new technologies

Free yourself from data and trust your feelings

Fernando arcos pexelsFernando Arcos - Pexels

What indicators do you base yourself on to assess your daily shape? What diagnosis do you base yourself on in order to know whether your next training session will be light, moderate or intense? In a previous post, I told you about the danger of being obsessively preoccupied by data. Personally, I trust the short moment of introspection which allows me to connect to myself rather than the link which is automatically produced by the latest cutting-edge application on my smartphone that promises to inform me about my shape… The visual analogic scale which is proposed by Laurent et al. (2011) invites you to estimate your perceived level of recovery. Using it before a training session is a practical way of assessing your recovery day after day and that way to estimate your performance level over the next session: 

Laurent 1One of the main features of our society is the omnipresence of data, a huge yearning for untreated data, and figures. Objective data is king, and leaves little room for the development of a critical mindset, self-awareness, and education. The sport’s world does not escape from this avalanche of data and reports. A systematic review of the literature was carried out in order to compare the relevance of objective markers assessed during off time and training (blood markers, heart rate) as opposed to subjective markers (e.g. mood, perceived stress) to follow up on the responses to training load variations in athletes. The main outcomes showed that subjective data reflects training load variations more accurately than objective data. Thus, depending on the authors and as part of the athlete’s daily follow-up, subjective markers should play a key role in assessing the athlete’s shape in response to the training load; and objective data, which displays a high level of scientific evidence, should only complete this assessment. This subjective data will be all the more reliable because the athlete will have been early accustomed to listening to him(her)self and taking decisions based on his(her) perception. Finally, as suggests James Williams, an ex-Googler who stepped down in order to become a philosopher: “On the short term, these tools (i.e. new technology) distract us from the things we should be doing. On the long term, they can distract us from the life we wish to lead… These technologies put our instincts before our intentions”. For every one of us, it means taking back control over our relationship with technology in order for it not to disrupt our precious path to self-awareness.

A clever approach to screens will preserve your sleep!

What about your relationship to screens?

Fauxels 3

Fauxels 3

An ordinary and hyperconnected work meeting. Different protagonists each set up their computers, smartphones and tablets. The meeting will last one hour and half during which a number of them will hastily check each of their devices… Young adults are obviously also concerned. According to a recent survey, 90% of them browse on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) during the two hours leading up to bedtime, and 59% of them have their phones on in the bedroom during the night. Whoever says phone on says nighttime texting with a night-owl friend and fostering of the “connected night-owl club”! In addition to the detrimental effect of an excessive use of new tech throughout the day on sleep (Thomée et al., 2007), exposing oneself to screens before going to bed is also counter-productive. Such an exposure will increase our level of vigilance, partly due to a blue-light induced reduction in melatonin secretion, and the engaging and stimulating content of this media. According to Arora et al. (2014), complex cognitive processes (decision-making, problem solving, memorisation) happen when using these forms of media. This might lead to a difficulty to switch off the brain and let go when initiating sleep. You have to know that unhealthy consequences will depend on the chosen format. Thus, obsessively checking and posting comments on Facebook before going to bed will result on average in one hour less of sleep per night! Watching TV before bedtime will result in twenty minutes less of sleep whereas listening to music will make it hard to fall asleep (Arora et al., 2014). Finally, unlimited access to artificial light and the possibility of creating permanent artificially-lit environments are crucial factors in the reduction of sleep quantity among industrialised societies. According to philosopher Michel Serres, with the birth of new technologies, a new kind of human was born: he calls him “Little Thumb”, referring to the maestria he has to send texts with his thumbs. His theory invites us to reconcile modern and old. It seems difficult today to advocate in favour of the suppression of new technologies, which are everywhere, along with permanent digital logout in order to preserve sleep. A clever use of new technologies is still possible. It is a question of taking back control over our relationship with technology.                               

Use with caution! James Williams, a former Google employee, who quit to become a philosopher said: “On the short term, technology distracts us from tasks we have to do. On the long term, it may distract us from the life we want to lead… Technology favours our impetus and not our intentions”.

