My Notes from NY Quantified Self Meetup #18
If you live in New York, you probably already know that NY Quantified Self community has held its quarterly meeting this Thursday, November 15. I have been attending NYQS meetups regularly for quite some time now, but this time I was especially thrilled because I helped to organize it. With overwhelming turnaround, engaging Show&Tell sessions, creative presentations, and community interaction and networking afterwards, the meetup, as always, exceeded my expectations. In this post, I will sum up the presentations that made this event so informative, inspirational and thought-provoking.
This time, event was hosted by Blueprint Health. Blueprint Health is a health startup accelerator that matches young companies with experienced healthcare entrepreneurs, investors, venture capitalists, and healthcare experts, and provides operational and strategic support (space, technology, legal advice, classes, etc.). They currently help over 100 healthcare startups a year.
Best Alertness and Memory Tracking App
As always, presentations covered a variety of topics, from hacking sleep to tracking fitness and performance to self-experimentation. In “Exploring the Sleep Frontier: Lucid Dreaming with Zeo”, Dave Comeau (@davecomeau) discussed his successful attempts to use Zeo to control sleep Using information resources like Sleep Stream Online and Zeo Scope , David modified his Zeo Personal Sleep Manager to activate acoustic and visual triggers when he enters the REM stage of sleep. Upon entering the REM stage, the MP3 message would play to trigger the lucid dream experience. This method worked several times, and the experience, according to Dave, was amazing. Most of the time, however, sound and lights wake him up. During the Q&A part of the presentation he received recommendations from the audience to try triggers that use other senses, like smell and taste. Lucid dreaming was always on my “must try” list, and thanks to Dave’s presentation, I know now where to start.
Emily Chambliss shared with the audience results of her fitness and diet tracking experiment. For nearly 3 months, Emily has been logging details of her workouts (type of exercise, number of repetitions/sets, resistance, time of day, day of the week, targeted area of body, estimated amount of calories burned) and diet (types of meals, time of day age, day of the week, and estimated amount of calories consumed). In addition to immediate motivational feedback, this experiment helped her to gain some insights about her fitness and eating habits. For instance, after analyzing data, she found out her most and least favorite types of exercises, and days of the weeks when she was most and least adherent to her diet and workout regimen.
Greg (@kmegafauna) talked about awesome self-experiment that he conducted in order to gauge the levels of his sensitivity to salt. A classical ABA experiment, it consisted of a 1 week baseline, 2-weeks long low-salt consumption (<1,000 mg a day), and a high-salt consumption (6,000 mg a day) phases. During each phase, Greg logged his weight and blood pressure on a daily basis. When he plotted data, he found a slight increase in systolic pressure and considerable gain in weight (due to higher hydration levels) in the third phase. While there was no considerable changes in weight or blood pressure during the second phase, he reported impaired thermoregulations (less sweating, and as a result, overheating of body) and higher susceptibility to skin infections. Greg’s presentation inspired me to conduct a couple of similar experiments in the nearest future.
Jake Jenking‘s “200 Hours of Guitar Practice in 1 Year” presentation discussed how tracking his practice time on a daily basis, using Beeminder and Anki, and posting videos of himself on YouTube help him to stay on course in learning to play guitar. Jake’s presentation is a great example of how accountability and public commitment could be very powerful motivators when it comes to self-development. I look forward to trying some of this methods next year to start learning Spanish and web programming.
In his “Getting to the Bottom of Headaches” presentation, Mike shared how using iHeadache report app helped him to figure out that his frequent migraines were caused by stress. By changing his lifestyle, he was able to reduce stress and decrease occurrences of his headaches. Inspired by this success, Mike now uses self-tracking to shape new healthy habits.
In “Storyboarding the Psyche”, Cliff Atkinson (@cliffatkinson), and author of Beyond Bullet Points: Using Microsoft PowerPoint to Create Presentations that Inform, Motivate, and Inspire told how he used storyboarding and visualization techniques to track the subconscious and its impact on his body, mind and emotions. For example, he found that during thinking or preparing for public speaking and other stressful situations, he tends to tap his foot and hold breath. My favorite technique, mentioned in presentation, was writing down the five top thoughts on your mind at any random moment. I will try incorporating this technique in my daily self-tracking routine.
If you are into self-experimentation and self-tracking, and live in NYC area, you should definitely join one of the next meetups. It is a great way to keep the pulse on self-tracking community, meet great people and get inspired! You can sign up for NYQS meetups here.
Intelligent Bottle for Tracking Water Intake