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Podcast No. 64: How the New WHOOP Journal Works

By Will Ahmed

Podcast No. 64: How the New WHOOP Journal Works

We’ve just launched an exciting new feature in the WHOOP app: The WHOOP Journal.

Listen on:

It’s a customizable component that allows you to log specific things that may impact your performance on a daily basis. There are more than 40 behaviors you can track across lifestyle, nutrition, supplements, medication, sleep, recovery and more. Women can also now follow how pregnancy and menstruation are affecting them. Your privacy is critical to us here at WHOOP, so it’s important to note that this feature is for your eyes only. Kristen Holmes and Emily Capodilupo join me for an in-depth discussion on what we can learn from tracking these states and behaviors.

WHOOP Journal Podcast Show Notes:

2:09 - The All-New WHOOP Journal. “The inspiration for the WHOOP Journal is you want to be able to understand how all these different things in your life, behaviors, nutrition, lifestyle decisions, actually affect your WHOOP data. … We wanted to create something that was customizable and personal to you. With this new feature, members are going to be able to track against virtually anything they want.” 5:28 - Drinking Before Bed. “If you are trying to go to bed while drunk, alcohol is a deep-sleep agonist. You’re not going to get slow-wave sleep, you’re not going to get REM sleep, because when you’re drunk you’re more being sedated than actually actively sleeping. Sleep is a super active process. Lots of chemical reactions and biological reactions happen during sleep that don’t happen when we’re awake, so none of those things happen when we’re passed out drunk.” 8:04 - The Average Effect of Alcohol on WHOOP Members. “When people report drinking alcohol versus not, they wake up the next day with a 13 milisecond worse HRV (heart rate variability), they have a 17% worse recovery, and in general they’re getting about 20 minutes less sleep. They also have an elevated resting heart rate of 6 beats per minute. That’s just across the whole population and what we’re excited about again with this journal feature is we’re going to be able to hone this in for you.” 8:58 - Caffeine. “Everyone metabolizes caffeine very differently, so that’s one thing to pay attention to. Am I a fast caffeine metabolizer? Do I metabolize caffeine slowly? We’re all a little bit different, so when I need to stop drinking caffeine could be very different from you. Being able to track that and pay attention to it can give you a ton of insight into when you actually need to stop so it doesn’t influence your sleep onset latency for example. It can creep well into your sleep.” 10:27 - Marijuana’s Impact on Sleep. “I think this is going to be an interesting one for people. … There’s a lot of anecdotal information out there about people saying they’ve smoked marijuana and had a better sleep result, but I have a feeling this could also be highly personal.” 15:59 - The Effect of Sex. “I think it’s interesting to understand how you respond to it, especially if you’re thinking about the night before a [big event] or a period of time where you’re really, really sensitive to getting all the maximal recovery benefits because for some people the arousal increases your core body temperature, which is counter-productive for sleep. … I think that’s why quantifying is so important because the idea isn’t that WHOOP is going to tell you ‘Have sex’ or ‘Don’t have sex’ or all these things. If we can quantify for you what the effect of sex is, now you can go out and make an informed decision.” Will notes that sex tracking has been one of the most requested features from WHOOP members. 20:15 - Measuring Anxiety and Stress. “Those are things that can affect the quality of your sleep that would be not captured in training data. You might be wondering why you slept so poorly after you worked out and having been anxious or stressed the day before can help explain that. It gives color to something that otherwise we can’t automatically track.” Kristen adds, “What’s cool about this journal is that it takes into account the factors that actually are going to influence your performance. By tracking it and paying attention you can then start to figure out how different behaviors throughout the day actually impact you. That will show up in the metrics that we’re tracking. … For some of these, it’s been life-changing for me.” 26:32 - Reading Before Bed. “One of the reasons why reading is an interesting thing to track is because it can have different effects on different people.” Will notes that WHOOP members, on average, see a slight improvement in sleep data when reading before bed. 29:03 - Tracking Travel. “Exposure to the data over the last couple years in terms of what travel actually does to me has totally changed how I think about the lead-up to the travel. We call it the ‘pre-hab.’ Drinking way more water than you need, really trying to stabilize your sleep-wake time, just trying to check all the boxes in the lead up.” 31:26 - Sleeping in a Different Bed. “When we’re in an unfamiliar environment we get way less deep sleep because when we’re in deep sleep we’re much less responsive to our environment. So there’s this evolutionarily protective thing that when we’re in a foreign environment we don’t want to become completely unresponsive to our environment because that’s dangerous. So we sleep more lightly so that we can wake up more easily if a threat presents itself. So people sleep less well in new locations than they do when they’re at home.” 31:58 - Sharing Your Bed. “If you look at couples who have been married for a really long time, they actually go into slow-wave sleep at different times than each other. Their slow-wave sleeps will not overlap. It’s almost like they’re taking turns being vigilant.” 33:13 - Tracking Menstruation. “During different phases of your menstrual cycle the way that we respond to a training stimulus is actually really different. So the long-term goal is that we can help create better Strain Coach recommendations based on the phase of your menstrual cycle that you’re currently in.“ 35:43 - Learning More About Pregnancy. “Over time we’ll start to understand by tracking this data how pregnant women, in their various trimesters of pregnancy, respond to training. What is a normal response? Given that you’re also growing a human, which is an incredibly high-strain event all by itself.” 38:26 - Comparing Different Diets Using WHOOP. “It’s exciting because we’re going to have data that no one on the planet has around this. I think we’re going to uncover a lot of really cool stuff.” 40:20 - Evaluating Medications with the Journal. “It’s a really valuable explanation about what’s going on.” Emily notes, for example, that allergy medication can affect HRV and other medications might impact your normal WHOOP data.