It was the Whoop end-of-year report delivered late in December that inspired my New Year’s resolutions.
The round-up of my year’s data made for sobering reading. As an active and generally fit person, I’m used to getting a glowing report from my fitness tracker data – but clearly, my less-than-committed attitude to my daily readiness lags behind the rest of Whoop’s user base.
I was in the bottom percentiles for sleep, readiness, and recovery for the year. And, clearly, I was consuming more alcohol than the rest of the user base.
Most damningly, I was a multiple award winner of the dreaded 1% recovery badge.
Amid the gloom, though, was an interesting nugget of information. My average bedtime (or at least falling asleep) was 23:15. This seemed like an opportunity. If I could get that to 22:45, I could amass 3.5 hours of extra sleep a week.
So, there it was: a quantified New Year’s resolution in the making, borne out of wearable data. And implementing it had a huge effect.
Anecdotally, the two weeks after New Year’s are some of the best I’ve felt in the two years since our son was born – but the benefits were laid bare in the stats, too.
First, let’s look at sleep performance versus need. Against a typical week in November, I increased my average sleep performance from 77% to 85%.
It took a while for my sleep habits to change, and the first couple of days it took me a long time to get to sleep, but the effect on recovery was sizeable.
By getting the extra sleep – and no doubt staying away from alcohol as a result – my recovery scores surged.
I averaged a recovery score of 77% from 11 Jan – 17 Jan with HRV up at 89. I only averaged 56% across the six months that came before.
And there was another curious benefit. When I did drink alcohol, my recovery was way better than expected. So, all the good work done in the week by getting that extra rest paid off when I needed it.
I’ve been using wearables to track my data for nearly a decade – and there’s nothing inherently unique about the information Whoop has provided. But I've fallen in love with the way it's presented.
The end-of-year report, the color-coded recovery stats, simple scores, and accurate data make for a powerful wearable. But perhaps its greatest strength is its wearability. I have worn it nearly every night for a year, thanks to a mix of its comfort and battery life.
The sheer amount of days tracked – the best part of a whole year – has meant it’s been more effective than anything I’ve used before.
Of course, come the end of January, old habits crept back. Most resolutions fail by mid-January. A few late nights and a couple of drinks too close to bedtime after a stressful day – I was right back where I started.
But is it a failure? Absolutely not. For the first time, I’m making a February resolution - to try and make the habits I built in January stick in the long term. Overall, we'd call it a success.
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