Tag Archives: SweetWater Health

Congratulations to Our First Heart Rate Monitor Giveaway Winner – Tommy!

Congratulations to Tommy, our first heart rate monitor giveaway winner! We have sent Tommy a free Vernier hand-held heart rate monitor. It’s not too late to sign-up for our next month’s heart rate monitor giveaway. We will be giving away a free monitor every month until the end of the year!

Tommy’s Story:

“I am a software engineer with a pretty sedentary job. I work from home and sit behind my laptop most of the day. Over the years, I have been getting more and more out of shape, so I finally decided to get fit. I dabble in film making and visual effects in my free time so I tend to follow a lot of people from that industry on Twitter. One person I follow started a podcast called Fitness in Post. In one of his episodes, he interviewed a lady named Ronda Collier from your company. She was very interesting to listen to and that lead me to purchasing a heart rate monitor and your SweetBeat HRV and DailyBeat HRV app. Three weeks ago, I started on my journey to get fit and eat healthy. I use your app every morning to check my heart rate when I first get out of bed. I also use another one of your apps, SweetBeat HRV right after my morning workout to check my recovery rate. I get up at least once every hour and walk for five to ten minutes and I average about 14,000 steps a day. So far I’ve lost about 8 pounds, sleep better and generally feel better. I still have about 65 pounds left to loose.”

We are so proud of Tommy for taking his health into his own hands. Our users inspire us everyday to continue making products that help people understand their health. We look forward to meeting more of you during these next month’s giveaways!

Enter now through your DailyBeat application! Email us at support@sweetwaterhrv.com if you have any questions or concerns.

 

DailyBeatHRV

Improve your HRV with the Delta Sleeper SR1

Many of you know SweetWater Health’s co-founder and CTO, Jo Beth Dow, as our resident biohacker. She has spoken at many quantified self events about her experiments. Most recently, she has been using the Delta Sleeper SR1 for better quality sleep and longer nights. Below you will find her testimonial:

“I am always searching for new techniques and technology that will help improve HRV.  Our partner and friend, Ben Greenfield of Ben Greenfield Fitness highly recommended the Delta Sleeper and he was posting his morning HRV after using the device.  I was intrigued after viewing Ben’s posts and I had to try it for myself.

I started using the Delta Sleeper SR1, a 1.5 ounce device, to determine what affect PEMF had on my heart rate variability.  Being an ultra lark I never had difficulty falling asleep but sometimes I had difficulty staying asleep.  I would wake up between 3:30 am and 4:30 am and start working.  Fortunately, I was getting 7 to 7 1/2 hours of sleep per night.  I never fully understood until now what affect my rather unique sleep schedule had on my husband.

The Delta Sleeper SR1 was easy to use and while I was sleeping I wasn’t even aware that I was wearing it.  The Delta Sleeper SR1 is a small device that you place on your brachial plexus using a thin adhesive strip. The first night I did not notice any difference.  The second night I was restless but woke up feeling unusually good.  The third night I had decided not to wear the SR1 and I had a very restless night.  I got up in the middle of the night and placed the SR1 on my forehead (this is not recommended application) but I was too groggy to apply the adhesive and place it on my brachial plexus.  I slept in until 7:25 am and felt wonderful!

I have continued to use the SR1 every night.  Even on the nights that I am not sleeping longer, I feel especially clear, relaxed and focused in the morning.  One night I told my husband I wasn’t going to wear the SR1.  I wanted to test the quality of my sleep without the product.  My husband responded, “You’re not?”  I replied, “What, you want me to wear it?”  His response was, “I want you to implant it.”

The SR1 has not only helped me sleep longer but as a secondary effect helped my husband sleep better.  Even the nights that I don’t sleep longer than my previous norm I feel like I am getting more quality sleep and sleeping deeper.  I have two months of HRV data since using the SR1.  My morning HRV has increased  9 points and is moving on an upward trend, reached an all time high HRV on several mornings and my afternoon HRV and LF/HF power levels have increased.  The numbers are impressive especially since the HRV value is logarithmic.

JBsgraph

To purchase the Delta Sleeper SR1, click here or on the image below.

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New Graphs: SweetBeatLife Update!

Yes, you read it right! There is a SweetBeatLife update available, which includes brand new enhanced graphs. The graphs are completely interactive and allow for a better view of your SweetBeatLife metrics.

