Sunday, August 28, 2011

Quick Blood Pressure Update - magnesium and more vitamin D

I ran out of prescription so I am going to go awhile before refilling it and see what happens.

Relevant items include going from 4000IU of Vitamin D tablets to 5000IU of gelcaps a day.  Its more and I am told that gelcaps lead to more reliable absorption.  I am pretty good about taking the tablets after food so in theory only the increase in IU's will change.

Also, magnesium apparently can affect blood pressure so we shall see.

I am still taking Vitamin C.

Back to the Drawing Board on sleep experiments

Upon the collection of further data, I have basically made no progress on improving my sleep.  In fact, in general, I am worse than I was during the control week.  Check it out.

Column1 nothing just mask any mask mask/ear plugs mask/earplugs/magnesium
z score 75.6 72.2 74.4 74 71
deep 37.4 36.8 35 34 32.5
awake 17.4 22.8 17.8 17 20
awoken 3.6 3.2 3.4 3.4 4

Its not the proudest I have ever been of a table, but the results are pretty clear if you take a second.

Lets talk about the magnesium a second.  I noticed one thing....I pooped more.  Turns out the poop part is very common and means it isn't really getting into your system.

In follow on research, I have become convinced that I still am not getting enough magnesium (most people aren't).  And if you are deficient, in a cruel twist of fate, it can be hard to get it orally (thus the squirts). 

So now the next step...ditch the sleep mask, earplugs and take epsom salt baths to get magnesium topically. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sleep updates - Sleep Mask/Earplugs = good, caffeine = bad

So wearing a sleep mask and earplugs definitely reduces the number of times I wake up (3.6 to 2.5) and the amount of time awake (17.4 to 12.8).  However, it didn't seem to do much for the amount of deep sleep I got (37.4 to 38.3).  I rarely felt tired during this time (didn't really want to take a nap), but I also didn't feel particularly energetic.  I don't have a better way of describing it.  There was also no real increase in productivity during the time of this improved sleep.

These results are confounded a bit by the fact that I also cut out caffeine for all but one day of this trial.  I don't think the results are largely due to that though.  One day, I intentionally drank an above average amount of caffeine and that was the night I only woke up once for two minutes and had the second highest amount of deep sleep ever.

I did notice that I had a headache for three days after quitting.  Which seems like withdrawal...that isn't cool.  I also noticed I didn't have the afternoon dip after I got through the headaches.  So I probably will continue to avoid caffeine even though it doesn't appear to directly affect sleep.

Bottom line....a lot of waking/wake time is bad for deep sleep, but there is clearly more to increasing deep sleep than just sleeping through the night.

I am going to try experimenting with 800mg of Magnesium now.  There is a lot of anecdotal evidence in forums and from Tim Ferriss that it improves sleep.

Even more Vitamin C does not equal even more Blood Pressure Reduction

After increasing Vitamin C to 1000mg, There was no further reduction in blood pressure.

I have gone back to 500mg of Vitamin C.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Vitamin C seems like it lowers Blood Pressure

After 8 days of control data and 8 days of taking Vitamin appears to have lowered my blood pressure about 5 points.  112/75 to 107/70.  

Even though I had seen the research, I have to tell you I'm a little surprised.  There was a drop on the first night.  I did everything I could to keep everything else the same.  In fact, I really used it as an excuse to eat kinda crappy.  The sleep experiments did continue at the same time, but I can find no connection between any of the sleep results and the blood pressure.

I think I am going to up the dosage to 1000 mg (+90 mg from multivitamin). 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Orange Glasses don't work....but Sleep Mask might

There is no connection between the amount of deep sleep I get and the Orange Goggles (37.4 vs 37.7 min) The theory that I need to wind down more to get more deep sleep is not true. No matter how I sliced up the data it took about 50 minutes before I hit deep sleep.

In retrospect, this makes a little sense. If there were any problems with me and light...It is probably that I am not getting enough rather than too much. May explore more time in the sun in a future experiment.

So it must be interruptions that are taking me out of deep sleep.

There is clearly a connection between the number of wake ups, time awake, and deep sleep. The x-axis below is number of times to wake up. You can see amount of deep sleep decreasing as the number of wakes.

