Your Sleep Data Explained: Sleeping Heart Rate Breathing Rate And Hrv
Gathering sleep data is one thing, but understanding it is something else entirely. Here’s how to interpret the sleep data on your fitness tracker or health app.
To get a full picture of your health, track more than your activity. Track your sleep too.
Wrist-worn smartwatches or fitness trackers can do much more than take calls and track workouts these days, and if you have one, you should take advantage of all the snazzy features, sleep tracking in particular.
Tracking your sleep can reveal a wealth of information about your health that you may’ve been totally oblivious to before. If you utilize that data, you can manipulate your diet, workout routine, stress management tactics and other factors to become superhuman. OK, maybe not superhuman , but you’ll still feel dang good.
The information available to you depends on the device you have, but most sleep trackers collect a variety of data points, including sleep stage percentages, heart rate, breathing rate and maybe even heart rate variability.
When you first look at your sleep tracker data, all those numbers and graphs may feel dizzying. In this article, I explain what your sleep data points mean and how to use them to your benefit.
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What Is Rest Apnea And Also Exactly What Are The Signs
Sleep Apnea Low Heart RateExactly what is sleep apnea? Apnea literally implies no breath or quiting breathing.
Lots of people have rest apnea, yet might not even understand it.
As a matter of fact, sleep apnea impacts greater than 3 in 10 guys and also nearly 2 in 10 females, so its even more common compared to you could assume.
If you assume you might have rest apnea, it is necessary to identify some of the common signs and symptoms and just what you can do concerning it.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Low Heart Rate
It is very possible to have a slow heart rate and experience no symptoms. However, if you have symptoms but ignore them, it can sometimes cause more serious problems.
Consult your doctor if you are experiencing some of these symptoms and you have an associated slow heart rate:
- Lack of energy.
- Heart palpitations or flutters.
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Sleep And Blood Pressure
During normal, healthy sleep, blood pressure drops by around 10-20%. This is known as nocturnal dipping, and research highlights its role in cardiovascular health.
Poor sleep, whether from a lack of sleep or sleep disruptions, is associated with non-dipping, meaning that a persons blood pressure doesnt go down at night. Studies have found that elevated nighttime blood pressure is tied to overall hypertension .
In fact, nocturnal blood pressure has been found to be even more predictive of heart problems than high blood pressure during the day. Non-dipping has been tied to an increased risk of stroke and heart attack. Its also been linked to kidney problems and reduced blood flow to the brain.
Raised daytime blood pressure has been identified as a consequence of sleep deprivation in multiple studies, but it doesnt affect all people equally. The link between lack of sleep and high blood pressure is highest in middle-aged adults. People who work long hours in high-stress jobs and people with other risk factors for hypertension are more likely to have raised blood pressure after chronic poor sleep.
The Conduction System Of The Heart
The heart has its own natural pacemaker made up of a specialized collection of cells in the top chamber of the heart known as the SA node. This generates an impulse that travels through another collection of cells in the middle of the heart known as the AV node. The pathways taken by the impulses are known as the conduction system.
Problems with a low heart rate can be caused by dysfunction of the SA node, the AV node or the conduction system! It gets even more complex. The conduction system of the heart has many nerves attached to it some of these nerves decrease the rate of conduction whereas others increase the rate of conduction. The nerves that decrease the rate of conduction and therefore lower heart rate are known as parasympathetic nerves. An example is when someone vomits this can increase impulses in the parasympathetic nerves and slow the heart rate significantly for a while. This can even lead to passing out, which is known as a vagal event.
A balance of impulse from the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nerves determine a persons baseline heart rate. Interestingly, in experiments where a persons nerve supply is blocked, the heart rate is often higher this would suggest that the parasympathetic nerve impulses that serve to slow the heart rate down are the predominant force under normal resting conditions. This is particularly evident at night when most people have a significant drop in heart rate.
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What Is Maximum Heart Rate
Your maximum heart rate is a calculation that helps you figure out what your ideal target heart rate is during exercise.
You can estimate your maximum age-related heart rate . For example, for a 35-year-old person, the estimated maximum age-related heart rate would be calculated as 220 35 years = 185 beats per minute .
This maximum heart rate calculation helps you see if youre exercising too hard, or not putting enough energy in. Your target heart rate uses this calculation to reflect the ideal bpm you need for a great workout.
According to the American Heart Association , your target heart rate during moderate-intensity activities is about 50-70% of maximum heart rate, while vigorous physical activity should result in about 70-85% of your maximum.
So for this 35-year-old individual, a great target heart rate to aim for is between 93-157 bpm .
Iv Sleep And A Healthy Heart
There are many things you can do to keep your heart healthy. You should be sure to do the following:
- Eat a balanced diet
- Watch out for and treat high blood pressure
- Get regular medical check-ups
Another thing you can do is to make sure that you get enough sleep to keep your body well rested. You can often sleep better by simply following the practices of good sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene consists of basic habits and tips that help you develop a pattern of healthy sleep. See the Resources section of this site to find out how you can start down the path to better sleep.