Key features of the new graphs:

  • Zoom in by putting your pointer finger and thumb on the graph and moving your fingers away from each other. Double tapping the graph can also be used to zoom in.
  • Zoom out by using the same two fingers and making a pinching motion.
  • By holding your finger down on the graph, you will create cross hairs to pinpoint.
  • There is a yellow circle with an “I” in the middle of it in the top right corner which opens up the graph’s key.
  • Turning your phone to the left will give you a landscape view.

Note: If you do not see these graphs when you open SweetBeatLife, this means you have to manually install the update. You can do this by going to your App store, click on the bottom right tab labeled Updates, and install the SweetBeatLife update.

See below for examples of the new graphs:

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We have been constantly working on SweetBeatLife to make it the most full functioning heart rate variability (HRV) application you’ve ever used. We hope you enjoy these new graphs as much as we do!

Happy Quantifying!

Visualizing HR, HRV, and GSR While Watching ‘Interstellar’ by Bob Troia

This blog repost is from one of our more “connected” users, Bob Troia, also known as Quantified Bob.  Bob enjoys tracking and analyzing his metrics based on the effects of many factors such as, his Bulletproof Diet, his glucose reading, even his personality type. To see exactly what Bob is tracking and read into his prior experiments go to his blog.

Interstellar

In this case, Quantified Bob took something as simple as watching the movie, Interstellar, and turned it into a Quantified Self experiment. He used a Polar H7 to capture 3-hours of biometrics, specifically RR-Intervals. The SweetBeatLife app then uses clinical grade algorithms to analyze the data. Anyone with one of our applications and a heart rate monitor chest strap (BTLE) can do the same. Bob exported his heart rate and heart rate variability data from SweetBeatLife, and his Galvanic Skin Response from a Basis B1. Read below to see his heart rate and heart rate variability response.

Heart Rate

“Interestingly, my heart rate trend (on the left, below) looks very similar to the original Reddit user (on the right)! Both of us are using data from our wrist-worn Basis devices – in my case, the older B1 model, and for the Reddit user the newer Basis Peak. Although the Peak is capable of capturing more samples, the data returned from Basis is always an average value for each minute.

Interstellar HR comparison

However, SweetBeatLife is recording data at a resolution of 1 sample per second via the Polar H7. The per-second pulse data is a little bit jumpy and hard to follow (in gray), so I’ll also include a 60-second moving average as well (in blue):

Interstellar Heart Rate Polar H7

It looks very similar to the data recorded by my Basis. Good!

Heart Rate Variability (HRV)

Heart Rate Variability uses a technique in which the spaces between heart beats are measured, and is a good way to measure stress via an individual’s “flight or fight” response (the higher one’s HRV, the better). There are a number of ways HRV can be calculated, and in this case we are using what’s known as rMSSD (root mean square of successive differences). You can check out Wikipedia for a pretty good overview of HRV.

Interstellar Heart Rate Variability

Not only can Bob see when the movie had him in sympathetic versus parasympathetic but he can point out when he was having deep thoughts of gravity and space. Bob was also able to determine that there is, “an inverse relationship between heart rate and HRV, which makes sense – if your heart starts beating faster, you are most likely encountering more stress, which increases your sympathetic response and thus lowers HRV.”

Read more about his Galvanic Skin Response and how Bob interpreted this data, read the original article here. If you want to better understand HRV and the many benefits of tracking it, I recommend browsing around the SweetWater Health Library.

Interview with Ronda Collier: How Heart Rate Variability Can Help You Manage Stress by Primal Blueprint

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Description: Host Brad Kearns talks with Brock Armstrong (the voice of the MDA blog podcasts and a Sweetbeat ambassador/product tester) and Ronda Collier, CEO of Sweetwater Health, makers of the Sweetbeat Life iOS application. Sweetbeat Life allows for convenient Heart Rate Variability (HRV) measuring and information storage. This discussion will acquaint listeners with the basics of HRV, and proceed quickly to discuss some of the finer points of HRV’s effectiveness in monitoring stress and recovery. Heart Rate Variability is a measurement of the variation in intervals between heartbeats. More variation indicates better cardiovascular fitness and stress management, and is represented in a higher HRV number on a 1-100 scale.

