Connected wearables to improve your sleep and health?
In March 2014 I started using the Jawbone bracelet with Bluetooth along with the UP application on my iPhone. Some 6 months later I can now share some experience and results. This is not a device comparison post, but my personal progress using Jawbone and UP24.
Before I tell you my results you need to know how and where I started.
Starting point – poor sleeping routine and little physical activity
First of all, I had a very bad sleeping pattern and had quite often distrupted sleep. Short shut eye and light sleeping – and bedtime routine somewhat late and after midnight. And my routine of reading mails and play with my smartphone or tablet was my go to bed pattern. I traveled a lot, intercontinental and across many time zones.
Secondly I was not very active – sitting for most of the day during the weekdays. My physical activity was on the weekend and no routine. My daily steps and walks were not sufficient for my lifestyle and food habits (wining and dining). Many attempts to get into better shape without consistent plan.
Sleep first: How did Jawbone help me to monitor and motivate me to break bad habits?
My first real benefit was to better understand my sleeping pattern. I managed to monitor bedtime patterns and sleep quality. Also when I traveled I was able to better plan for sleeping, and I could monitor even shorter naps and during several flights be able to fill up my hours of sleep . I knew before Jawbone that I need a lot of sleep – but perhaps it was more a question about quality than number of hours. First I tried to fill up and go for 8 hours sleep, but I can now sleep around 7 hours and feel fresh and ready for a new day. I believe the time you go to bed and how you prepare yourself for bedtime is very important. The bedtime routine is key, if you meet that timing and not pushing it longer – I managed fast to fall asleep. Late bedtime resulted in tossing and turning till late. So more than 8 hours in bed, but no quality sleep.
The best evidence on this was during vacation when I introduced early bedtime and no long bedside playing with phone or tablet. I woke up mostly 7 hours and got in average 7,15 hours of sleep. I know now that I don’t need as much as 8 hours but the bedtime is important for the sleep quality. UP24 and Jawbone monitor all moments and wake-ups during the night and sleep. Also light versus deep sleep. I have read some comments about Jawbone misinterpret idle time with sleep. I have not experienced that, but tried to monitor mini naps to add to total sleep.
During weekdays it still may be difficult to get enough shut eye, so I’m now using the timer to get to bed earlier. I also use the UP bedtime recommendations. With the gamification element in the app – I try every night to make it – gives me a good reminder. The result is a better and more consistent bedtime routine that again helps the sleep quality. I still have light sleep – but I know that the quality will be better if I time my bedtime. Sounds very basic – it’s what parents teach babies and kids – but as adults we tend to forget basic rules and need technology and fun apps that tells us what to do!
Physical activity: how the step counters helps and some health benefits from Jawbone and UP24/MyFitnessPal
I have increased my daily moving and steps from sad 2000 steps daily till 4-5000 on a regular day. Simple ways to improve step count is to walk stairs – walk between meetings and get up several times during a passive office work day. And speed up! I also walk back and forth to places as the most natural thing now – whereas I had thousands of excuses to avoid walking before. On weekends and days when I am not working I walk back and forth to the gym – or walk to the market or shop – trying to reach 10000 steps. This is easy when you don’t live in a very hot or cold climate. It’s hard where I live, and it’s hot during daytime and may not be safe to walk after dark.
I have tried to walk and be moving for at least one hour or more. As I have had a knee problem I have not been able to jog or run. Something that has caused increased body weight. Now I have been consistently active and started daily physical activities during weekends and vacations. I have managed to loose 3-4 kilograms of body weight during these 6 months and I feel better and more motivated to even get more fit and improve my health. The best news is that with all the walking I do believe that it has helped curing my knee – I can now do slow running and I feel thrilled about this! Maybe I’m soon able to run longer distances again and of course wear all those high heeled shoes in my wardrobe!
What did Jawbone do? With Up and also MyFitnessPal
I have been monitoring and logging all my physical activity – have set a new goal for myself – but I started off very realistic to change a bad habit and lifestyle.
Writing this it’s a Sunday – and I will today go for 10000 steps – my jawbone is charging and we are ready with new running shoes! I feel motivated to track my progress but needed something that could help making small improvements. Now I check and sync my app many times per day, and check my sleep first thing in the morning. Physical activity do also stimulate better sleep.
With this I would recommend anyone with similar lifestyle, some bad sleeping habits. If you are a bit addicted to your smartphone and your apps, then get some wearable gear and give it a try! Fun and easy! I prefer to keep my tracks private as I compete with myself. You can always add friends and family to help you – but for me it’s my private project to get healthy! Good luck!
Would love to get comments from others with experience and suggestions- also for my next 6 months ahead!