I improved my health this month but I still have a long way to go. The act of tracking myself helped motivate me to exercise more. I also found that I need to sleep a bit more and that stressors have a unique impact on me in that they can trigger acute insomnia. Alcohol was shown to impact me in more ways than I had previously thought, impacting my bedtime, sleep amount, and productivity. I found that I need to improve on my relaxation behaviors and that my mood is affected by both my productivity level and my social interactions (perhaps we should add social interaction tracking to the app).
I did not get enough sleep this month. I had a lot of binge sleeping due to either work related stress (see Sept 14) or social activities (see Sept 22 - Sept 27). I took a tripe to Las Vegas for a conference in late September and my time was taken up by both work and socializing with lab mates.
This clearly demonstrates my acute insomnia. On the night of September 14th school had just started and I couldn't stop thinking about work related responsibilities before falling to sleep. It took me about 4 hours to fall asleep, which was reflected in my sleep efficiency of 40%.
I usually hardly exercise, but this month I exercised about 40% of days out of the month. Very good! This lends support to my research question related to how the act of tracking can make me more accountable to myself, therby helping me behave in healthier ways.
What surprised me most when tracking myself was the effect that alcohol had on many of my behaviors. This graph depicts that I usually drink socially (on weekends) where there were also spikes in drinking when I went to a wedding (Sept 7-9) and when I went to Las Vegas (Sept 19-26).
My mood fluctuates from contentment to periodic episodes of negative affect. I found two things to play a role in my mood: my productivity level and social interactions. The recent dip in mood was due to a string of negative social interactions.
My productivity comes in bursts, with very high levels of productivity occurring when I am feeling pressure to complete tasks. This is not the ideal way to be productive, so next month I'll try to work a bit more every day instead of in bursts.
Clearly, I am addicted to caffeine. However, I slowed down a bit when I went to Las Vegas.
Bedtime and Sleep Amount
The later I went to bed the less I slept. I averaged a bedtime of about 1:30, with periods of going to bed much later. It makes sense that going to bed later than my normal time resulted in less sleep due to the circadian component of sleep.
Alcohol and Bedtime
The more I drink the later my bedtime - which makes quite a bit of sense and doesn't need much explanation. Again, this shows how alcohol affects a lot of behaviors.
Alcohol and Productivity
It is pretty easy to come to the conclusion that alcohol reduces productivity. Though it could also be that I usually drink alcohol on days that I work less.
Sleep Amount and Productivity
Somewhat interesting is that the more I sleep the more productive I am. Though there is an outlier where one night I hardly slept and was very productive. This was due to work pressures where I had to work instead of sleep.
Relaxation and Mood
This illustrates that my relaxation behavior (watching TV) has a negative impact on my mood. As previously mentioned, I think that I need to exchange this relaxation activity for one that is more rewarding.