrist it detects any movement I make during the night which Fit Bit deduce to be a disturbance in my sleep. So on waking and syncing the device I can see the total time I was in bed, the number of times I woke and from this the total time I was sleeping and the efficiency of my sleep. Pretty cool stuff huh?
Here is a graph of a recent nights sleep.
This is very self explanatory, but what it does, is allow me to set specific sleep goals which I know I need to hit to optimize my performance. I personally review these weekly and track and changes in my performance and then plan for the coming week. I find that if I check my week’s sleep just before the weekend I can then map how much I need on the weekend to hit my weekly targets. I would advise that you work your targets on a weekly basis with this sort of update and once you get it right enjoy the benefits!
I am hoping to catch up with the guys from Fit Bit in a podcast very soon to discuss their technology in more detail, that podcast will be available in iTunes so keep your eyes open for it.
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