Mathieu Nedelec, sport scientist in charge of research projects on sleep and recovery. I teach best practices to improve sleep and performance. I will read your answers carefully and let you know when my next posts will be published.

A poisoned gift

The excessive use of new technologies is detrimental to our sleep

Ivan Oboleninov

Ivan Oboleninov, Pexels

Axel has been having trouble sleeping for the past five years, after starting a new job that he was very much looking forward to. A promotion that opened up a lot of doors, but closed the doors on a good night’s sleep. His fiancé, who was worried about the state of his health, bought him one of the numerous sleep trackers available on the market for Christmas. Since then, he has been constantly wearing it on his arm but has been unable to fall into Morpheus’ arms. Axel is not the only one, around 10% of the population uses one these tracking devices whereas half of us would consider purchasing one sooner or later. Recently, a new word has sprung up to qualify people who are obsessed with controlling their sleep: orthosomnia (“the right amount of sleep”). The first thing these people do when getting up is to check the night report granted by the app connected to the device. They anticipate that it is going to be a hard day when the summary displays less than 8 hours of sleep. Some of them even check their phone to live track their night’s sleep, every time they wake up. However, two methods are currently scientifically proven and used to track sleeping patterns: actimetry and polysomnography. If actimetry records with precision our movements during the night, only polysomnography can record electric cerebral activity. Actimetry, along with most of the trackers available on the market, is not able in any way to define the different stages of sleep (i.e. light sleep, deep sleep and rapid eye movement sleep). Only polysomnography is able to. Several scientific studies have indeed shown that available trackers are incapable of precisely ascertaining the different stages of sleep, as well as waking time throughout the night. What’s more, a lack of transparency in the algorithms makes it difficult to conduct any kind of validation study. So, there is an urgency for Axel and hyper connected people to take back control over their sleep and to leave sleep trackers and all of their data in their right place. If you are using such a device, please share your experience with us by clicking here.

Mathieu Nedelec, sport scientist in charge of research projects on sleep and recovery. I teach best practices to improve sleep and performance. I will read your answers carefully and let you know when my next posts will be published.

A poisoned gift

The excessive use of new technologies is detrimental to our sleep

Ivan Oboleninov

Ivan Oboleninov, Pexels

Axel has been having trouble sleeping for the past five years, after starting a new job that he was very much looking forward to. A promotion that opened up a lot of doors, but closed the doors on a good night’s sleep. His fiancé, who was worried about the state of his health, bought him one of the numerous sleep trackers available on the market for Christmas. Since then, he has been constantly wearing it on his arm but has been unable to fall into Morpheus’ arms. Axel is not the only one, around 10% of the population uses one these tracking devices whereas half of us would consider purchasing one sooner or later. Recently, a new word has sprung up to qualify people who are obsessed with controlling their sleep: orthosomnia (“the right amount of sleep”). The first thing these people do when getting up is to check the night report granted by the app connected to the device. They anticipate that it is going to be a hard day when the summary displays less than 8 hours of sleep. Some of them even check their phone to live track their night’s sleep, every time they wake up. However, two methods are currently scientifically proven and used to track sleeping patterns: actimetry and polysomnography. If actimetry records with precision our movements during the night, only polysomnography can record electric cerebral activity. Actimetry, along with most of the trackers available on the market, is not able in any way to define the different stages of sleep (i.e. light sleep, deep sleep and rapid eye movement sleep). Only polysomnography is able to. Several scientific studies have indeed shown that available trackers are incapable of precisely ascertaining the different stages of sleep, as well as waking time throughout the night. What’s more, a lack of transparency in the algorithms makes it difficult to conduct any kind of validation study. So, there is an urgency for Axel and hyper connected people to take back control over their sleep and to leave sleep trackers and all of their data in their right place. If you are using such a device, please share your experience with us by clicking here.

Mathieu Nedelec, sport scientist in charge of research projects on sleep and recovery. I teach best practices to improve sleep and performance. I will read your answers carefully and let you know when my next posts will be published.