Everytime I hear the word “Whoop,” the song Whoomp! (There it is) by Tag Team immediately goes off in my head, and since we are all in this together, I figure we should all have the same song stuck in our heads.
So why Whoop? I’ve never worn an Apple Watch, Fitbit, Oura Ring, etc. I’ve never really been interested in tracking specific fitness goals (partly because it can be triggering for me), and I have at times scoffed when people freak out over forgetting to log a workout. The obsession has never hit me. The only time I have ever been interested in tracking steps is when I am traveling/exploring a new city and am truly curious how many miles I walked that day. Other than that, I have been content to base things off of how I am feeling, which if you recall, I haven’t been feeling great.
When I was asked if I would be willing to wear a bracelet that would track my every move, I hesitated. Not only was I worried that this could be a constant trigger for me, but I was also overwhelmed by everything Whoop is capable of tracking. What I was most intrigued by, though, was the possibility of learning more about my sleep patterns, strain levels, recovery, and stress. Again, being confronted with no longer being able to claim ignorance is hard for me, but I do believe that information is power and having actual data to reflect back on would be interesting.
My baby steps implementing Whoop of course started with finding a band that would fit with my aesthetic, because at the end of the day, it’s all about the fashion/look for me. The idea of never taking something off was hard to get used to at first, but as with all things I adjusted and have accepted the bracelet tan line. My other self implemented baby steps were to concentrate on one thing at a time. It is both amazing and overwhelming the amount of data that can be collected, and I needed to remind myself of my first chat with Stevie “1% better everyday.” So I chose my first area of concentration, the big one—sleep.
Years ago I would have probably bragged about how I was a great sleeper. I could fall asleep anywhere quickly and felt rested most of the time. In the last few years though, I have struggled with turning my brain off at night and waking up feeling like I barely slept at all. No matter how early I went to bed or if I allowed myself to sleep in on the weekends, it never felt like enough, and I experienced brain fog, trouble concentrating, clumsiness, and feeling scattered. And if I am being transparent, the more tired I am, the more emotional I become, emotional in the sense that simple tasks feel abnormally difficult and I take everything more personally than I should. Obviously this is not a great way to be operating in life, and if I have learned anything while being at Companion Health, it’s that sleep is a big deal.
When I first set up my Whoop, I decided to live my normal life for two weeks and see what it said about my average sleep patterns. Spoiler alert: my sleep was not good. The average amount of sleep I had been getting was about 5-6 hours per night. This is not ideal and I was surprised by that low number. I thought I had been prioritizing sleep, but as I am learning, just because you slept doesn’t mean it was restorative. I also lacked a consistent sleep schedule and was all over the place on when I would go to bed and wake up. I had relied too heavily on “catching up” on the weekends, and found out that my so-called catch up wasn’t even happening. This was the most jarring news to me. I had been operating on a false sense of catch up and shouldn’t have to rely on the weekend in the first place.
Overhauling my sleep routine is an ever-evolving process. Picking a consistent bedtime is definitely one of the most difficult changes. Between work, my social calendar, weekends and traveling, there is little consistency in my schedule. I have committed to trying my best to stick to a bed time during the week and starting the wind down process earlier. I am guilty of getting in bed when I am supposed to and then doom scrolling on my phone for an hour (not great for shutting off the brain). But just the act of getting myself ready for bed earlier has been a game changer for me. It has made me aware of the control I do have and that my days are drastically affected by the amount of sleep I have gotten; therefore, I essentially have control over how I will feel the next morning and that is proving to be motivating.
As it turns out, it is pretty cool to have the data to look at and help predict what my body needs at the time. I had never considered that a “fitness tracker” could be more encompassing and that it could assist with interpreting what is best for your general recovery. I know that Whoop is so much more than a sleep tracker, but for now, that is what it is for me.
My hope is that I will be the person who does not even bring their phone into the bedroom, has an old-school alarm clock, and sleeps eight hours every night … but as I said, baby steps. My next goal will be to eliminate the doom scrolling and replace that with the large stack of unread books on my nightstand. Wish me luck!
Feelings this week: Concerned that I’ve not gotten a good night of sleep since 2020(!)
Favorite moment from experience: Feeling like I’m one of the cool Companion Health kids wearing my Whoop bracelet.
Something I am currently loving: Knowing what kind of day I can prepare for based on my sleep.
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