Reflecting on my recent sleep experiments

I have some initial conclusions from my ~2 weeks of sleep experiments.

– A pitch black room does increase my perceived sleep quality. I remember my dreams more and seem to have more dreams in general.

– The blue blocker sunglasses don’t seem to yield any meaningful result for me. This might be because of my current level of caffeine.

– Sleeping alone doesn’t seem to impact my quality of sleep either way.

– Sleeping with the Zeo itself interrupts my sleep. A bit of a heisenbug …

– Measuring my heart rate while I sleep also interrupts my sleep. However, it yielded some interesting results. While I sleep, I can see 3-5 peaks where my heart rate will temporarily jump from 43bpm to 75bpm… I assume these coincided with REM dreaming. I can’t get my heart rate monitor and the Zeo to sync up without exporting the data and re-importing it into a new system.

Here’s a run from while I was sleeping the other night.

I can’t perform extensive analysis on this just yet as I haven’t exported all the points.

Screen shot 2011-04-17 at 3.58.54 PM.png

My next big change is to quit caffeine again (I’m down to only 30mg) and then try to sleep without caffeine and wake up when I feel rested. I think I can migrate to bi-phasic sleep where I have a 5-6 hour core and then a 20 minute nap in the afternoon.

Part of this is confused by my rigorous athletic training which requires sleep for recovery.

  1. Spikes in the heart rate could also be attributed to sleep apnea. Doubtful given your physical condition, but possible. Measuring blood oxy level would verify.

  2. I started following your blog for other reasons but your posts on sleep have made a diff in my life! who woulda thought? I bought blackout curtains & what a difference they make! I could not kick out the cats, and I haven’t gotten the glasses (but it sounds like you didn’t notice a diff w/them). All I did was change the curtains. It’s noticeable. I wake up feeling refreshed. These curtains also block out sound so that also helps. Got them at Bed Bath & Beyond. Not sure how they were *supposed* to attach to my curtains so I just stitched ’em behind. it works.

    I didn’t even know my quality of sleep was off. I just knew it was taking me longer to wake up & I needed more coffee.


  3. Erin, that’s great.

    I haven’t bought curtains yet… I’m still running with my ghetto garbage bags over the window.

    It’s only been a week though but I’m definitely not going to go back to sleeping how I was before.

    How much did you pay for the curtains?

    I’m going to buy some here soon.

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