Andrew "Drew" Ford

Full Stack Developer / Instructor from Tauranga, New Zealand

Self Quantifying

Something I've been doing for a number of years seems to be very much a mainstream thing now. That is quantifying ones self. Measuring your sleep, movement, mood, heart rate the list is getting longer everyday as technology finds ways to easily measure them.

In short, quantified self is self-knowledge through self-tracking with technology. Wikipedia

Sunday on TV ONE tonight ran a short piece on a group of people measuring their runs, calories and even brain waves. While it was a bit weak on highlighting the benefits of tracking this info it showed how it can be quite fun to learn and measure this info about ourselves.

sleep cycle

I myself started off tracking my sleep with an app called "Sleep Cycle". It measures your sleep cycle and wakes you up at the "best" time in your sleep cycle. I myself use it purely for reference, generally you know when you have a crap sleep but tracking it can be helpful to help find the cause.


There has been a recommendation going around that you supposedly need to take 10,000 steps a day (supposedly it was used to sell pedometers in Japan). For someone that works at home like me this is actually pretty hard to do. So to help track my movement I have been using an app called Moves to track walking, running and cycling. What I like about Moves is I don't have to do anything, just enable the app and carry your phone with you. It's that easy. What it has made me do is be more mindful about the activity I do everyday.


The last app I've been using is Cardiio to measure my resting heart rate. This one I've only been using for a short time but finding very easy to use. Resting heart rate can be a great indicator of your fitness level.

The biggest thing lacking using seperate apps is how to combine all these different bits of data into one easy to view dashboard. I don't have the answer to this yet but the apps I have chosen do have export options to get the data out of the apps. A very inspirational site where someone has rolled their own dashboard is Anand Sharma's quantified self tracking site aprilzero.com to get an idea of how having all this information at our fingertips can maybe help us find trends in our health. I'm very interested to see how apps take advantage of the new Healthkit in iOS 8, it could be the glue that will bring all this info together.