The trouble is the Sleep Mask doesn't appear to be doing the trick. It decreases the average number of wake ups (4.3 to 3.2 per night), but doesn't significantly change the amount of deep sleep (36.8 to 38 min night). It actually appears to have increased the amount of wake time (18 to 22.8 min).

My only guess is sound. I live in an urban area next to a train track. I haven't personally noticed noise in the night but it is all I got.

I'll start tonight wearing earplugs along with the sleep mask and see what happens.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

First Blood Pressure experiment

I took my first 500 mg of Vitamin C today.  I'll take one every day.  I am betting it will be at least a month before there is any evidence of anything.  I will continue to take my Lisinopril for the duration.

The research this is based on is located on the original blood pressure post

My current average morning BP is 112/75.

EDIT: I have also been taking a multivitamin for quite some time with 90 mg of Vitamin C.  So 590 mg of Vitamin C a day.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Orange Glasses sure feel like they work....

But I'll be damned if I can prove it.

Time to sleep didn't really change.  I am not the type to go to bed till I am ready so that seems unlikely.  My time to go to bed didn't change much either though.  I notice I yawn when I wear them, but I am not looking to increase my yawn count.

All that being said, I do think it gives me a drowsy feeling that increases the likelihood that I go to bed at a decent hour.  It may be placebo, but that is good enough for now.

However, there is no doubt that there isn't any increase in deep sleep.  In that respect, the experiment was a failure.

Still learned quite a bit.  The amount of deep sleep directly affects how I feel in the morning/throughout the day.  The only day I felt noticeably better was the day I got almost twice as much deep sleep as I did any other day (even though it was the lowest total amount of sleep since I started tracking). 

The current hypothesis then has to be that something (light/noise) is interrupting my deep sleep.  Since I am more comfortable with the idea of wearing a sleep mask rather than earplugs/white noise machine....we'll start with that.

For the next three nights (may have to be four since I will probably skip the night when i have houseguests), I will continue with orange glasses an hour or so before bed and a sleep mask before I go to sleep.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

First four nights of data and the first sleep experiment

Have completed the first four nights of data collection with the Zeo.  Initially, I had intended to get a whole weeks worth of data before experimenting began.  However, there are a few patterns that are so obvious I am going to go ahead and work on them.

First, the data with a little commentary

Friday night...note the transition from Deep to Light right before 2.  This was the result of some drunks outside my window.  Notice all the waking that happens after 6.

Saturday night (Sunday morning) I took a nap that afternoon so sleepy time didn't happen till 4.  Notice the near total lack of Deep (I'm not sure if something happened at 5 to wake me up)  Again, notice all the waking after 6.

Sunday night - Worked out during the day.  Didnt seem to cause any notable change.  41 minutes of Deep.  Again, notice all the waking after 6.

Monday Night -  Almost don't want to count this night since I woke up a little before 6 and instantly went to check the data.  Feel I may have thrown it off. 37 minutes of Deep.

So two issues instantly pop out (you see where this is going?).  The waking up around 6....I can only assume is related to sunrise.  This is a surprise.  I would not have guessed this would be an issue (which is why I didn't have a sleep mask on the things I wanted to test) Except for Monday, whenever I go to sleep I start spending a lot of time awake after 6. 

Second is the low amount of Deep.  I haven't felt especially refreshed after any of these nights.  My REM sleep is above average (on the high side in fact) and my Deep is on the low end.  That makes me think  the lack of Deep sleep is preventing me from feeling great.

The sunrise issue can probably be dealt with pretty easily.  I already have a sleep mask and if that showed great results, I have already priced out some black out curtains.  However, I dont think that is going to be too helpful.  On workdays, I generally don't sleep too much past 6 anyway and it would probably only add to my REM or light sleep which I am getting plenty off.

I am going to test the orange glasses as a way of increasing Deep sleep.  The theory being that my brain will be shutting down while I wear them so when I finally hit the sack I will drop down to Deep.  I am going to try to wear them at least an hour before going to bed. 

If the theory is correct, than the results should be pretty instantaneous.  Next entry will be after three nights of data.