Watch for signs that you may have a sleep disorder. Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can put great stress on your heart. Men who are overweight and have large necks are most likely to have OSA.
Symptoms of OSA include the following:
- Loud snoring
- Gasping for breath or choking while asleep
- Trouble staying awake during the daytime
You may not be aware of these signs because they only occur while you are sleeping. Your breathing is normal when you are awake. Ask a bed partner or someone else who has observed your sleep to find out if you snore or stop breathing during your sleep.
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What Treatments Are Available For Patients With Bradycardia
If you have bradycardia but do not have any symptoms, or if the bradycardia doesnt happen often or last long, you may not need treatment. Sometimes bradycardia is a good thing and is the goal of treatment.
If you need treatment, it will be based on the cause of the condition. If you have an electrical problem in your heart, you will need a pacemaker to keep your heart beating as it should. A pacemakers is a small device that is placed under your skin to monitor your hearts rate and rhythm. If needed, the pacemaker will send an electrical impulse to your heart to restore a normal heart rate. There are many types of pacemakers. Your doctor will choose the right type to meet your needs.
Ii Sleep And Cardiovascular Disease
Sleep and sleep disorders both play a role in cardiovascular disease . The exact role that they play is still not quite clear. One thing that is certain is that there is a higher risk of sudden cardiac death in the first few hours after you wake up. This may be due to the amount of work your heart has to do when your body gets up and moving again. CVD is a leading cause of death in the U.S. It takes the life of nearly 2,600 Americans every day.
Common forms of CVD include the following:
- High blood pressure
- Congenital heart defects
People with obstructive sleep apnea have been shown to have higher rates of coronary heart disease and strokes. People who have had a heart attack are more likely to have OSA than those without heart disease. It can be even harder for someone to fully recover from a heart attack if their OSA is not treated.
OSA is a sleep disorder that occurs when the tissue in the back of the throat blocks the airway. This is very common, because the muscles inside the throat relax as you sleep. You stop breathing, keeping the oxygen you need from getting to the lungs. When you stop breathing, your body wakes up. It happens so quickly, you aren’t even aware of it. You can stop breathing hundreds of times in one night. Being treated for OSA reduces your risk of death due to CVD.
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Exactly What Should I Do If I Believe A Trouble
If youve attempted enhancing your rest, however still snore or awaken feeling tired, its time to talk to your doctor.
If you have actually been informed you snore, as well as really feel weary and indifferent a great deal of the time, take time to review this with your medical professional.
Renewed excitement for living and also a wonderful vitality could just be your incentive.
Dr Carmel Harrington, Sleep Professional
Causes Of Low Heart Rate
Firstly we will discuss things directly affecting the heart tissue and the conduction system called intrinsic disease. Aging is a common cause of slow heart rate, which results from degeneration of the conduction system of the heart. Heart attacks may damage areas of the conduction system also. Conditions that affect many organs of the body such as sarcoid, lupus and others can also affect the conduction system of the heart. Undergoing heart valve surgery such as the TAVR procedure for aortic stenosis, the mitraclip procedure for mitral regurgitation, mitral valve replacement or mitral valve repair, aortic valve replacement, or other complex heart surgeries may also cause trauma to the conduction system of the heart. Sometimes infection of the heart valves can extend in to the conduction system of the heart also.
Next we will discuss outside influences on the heart and conduction system known as extrinsic causes. Certain situations such as coughing, vomiting and others can lead to slow heart rate through the nerve system. Drugs that directly slow the heart rate include beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers and others. Metabolic disorders such as hypothyroidism can lead to a slow heart rate. Levels of electrolytes such as potassium derangement can lead to a slow heart rate.
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Sleep For People With Heart Disease
Because sleep deprivation can harm the heart, its important for people with cardiovascular problems to make getting good sleep a priority. Some evidence even indicates that improving sleep may reduce the likelihood of heart attacks or other cardiovascular problems in people who are otherwise at high risk.
Unfortunately, some heart problems can interfere with sleep. For example, diabetes can cause frequent nighttime urination, and other cardiovascular disorders may create chest discomfort when trying to get to sleep. Worry and anxiety about heart health can also make it hard to wind down and fall asleep normally.
Because numerous factors can influence both sleep and cardiovascular health, its most helpful to talk with your doctor about heart-healthy sleep. A doctor can help develop a specific plan to improve your sleep while also addressing other lifestyle factors, such as diet and exercise, that are important for your heart and overall wellness.
I Sleep And The Heart
The process of sleep is made up of the following two primary stages:
When you first fall asleep you are in the non-REM stage. The non-REM stage of sleep is a time when your heart does not have to work so hard. About 80% of a full night’s sleep is spent in this stage. During non-REM sleep, your heart rate, breathing and blood pressure all drop to levels below those that occur while you are awake.
