I regularly use devices and apps to track my movement, sleep, nutrition and a number of other parameters in order to evaluate how I function, what impact other factors have on my ‘system’ and whether changes to my lifestyle (hacks) are bearing results.
The most useful of the devices is the Activity Tracker. I use the Garmin VivoSmart to track my daily movements and sleep, however the new Fenix3 and 920XT both have inbuilt activity tracking – as long as you wear them all the time. The Garmin sports devices like the Fenix3, Forerunner series and XT also include other dynamic measurements such as stride length, cadence, contact time and heart rate (all through the heart belt that comes with the top of line devices).
Many apps for smartphones do similar stuff when it comes to activity tracking and sleep. Here are some I’ve tested.
Sleep Time by Azumio (http://www.azumio.com/s/sleeptime/) tracks your sleep and allows you to understand your REM frequency throughout the night. By tracking simple changes such as alcohol, coffee, exercise and the like, you can look back at any common factors that have resulted in a change in sleep pattern. REM sleep is required for brain function, recovery and good health, so you need to figure out how to maximise the number of times and the length of time you achieve REM. I usually average 4 periods in a 7hr sleep cycle. Azumio also make Argus, which tracks your movement and exercise, as well as an other host of personal tracking apps. I particularly like the Instant Heart Rate (previously they had the Stress Doctor) which measures both your heart beats as well as wave form based on algorithm calculations.
MyFitnessPal (https://www.myfitnesspal.com) is an excellent way to track your nutrition intake, both from calories as well as ‘content’. The app has a huge database of foods and meals that you can easily tap into to simplify entries, without having to build each meal up with every ingredient. This is great for busy people and is usually quite accurate. You can also create custom meals and add them to the database so as to select them the next time, if you tend to repeat this meal often. The app also indicates your vitamins, minerals, fibre and other nutrient intake and compares to the recommended daily allowance.
HeadSpace (https://www.headspace.com) is my favourite mindfulness app. It is extremely easy to follow so I often just send the link to my clients and they are off to their first mindfulness session after an easy-to-understand intro in no time. It progresses nicely through different levels, however time and again I find myself using the very first session (body scan) as it is all I need to get back into mindfulness or to help me sleep or relax.
Visit this page from time to time for updated cool stuff I test!