Thursday, 23 April 2015

Lesson I learned from wearing an activity monitor

Garmin vivofit, Garmin app
Yeah, it is a picture of the Garmin Vivofit, my husband gave me for our anniversary earlier this year. Nope, I was not upset (well, I was but that was because I couldn't get the damn thing to talk to my iPad, but that is a long story) as I had been using a similar app on my mobile phone since I got my Samsung S5.
Problem with the phone app
The trouble with the mobile phone app was that it only recorded information while I was carrying it around with me. Being of the female persuasion, I do wear a skirt or a dress upon occasion, and then my phone might be laying on my desk while I walked around at work. Sure, when I wear jeans, it fits nicely in my pocket and away it went recording its little butt of. I like the bigger phone, but there is no way I am going to wear it around my neck. So pocket, or hand it had to be.
But with this band, I could now carry the monitor all the time and literally everywhere, even to bed. And that is where I got the most valuable information, my sleeping patterns.
That thing about sleeping
While the Garmin app allows you to program your sleeping times, it also detects it automatically from you activity levels. If I decide to take a nap in the middle of the day, I just push the button to tell it that I am sleeping, then it records it as such.
Now to the iPad. The app synchronises the monitor with a profile you create with your personal details such as sleep time, and your goal for the number of steps everyday. Thank goodness for the iPad's pin code thing, because I am not particularly in favour of someone finding out how much I weigh. Yep, state secret that thing!
As I mentioned my sleeping patterns provided a lot of insight.
With a blood sugar issue, I have been known to visit the bathroom at least twice every night, unless I drink a lot of coffee before bedtime, then that number could be higher.
Since I would be relatively awake for that activity, I can see that on the records from the monitor. So lots of coffee = bathroom visits at night = medium level of activity.
If I get to bed at my normal time, don't drink litres of coffee, and wasn't doing jumping Jacks before I got into bed, my sleeping pattern would be much the same. No activity interspersed with low level activity which I have to assume was when I was dreaming, or my husband turned over and the mattress moved a little.
What I did notice was that on good days, I would sleep exactly 5 hours and 45 minutes. Okay, it might vary with a minute or two, but that was it.
I learned something about me!
This past weekend, I slept in, and what a damn mistake that turned out to be. I am not a morning person, but I had realised a few years ago that if I sleep beyond a certain time, I would be in really bad mood for hours after waking up. It later dawned on me that it was not the time of waking up that was the problem, but the number of hours I slept.
This past Saturday, I put in 7 hours and 35 minutes. What a mistake not to set that alarm clock! I felt miserable, and I am sure my husband was glad that he had other obligations that kept him from home until lunch time. I turned back from witch to wife after lunch. Trust me, it wasn't the food, since a good breakfast had made no difference to my nasty disposition.

So I learned that not only was my writing time an important part of my schedule everyday, keeping to my sleeping routine turned out to be the best thing I could possibly do for myself.