REM is the stage of sleep when you have most of your dreams. It is only about 20% of your total sleep time. Your blood pressure and heart rate can go up and down during this stage. If you have a nightmare that wakes you up, you may find that your heart is racing.
When you wake up in the morning, your blood pressure and heart rate both go back up. It is time for you to be active again, and your heart has to get ready for a long day of work.
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Common Symptoms Of Rest Apnea
The very first and most usual sign of rest apnea is typically observed by your partner: snoring.
Along with snoring, they could also inform you that you make wheezing or choking sounds while youre asleep.
You could see other signs and symptoms too such as:
- consistent fatigue
- sex-related disorder
- constant urination in the eveningBear in mind, these symptoms could not constantly connect to rest apnea, soplease review any kind of problems you could have with your physician to make certain that an exact diagnosis is made
Does Sleeping Position Affect Heart Health
There is limited evidence linking a persons sleeping position with their overall heart health.
Some research that focuses on people with congestive heart failure has found that sleeping on your left side may change aspects of heart and lung function.
Congestive heart failure is a buildup of fluid in the lungs or other parts of the body that occurs when the heart isnt pumping blood effectively. Studies have found that people with congestive heart failure frequently avoid sleeping on their left side, and this effect is greater in people with larger heart dimensions. While the exact reason for this is unknown, it may relate to how this sleeping posture alters positioning of the heart, pressure on the lungs, and/or the sensation of the heart beating against the chest wall.
While studies have found that people with heart failure often avoid sleeping on their left side, it does not show that this sleeping position causes heart problems. Based on research to date, a persons sleeping position is not considered to be a risk factor for heart disease or other cardiovascular problems.
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Factors That Can Affect Resting Heart Rate
In addition to age, there are a few other factors that can affect your resting heart rate.
- Temperature. Your heart rate may increase slightly when youre exposed to hot temperatures.
- Medication side effects. For example, medications such as beta-blockers can lower your resting heart rate.
- Emotions. If youre anxious or excited, your heart rate may increase.
- Weight. People who are living with obesity may have a higher resting heart rate. This is because the heart has to work harder to supply the body with blood.
- Cardiovascular conditioning or deconditioning
- Endocrine or hormonal abnormalities.
- Postural tachycardia syndrome . This syndrome produces an abnormal increase in heart rate after sitting up or standing. In addition to heart palpitations, some typical symptoms of PoTS include dizziness and fainting.
- Body positioning. Heart rate can increase temporarily when you move from a sitting to a standing position.
- Smoking. Smokers tend to have a higher resting heart rate. Quitting smoking can help bring it back down.
How Sleep Deprivation Affects Your Heart
Its difficult to overstate the hearts importance to health. Responsible for pumping blood throughout the body, the heart powers the circulatory system that ensures that all the organs and tissues in the body get the oxygen they need.
Unfortunately, heart problems are a leading cause of illness and death in the United States. While its already well-known that factors like poor diet, limited exercise, and smoking can harm the heart, theres a growing recognition of the dangers of sleep deprivation for heart health.
Sleep provides time for the body to restore and recharge, playing a key role in nearly all aspects of physical health. For the cardiovascular system, insufficient or fragmented sleep can contribute to problems with blood pressure and heighten the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes, and stroke.
As a result, getting good sleep may help prevent damage to the cardiovascular system, and for people with heart problems, can be part of following a heart-healthy lifestyle.
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Do You Understand Heart Rate Variability
Heart rate variability can be an important indicator of your mental and physical health. Your HRV can also predict how well youre sleeping at night and warn you if you have a medical condition. Investing in a well-reviewed HRV monitor can help you make greater strides in your health journey.
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How To Achieve A Heart
Exercising is the best way to get a heart-healthy lower heart rate. Increased cholesterol levels can also increase your heart rate, and exercise can also help lower them. The American Heart Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise spread throughout the week.
There is another value known as the target heart rate that gives you an idea about how intensely you should exercise. It is recommended to exercise in your target heart rate zone, which is typically a range, expressed as a percentage of your maximum heart rate.
Here is how you can calculate your maximum heart rate:
- Subtract your age from the number 220, and you get your maximum heart rate.
- For example, if your age is 40 years, your maximum heart rate is 220 minus 40, which equals 180 beats per minute .
The American Heart Association recommends exercising till you get your heart rate to 50% of your maximum heart rate. You can gradually build up till you exercise at 85% of your maximum heart rate. Therefore, at 40 years, if you want to get maximum benefits from your exercise, you should aim to exercise at 50-85% of your maximum heart rate of 180 bpm and that equals 90-153 bpm.
You can consult a fitness expert to know what types of exercises are most appropriate for you. See below the maximum and target heart rate chart.
Maximum and Target Heart Rate Chart
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