What I learned From Extensive Morning Tracking
Peter Joosten is a blogger and he blogs in Dutch about Quantified Self. The main part of his blog is on his monthly experiments. He tries something new every month. There are three categories, sometimes he stops doing things, sometimes he introduces new things, and sometimes he try to optimize certain things. For the last two years, he ran these month-long experiments that have taught him about what affects how he feels in the morning. He looks at sleep quality, room temperature, heart rate, and heart rate variability. In this talk, he shares what he has learned from his extensive morning tracking.
Hi, my name is Peter Joosten and I’m a blogger. I blog in Dutch about Quantified Self and I also write about this event, and I’m going to talk about what I’ve learned from extensive morning tracking. You can find my blog on Project Leven dot NL, and like I said I make reviews about products and apps and I also write about (cross phase? 00:37) and other things, but my main part of my blog is actually my monthly experiments. For every month I try something new.
There are three categories, sometimes I stop doing things, sometimes I introduce new things, and sometimes I try to optimize certain things.
The first category: sometimes I stop for a month, with drinking coffee, eating meat, or doing social media, or taking warm showers. That was in the winter and it was a kind of fun experiment for me.
And sometimes I try to do certain things like meditation, 10,000 steps every day or the LOMAD, that’s the protocol to gain some muscles so you can see how it works….not.
And the third category is how I tried to optimize certain things, like how can I boost my intelligence, or optimize my sleep quality, or learn a new language. And that’s when I took a haircut in Indonesia.
Why do I do these experiments? I don’t like to live on the automatic pilot so I try certain things. I’m curious and without some of the experiments I try to optimize my life.
And how do I do it? I use different methods, and as you can see later on in this presentation I use different apps and gadgets and I write reviews about it, and the findings are both quantitative and qualitative.
And you can think what is my challenge for this month, and for this month is to come up with the ideal morning routine. And my assumption is that a good night of sleep and a good morning routine makes a perfect day. So I’m curious in either elements, or all the free elements, like you can hear this morning sleep is really important for your mental and physical well-being.
So that’s the things I looked at for this show and tell presentation, and the other element which has a lot of attention lately are morning routines. There are books about waking up at five and there’s a website, My Morning Routine dot com, where people are interviewed about their morning routines, and I’m also hugely interested in morning routines. I can talk hours about it.
And the reason I have a morning routine is that I like to get all my measurements and tracking done in the morning and then I don’t have to think about it anymore, so this means really gets it, get it over with. Let’s get it done and move on with the day.
So to get to the ideal morning routine, I looked at all my past experiments for the last two years and I picked out some certain things concerning my sleep and concerning my morning routine. So I’m kind of constructing the model to come up with the ideal morning routine at least for me.
So there are three elements that I want to pick out. The first one is that I think I looked at my heart as the primary biomarker. So I look at my morning heartrate and my heartrate variability and when these scores are good and I combine it with a good morning routine and I have the perfect day and I can kick some ass.
So let’s start with the first element, that’s heartrate variability. Actually, it’s an experiment that I’m still doing and I’m looking at sleep quality and I put on my chest band and measure my heartrate variability. For that I use two apps; the HRV Sense and the Sleep Cycle. But for the data set I have for now I did not find a clear relationship yet, because I would expect both lines to be congruent if they were both high or both low.
The other element I said about the heart is the morning heartrate, and for that I just looked at my Sleep Cycle app because for all experiments sometimes I track it and sometimes I don’t. I just look at all the data I have from the app and what I found is quite what I expected because there’s a little negative relationship which means that if I have a good sleep quality it leads to a lower morning heartrate. That means I’m well rested and prepared to attack the day.
I’m a huge coffee lover, so I looked at caffeine, and that’s another method I used. I just stopped with drinking coffee and tea for one month. So I had a control month and an intervention month if you can say it, and I measured it with another app. And I found when I stopped drinking coffee my sleep quality increased and I was less tired and I was awake on average during the night. So that’s not a finding I liked actually.
Another thing that was more related to morning routines is meditation. So I did in June and July I had a Muse headband which you can measure your percentage of calm, your percentage of focus. And I just used it at random moments and I analyzed the data afterwards which I found that there is a 7% difference between when I meditate in the morning and when I meditate in the afternoon or the evening.
So that’s also one of my conclusions, I don’t need to meditate in the morning, so I do it in the afternoon or the evening.
I try to limit my amount of caffeine, and for me the most important finding is the quality of your day actually starts the day before because when you have a good night’s sleep then you can have a good day.
And for now I’m trying also certain ne morning habits like reading for 10 minutes and doing Duel -2-back training, it’s a kind of intelligence training on your working memory.
And data wise, Quantified Self wise I learnt two lessons also for preparing for the show and tell. One lesson is it always pays off to collect your data; also you can look at it afterwards and find some interesting results. And I had some issues with some companies to export the data and that’s still an issue.
Like always, my work is not done. I’m now looking at also variables which influence sleep, like exercise, or food or maybe upcoming events at work. And of course what is the result.
I’m now looking at more qualitative so I’m journaling every morning and evening. To look at my morning routines, what are the things I did and didn’t do, and what kind of effect it had on me during the rest of the day.
And actually like I said, I can talk for hours about your morning routine , so I would like to invite you to the Stellanboss room at 3:30PM and you can also tell me about your morning routine because I’m really interested in it.
So if you want to know more about what’s coming out of my current experiments? You can look at my blog. It’s in Dutch for now, but maybe I can write it in English, and you can look me up on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and I can also post a photo on Instagram.
Thanks a lot.