Finer details of this show’s discussion include: how Low Frequency (LF) and High Frequency (HF) values correlate with sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system activity; techniques for how to moderate your stress response and improve your recovery through breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, and extra sleep; and a step-by-step process for how to get started in HRV monitoring (buying the proper equipment, operating the Sweetbeat Life app smoothly, and understanding how to best use the informational graphs generated by the app). This is a fantastic show to help you jump head first into the amazing health technology of Heart Rate Variability!

Topic timestamps:

  • What is HRV?: 01:19
  • Autonomic nervous system: 03:01
  • You want a high HRV: 08:32
  • Crossover point: 13:46
  • Look at other stressors: 21:31
  • The brain’s job: 23:37
  • Getting quality sleep: 30:31
  • Analyzing sleep cycle: 33:09
  • How to get started: 35:42
  • How did Ronda get into this?: 42:29
  • Stress measurement: 44:2

Listen to the full podcast here!

Why Artificial Sweeteners Make You Fat: What Do We Do Now?

SodaWe’ve been hearing for years that artificial sweeteners are bad for you and can actually cause weight gain. This flies in the face of logic. After all, if you’re consuming fewer calories than you would if you were using sugar or honey, how could they encourage weight gain? And just how bad are they for you in other ways? We decided to stop asking ourselves these questions and get down to what appears to be the truth of the matter.

Artificial sweeteners have been around for more than 130 years; saccharin was developed in 1878 from coal tar derivatives (yum!). It didn’t enter widespread use until WWI, due to sugar shortages. But artificial sweeteners experienced a huge boost in popularity in the 1960s and 1970s, as new sweeteners were introduced to satisfy the sweet tooth (teeth?) of dieters.[1] The rising tide of American obesity increased in step with the increase in consumption of artificially sweetened products, particularly diet sodas.

Artificial sweeteners have been controversial and subject to scrutiny almost from their inception. The USDA began investigating saccharin in 1907, and then proceeded to flipflop, proclaiming it an adulterant in 1911, then stating in 1912 that saccharin was not harmful to human health.

Cyclamates underwent similar scrutiny by the FDA in the 1960s, and is still banned in the U.S., spurring the development of alternatives such as aspartame and sucralose. Artificial sweeteners are in widespread use today in sodas, candies and other processed foods, as well as available on (almost) every restaurant table in America. Some, like stevia, claim to be derived from natural sources, the implication being that they are better for you than completely laboratory-derived products. (Most stevia products are actually highly processed.)

The basis for the story that artificial sweeteners promote weight gain comes from a study at Purdue University.[2] Rats were fed yogurt sweetened with glucose (table sugar) and compared to a group of rats fed yogurt sweetened with zero-calorie saccharin. Three different experiments were conducted to see whether saccharin changed the rats’ ability to regulate intake of calories. The saccharin-fed rats later consumed more calories, gained more weight, put on more body fat and didn’t make up for it by cutting back on calories. This phenomenon occurred at statistically significant levels.

The researchers postulated that when the body detects sweetness, it gears up to consume a high-calorie food. When the false sweetness is not followed by the anticipated calories, it confuses the body’s connection between sweetness and calories. This leads to increased intake of calories and a blunted satiety response to overeating, leading to increased accumulation of fat.

Of course, these were rats, not people. Other studies have shown that at some level, the brain can distinguish between real and artificial sweeteners—but not, as it happens, if the person regularly consumes diet soft drinks. A diet soda drinker’s pleasure center in the brain will respond equally to either sucrose- or artificially sweetened sodas. Activity was diminished in an area of the brain called the caudate head in diet soda drinkers. Decreased activation of this area is associated with elevated risk of obesity.[3]

So far, we’ve learned that artificial sweeteners may blunt people’s satiety response, but that if they come in the form of diet soda, this effect may be worsened. Is there anything else out there to worry us about artificial sweeteners?

Although there have been many hoaxes perpetuated around artificial sweeteners and their alleged danger to human health, according to the FDA, all sweeteners currently on the market have been conclusively proven safe for human consumption.[4] There is no credible evidence that any of these sweeteners cause toxic reactions, cancer, seizures, or any of the other claims that have been lodged against them.

However, there is ample evidence they can make you fat. What more do we need to know? Artificial sweeteners are products that do the exact opposite of what they were intended to do.

