• Caffeine and Sleep: Garmin Fenix 3 Sleep Tracking

    Man Taking A Caffeine Nap At His Desk With Coffee In Hand

    After listening to a Stuff You Should Know podcast, I thought I would try a change in my caffeine habits. 

    For sleep tracking, I currently use a Garmin Fenix 3. The Garmin Fenix 3 is a sports watch and activity tracker that does everything you need and more. From dedicated triathlon training to running, step counting, and of course for this test sleep tracking. A recent update from Garmin means you do not need to tell the watch when you go to sleep. It knows! 

    What's required for this test?

    Garmin Fenix 3

    Garmin Fenix 3

    Less Coffee

    And a lot less coffee

    Caffeine Before Sleep

    It takes a regular coffee or tea drinker to know just how tough it is to cut back on the caffeine intake. I thought it would be hard but it was surprisingly easy for me. So why the test? On the podcast, they reminded me that caffeine has a half-life of 6 hours, which means that after 6 hours you still have 50% of the effect in your system. So if you have a caffeinated drink at 3pm and one at 5pm then this is essentially the same as having a full coffee at around 10pm. You may fall asleep with no problems, but your deep sleep will be affected. 

    From Garmin you get a breakdown of deep and light sleep. Plus awake time, so in theory seeing if a 2 week test will make any difference will be fairly easy to measure. 

    Is Caffeine Affecting Your Sleep?

    From my reading on the NHS and various other reputable sites, caffeine may affect your sleep, but not for everyone as everyone's body treats caffeine differently. My results from Garmin in the two weeks leading up to the test were as follows:

    Date Deep Sleep Light Sleep % of Deep Sleep
    1/5/2016 2:40:00 5:08:00 34.19%
    1/6/2016 3:03:00 4:17:00 41.59%
    1/7/2016 2:33:00 4:43:00 35.09%
    1/8/2016 3:28:00 4:16:00 44.83%
    1/9/2016 3:19:00 3:32:00 48.42%
    1/10/2016 4:22:00 6:12:00 41.32%
    1/11/2016 2:33:00 5:21:00 32.28%
    1/12/2016 2:44:00 5:32:00 33.06%
    1/13/2016 2:39:00 5:36:00 32.12%
    1/14/2016 2:26:00 5:20:00 31.33%
    1/15/2016 2:05:00 5:57:00 25.93%
    1/16/2016 3:34:00 5:14:00 40.53%
    1/17/2016 2:38:00 5:26:00 32.64%
    1/18/2016 2:59:00 4:31:00 39.78%
    1/19/2016 2:37:00 4:39:00 36.01%

    The test kicked off with the following rules. Going from 10+ cups of tea and coffee per day up until about 5pm to just one in the morning first thing. No other caffeine. Without other people to compare my stats to, I am just looking for a blame why my deep sleep is just a little over half (but very broken up through the night). 

    So bring on two weeks of sleep tracking with just one cup in the morning.

    Date Deep Sleep Light Sleep % of Deep Sleep
    1/20/2016 2:30:00 4:51:00 34.01%
    1/21/2016 3:35:00 4:42:00 43.26%
    1/22/2016 2:41:00 5:46:00 31.76%
    1/23/2016 3:02:00 4:45:00 38.97%
    1/24/2016 2:31:00 5:10:00 32.75%
    1/25/2016 2:10:00 3:39:00 37.25%
    1/26/2016 2:47:00 5:14:00 34.72%
    1/27/2016 2:26:00 4:50:00 33.49%
    1/28/2016 4:12:00 3:47:00 52.61%
    1/29/2016 2:10:00 5:01:00 30.16%
    1/30/2016 3:14:00 3:50:00 45.75%
    1/31/2016 2:51:00 6:19:00 31.09%
    2/1/2016 2:05:00 5:28:00 27.59%
    2/2/2016 2:11:00 4:01:00 35.22%

    Conclusion.... No change at all! Well at least for me there is no change. 36% of my sleep is deep sleep (according to my trusted Garmin Fenix 3)

    Sleep Data from the Garmin Fenix 3

    From the Garmin Fenix 3 via your phone or their Garmin Connect online account you let the watch know your typical sleep times (most of us have some sort of routine) and the watch will record your sleep.

    Sleep Movement Garmin Fenix 3

    The graph above is the movement during sleep. Garmin will interpret this data into deep and light sleep and that looks like the following.

    Garmin Fenix 3 Light and Deep Sleep Comparison

    Typically activity trackers that monitor your sleep will flag up just how little sleep you have. Read up on sleep and how much you should get. Then you will realise it is important and the deep sleep is what counts. In the chart above deep sleep is represented by the dark navy bars and the light sleep the light blue. Pink is awake time.

    Posted by Daniel Puddick
  • We Are Tea Product Review

    We Are Tea Product Review Sundried

    We Are Tea is an award-winning, ethical, independent tea company selling bagged and loose leaf tea from West London. Darren Spence started We Are Tea when on holiday in Budapest with his partner Suzy. Suzy was feeling unwell and the couple decided to visit a tea shop. Miraculously, Suzy felt better after sampling the various teas on offer. We Are Tea has won 49 Great Taste Awards since opening in 2007 and their products are available online and in supermarkets across the UK.

    We Are Tea now have 16 different flavours and we were lucky enough to be able to try their English Breakfast Black Tea, Cleanse Tea, and Moroccan Mint. 

    The Teas

    The English Breakfast Black Tea contains Assam and Darjeeling. Assam has many health benefits such as decreasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes, enhancement of the immune system, and for relieving tension and nerves. Whilst the Darjeeling in the tea helps with dental health, cancer, and obesity prevention.

    English Breakfast Black Tea Sundried Product Review

    The Cleanse Tea has ingredients such as nettle, dandelion, liquorice, milk thistle, and lemon peel. The nettle in the tea strengthens your immune system and also promotes healthy hair and skin. Dandelion is rich in vitamins A, C, and K as well as being rich in minerals such as calcium, iron, and antioxidants. This means that dandelion has benefits such as liver cleansing, protection against skin infections, and reduction in blood pressure. The liquorice in the tea has anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties. Milk thistle also has anti-inflammatory properties and is full of antioxidants. The last ingredient, lemon peel, contains high levels of calcium and vitamin C, which means it's great for maintaining and improving the strength of your bones

    The final flavour we tried, Moroccan Mint tea, has peppermint as one of the main active ingredients. Peppermint helps prevent nausea, reduces fever, boosts the immune system and finally, relieves stress and bloating.

    We Are Tea Moroccan Mint Tea Bag Flavour Sundried


    All these flavours were delicious and have had nothing but 5-star reviews. This brand has a great ethos and their tea has so many health benefits and a great taste.

    Buy online on the We Are Tea website

    Review written by Matt Sladden

    Posted by Alexandra Parren