Healthy Obsessions The Adventures of a Mild Obsessive Compulsive

Category Archives: Record Keeping

Fitbit Redux plus the new Aria

I gave in and ordered a fitbit ultra. At some point, I lost my original fitbit and by the time I found it again, I lost the charger. I kept thinking I’ll find the charger, and what a waste it would be to buy another fitbit when I already have one! And then I thought I could get a charger through ebay, until I realized that would cost me at least half (if not more) the price of a new fitbit.

So. New fitbit! I got the plum one since it was on sale through my gym.

The ultra is pretty nifty; it’s a lot like the original but with a stopwatch and stair mode. But those are not the things that excite me.

As awesome as the fitbit is, and as awesome as all the graphs and stats are (and they are an OCD dream), I have always hated the food logging interface. It was clunky and time consuming. Creating custom foods was a pain. I used to wish that I could somehow combine LoseIt with my fitbit data, and guess what… No idea when this happened, but sometime during my long separation from my fitbit, they did exactly that.

For that matter, the food logging interface on FitBit itself looks a lot better now. Will have to play around with that some.

The fitbit aria

Want

Fitbit has also just launched their new product, the Aria: my new object of health-tech lust. A scale. It looks like a competitor with the Withings Wi-Fi Body Scale, which has long been the gold standard of high tech scales. Both obviously measure your weight, but both also measure your body fat vs. muscle percentages. They also each have free iPhone and Android apps, wireless syncing, family settings (so more than one person can use the scale), nutrition recommendations, and exercise plans.

For that matter, both can be linked to your fitbit or LooseIt data, among many other apps & services. Withings seems to have more services set-up already, but that’s not too surprising considering how long they’ve been around.

The only real difference I’ve been able to see, not having used either one, is price. The fitbit aria is $30 cheaper, clocking in at $129.99.

Sleep Tracking: Looking at the Zeo

If your goal is accurately tracking your sleep, the Zeo is your best bet. Let’s look at why.

The Tech

The tech on the Zeo is completely different from the actigraphy of the fitbit and Sleep Cycle. Instead of focusing on movement, and then deducing sleep phases from that (which is helpful, but has a greater margin of error), the Zeo focuses on brainwaves. Based on the same tech as EEGs, it tracks the phases of your brain activity. Well, it tracks the electrical impulses of your brain activity and then deduces from that your sleep phases. This is also not *perfectly* accurate, but neither is an EEG. As my ENT told me today (hi, Robson!) there are several different phases that can look like REM.

In a sleep lab, it takes more than just monitoring, it takes interpretation. You’ll have sleep specialists looking at your EEG read outs and making their own analysis of your brain activity during sleep. EEG is probably more accurate than the Zeo, but it’s also a lot more cumbersome. Witness:

EEG

Zeo

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Sleep Cycle Messes Up

Sleep Cycle woke me at exactly the wrong moment this morning. I was in the middle of a dream (which the Zeo was quite aware of) when Sleep Cycle went off. Which just goes to show that Sleep Cycle really is  quite imprecise. It’s better than nothing, but not better than the Zeo.

Sleep Tracking: Looking at Sleep Cycle

As mentioned before, I’ve been using the fitbit, the Zeo, and Sleep Cycle all together for over a month now. Honestly, I like all three.

With the combined data, I’m getting a good picture of my sleep. However, most people are not going to be as gadget happy as I am, and will only go for one of these sleep trackers. Maybe two at the outside. So I’ve been trying to figure out which of the three I’d pick if I could only pick one. And the answer is: it depends…

Sleep Cycle

Sleep Cycle is the one I expect will be most commonly used, simply because of the price point. It costs .99 cents. That’s pretty damned hard to beat. However,  Sleep Cycle is the weakest of the three trackers.

(This is going to be long; skip to the bottom if you just want the bullet points).

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Sleep Tracking Poll

I am curious about how other people think about this sort of stuff. Do you find it interesting? Boring? Of value? Problematic? Indication of societal decline and the end of days?

Sleep seems like a problematic area for most of the people I know. I wonder if this extends as far into the general population as I think it does. From all the articles and websites dedicated to the topic, you’d think so. But then, you rarely hear from people when they’re happy; you most often hear from them when they have a complaint (if nothing else, working in video gaming has taught me that).

At any rate, I’m curious to see how many people find tracking of value.

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Fitbit & Zeo Graphs

Because a picture is worth a thousand words, and, honestly, because I am feeling too tired to do much of a write up on anything today… The sleep graphs from last night, starting with the fitbit.

 

Fitbit Graph for 10-27-2010

And now the Zeo:

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The Zeo Arrived

Zeo arrived today. I haven’t even opened it yet.

Snake Oil vs Supplements

This is awesome. It’s a visual representation of which supplements have been proven to work, and which have no substantiation whatsoever.

 

There’s an interactive version you can mouse over and click on to see specific conditions and links to the research. If I weren’t already in love with my bf, I’d say I was in love with this guy. In a purely intellectual way, of course. (What? Aren’t you in love with your SO’s intellect?)

I am totally increasing my cinnamon intake. And buying some creatine…

Comparison: Fitbit vs. Sleep Cycle

This comparison isn’t going to be precisely fair, since I’ve been using my fitbit for about 10 months, and I only used Sleep Cycle (an iPhone app) for one night. But I can definitely give some initial impressions.

I’ve already talked about how useful I find the information from my fitbit. Here’s the data from last night, and no, I’m not sure what I was doing up at 2:41; I was on Ambien and it seemed like a good idea at the time:

Here is that same night, from Sleep Cycle:

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Slightly Better Sleep

Tried a different CPAP mask last night and, according to my fitbit, slept slightly better.

Slight improvement with different mask.

Still not great. I should be around 95% sleep efficiency, ideally. And I ought to have more full sleep cycles in there; most people need a full 90 minutes to have a complete sleep cycle. It looks like I had two blocks that were long enough. I really would like to have three full cycles a night.

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