Look Out He’s Wired!

May 27, 2015 - Mike Dilke

As I opened my front door the policeman was trying to smash and driver’s window – he didn’t succeed and the car took off at high speed. Then it got really serious and the road filled up with flashing lights, uniformed and plain clothes policemen and the suspects were finally apprehended.

Not a passage from my new novel but what happened to me a couple of weeks ago. I happened to be wearing a heart rate monitor, lent to me by Simon Shepard of Optima Life, designed to analyse the stress of aspects of your life and how your body recovers from the lifestyle you subject it to.  This seemed like it could be a good test of the equipment.

The monitor allows a lifestyle assessment and looks at your heart rate variability to measure stress and recovery. I wore the monitor continuously for five days, only removing it to shower, but the standard is three days which is enough to give useful feedback on the demands you are making on your body.

My stress levels went up witnessing the police action but recovery was fast. The recovery information that really surprised me was looking at my sleep patterns after drinking a relatively small amount of alcohol – well OK 2 units. I thought I would sleep better but it took a couple of hours of sleep before I really entered a recovery phase and the same was true after eating my evening meal and then going straight to bed. The graph below shows how my recovery didn’t start for a couple of hours after I went to bed – the alarming part is that I went straight to sleep.


Optima Life Graph


One aspect I found very interesting was that my stress levels were generally low but when I had to drive for a couple of hours to see a client they went up to ‘more than usual.’ The traffic was OK and I didn’t think I was particularly worried or hassled so what was happening? Well I am not too sure but perhaps I should try and arrive extra early for important meetings if I am driving to give me time to be at my best before I start talking!

The report I received from being wired to monitor gave me a detailed assessment of my exercise levels, sleep patterns and stress levels. However, more importantly when looking at it with Simon it gave sensible advice on how to change things for the better.

There are some very practical uses of the monitor for managing staff. For example when is the best time for a car salesman to make his pitch or for a bank trader to execute that mega deal?  The output from the monitor shows how people are coping with real life situations and will help them understand more about themselves.  For that car sales person the excitement of selling a car (and earning a commission) can really play havoc physically and emotionally, meaning that selling the next one becomes nigh on impossible.

So the monitor can tell us how to keep healthy, how to stay productive and how to get more energy for life away from work – it might even provide information on how to have a more profitable business – seems like the proverbial no brainer!


To find out more the technology take a look at www.firstbeat.com and to find out how Optima-life helps businesses with purpose, productivity and performance go to www.optima-life.com