Sleep and Food: an experiment in progress
food tracking | sleep
Tim Vink is a student at Delft University of Technology, Holland. In this talk, he shares how he got started with the Quantified Self movement. He also discusses his 40 day experiment on sleep and what he learned. Currently, he's studying food because he found that food effects your clarity levels.
clock | phone
Hi everyone, my name’s Tim Vink. I’m from Holland. I study at Delft University of Technology, and I’m quite new to the whole Quantified Self thing. I found it online and I was invited to do a little show and tell about how I got into it, so I’m happy to share.
So first of all how I got stated and how I got hooked and now what I’m working on right now. So how did I get started?
Earlier this year I started an experiment, a 40 day experiment on sleep which was quite interesting. Basically there are two schools; the nature school says you should just let nature do its work. Go to bed when you feel tired, wake up when you wake up yourself ad that will give you the optimum amount of sleep.
The other school says you should use structure and discipline. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every day. Likes the monks do. They have a very structured life, and they’re able to sleep five, six hours a night and they feel fine apparently.
But the thing is with the nature school, if you do that you tend to oversleep. You sleep nine to 10 hours every day, you still feel a bit drowsy and the structure , discipline, and drawback of that is that it’s not possible in modern life, but also that your body doesn’t need the same amount of sleep every night due to physical activity or whatever.
So the solution is simple apparently, I read it on a blog it said basically you should go to be when you feel tired and get up at the same time every day.
I decided to wake up at 8 o’clock every day for 40 days regardless of parties or whatever and I also heard that if you want set a goal you should measure it otherwise you’re not going to make it. so I did the most simple thing I could think of. I followed Ura’s advice apparently, keep it simple. I just took my iPhone I wrote down what time I fell asleep and what time I woke up; the most basic thing. And it worked quite well. I always fall asleep within 10 minutes, so it’s actually very accurate.
I eventually made graph, these are the results. As you can see I managed fairly well to wake up. Sometimes I overslept a little bit but I managed. It was interesting.
This is another graph, the red line at the top is the eight hour mark. You can see I slept a lot less than eight hours and usually I need to sleep more than eight hours to feel okay. So for me it was really interesting. All of a sudden I slept for seven hour and 10 minutes on average a night. I was still a little bit sleepy, so I needed some power naps, but I was enthusiastic because I was saving time and I’m proving myself and I’m measuring it. And I also found that when I went to sleep I slept like a rock because I was more tired.
So that’s basically how I got started into this whole apparently the Quantified Self thing. Then I got hooked, because if you start measuring things you keep on measuring things and it becomes a habit. So now I have eight months of data, and I have no Zeo REM deep sleep, but it’s still quite interesting. And what fascinates me is that I have passed eight months of my life at a perspective otherwise you would never see.
So the top one is the total amount of hours; you can see during the summer especially I didn’t sleep that much, now I’m sleeping a lot more. But just eight hours, and also what time I go to bed and what time I wake up. Apparently I slept in after some parties during the summer, so it was very interesting.
And of course the question is what did I learn from all this, so it’s not only fun to see this, but you should get something out of it. And I can say surprisingly not that much actually. You would think that if you track your sleep that would be fine in how rested you feel, and yes there’s a correlation, but I found that the correlation’s not that big. Sometimes I sleep 10 hours and still feel drowsy and sometimes I sleep six and feel super alert all day.
So that’s my observations, and I also find for example my environment like this comes to mind. You talk to a lot of people, it’s stimulating, it keeps you awake and keeps you sharp. And if you have an environment where your behind your computer, on your own, by yourself you find that eight hours of sleep is not enough and you still start to fall asleep so that’s all very interesting.
So what do I do now? Finally, I’m studying a lot about food because I also found that food effects your clarity levels, about supplements and eating healthy. And I also came here to learn more about how to measure more things and manage your energy levels. So I’m very happy to be here and get inspired by you all.
Thank you very much.