So what alternatives do we have? We know that sugar isn’t good for us, and we know that high fructose corn syrup is worse. Sugar alcohols (which are not alcohols) can raise blood glucose levels, although not usually to the level of sugar. Sugar alcohols (including maltitol, sorbitol and xylitol) can also cause gastric symptoms, especially in children.[5] Honey is no better than sugar, healthwise, especially if processed (raw honey may confer some health benefits in the form of trace minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals).

Fortunately, there are a number of alternatives for sweetening the morning cup of tea or coffee. Which you choose depends on your personal taste, plus where it falls on the glycemic index. Diabetics in particular need to find a low-glycemic-index sweetener they can live with if they wish to avoid artificial sweeteners.

Brown rice syrup. This has a distinct malty or nutty flavor. It falls high on the glycemic index at 85, which makes it unsuitable for diabetics. It does contain minute traces of arsenic because brown rice contains minute traces of arsenic, but not enough to harm you unless you’re really chugging the stuff—in which case, you might have other worries.

Coconut palm sugar. This is a pale brown, granulated sugar made from the sap of coconut palms. It has a pleasant, light flavor and is relatively low on the glycemic index at 35.

Barley malt syrup. This is derived from malted (sprouted) barley that is cooked until the starch converts to sugar. It comes as a syrup or powder and is 42 on the glycemic index.

Agave nectar. Made from the juice of the blue agave plant (the same plant used to make tequila). It’s low on the glycemic index, between 15 and 30, depending on whether you are using raw or refined syrup. The raw syrup is darker and has more flavor, while the refined is a light color and has less flavor.

Stevia. Stevia is 0 on the glycemic index although it is 200-300 times sweeter than table sugar. It is touted as a natural product, but the white powder you put in your iced tea is in fact the product of an intensive refining process (and may also contain maltodextrin, which is highly processed and may elevate blood sugar[6]). There are liquid tinctures of stevia available that are not highly processed.

The sweeteners mentioned here are widely available, affordable, and palatable to most people (although some people react strongly to the taste of stevia). Find out more about sweeteners and where they fall on the glycemic scale at http://www.organiclifestylemagazine.com/healthy-sugar-alternatives/

SweetBeat Tuned for Athletic HRV Training

Front crawl swimmer speeding through the pool

 

Many of you are athletes or fitness-focused individuals and currently use SweetBeat to monitor and track your HRV as it correlates to your training routine. In an effort to better meet your needs, we have added some features that are specifically designed for HRV recovery and training.

The latest release of SweetBeat can now be downloaded from the App Store.

When you press start, you can view a selection screen to monitor stress, run HRV For Training session or run a Heart Rate Recovery session. If you select the Help icon (question mark in a box) at the right of each session type, you will see the following screen.

Session Selection Screen

Select session

 

You can learn about the HRV For Training feature set by swiping to the left after you select the help ? button. The following six screens give you an overview of the new SweetBeat functionality.

 

Screen1

 

Screen2

 

Screen3

 

Screen4

 

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HRV for Training over time

 

To run an HRV For Training session, select the session option, and press the start button on the main monitor screen. SweetBeat will automatically filter your HRV readings from your heart rate monitor and begin counting down a three-minute session.

The SweetBeat learning algorithm will establish a reference line over a few days as shown in the HRV For Training Over Time graph.

We recommend that you initially do light training or no training for a couple of days.  If you do train during initial sessions, the algorithm will compensate and adjust over the first 10 days of use, improving accuracy over time.

The HRV For Training Over Time graph will provide recommendations after each daily reading for a regular training day (HRV is above reference line), a light exertion day (HRV is below reference line for one day), or a rest day (HRV is below the reference line for two days).

If you wish, SweetBeat will remind you to take a daily HRV reading, with a selectable time that you preset. This reminder will appear initially when you select your first HRV training session. If you want to change the daily reminder time, you can access the preset in the settings menu under application settings.

Daily Reminder Setting

Daily Reminder

 

Charts for each session are included in history tab as well as cumulative charts for all sessions. HRV training sessions are tagged as HRV in the history screen.  You can also still select your own tag.

Good luck with your training! If you have any questions you can email us at support@sweetwaterhrv.com and we will reply within 24 hours.