Are you tired of feeling groggy and unproductive during the day? The key to unlocking your full potential may lie in something as simple as improving your sleep hygiene. Not only can good sleep habits lead to more restful and restorative sleep, but they can also have a positive impact on your heart rate variability (HRV). In this article, we’ll dive into the ways that good sleep hygiene can improve HRV and what you can do to get started on the path to better sleep and overall wellness. So, let’s get ready to catch some Z’s and improve your health!
What is HRV
Heart rate variability (HRV) is a measure of the variation in the time intervals between successive heartbeats. It is a marker of the functioning of the autonomic nervous system, which regulates many of the body’s internal processes, including heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Additionally, it is a non-invasive tool used to assess the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
While it’s a validated reflection of the state of the autonomic nervous system, it is very easily influenced by both internal, external, and environmental factors. Nearly anything you do, think or are exposed to will trigger a shift in your HRV. For example, breathwork and deep breathing has been found to have positive effects on HRV, and so does spending time out in nature or socializing with friends. On the other hand, chronic stress and anxiety may have a negative impact.
Understanding your HRV levels can be a very powerful tool to have insight into how resilient your body is and how recovered you are on any given day. Additionally, HRV has been found to be an important aspect of cardiovascular health and has been associated with morbidity and mortality in multiple disease states, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension.
There are a myriad of practices that are beneficial to your HRV and incorporating healthy sleep habits is one of them. So let’s take a look at how and what are some good examples.
What is good sleep hygiene
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for our physical, emotional, and mental health. Unfortunately, many of us neglect the importance of sleep and sacrifice our rest for other priorities such as work, socializing or watching TV. However, a lack of sleep and irregular sleep patterns can have serious consequences, ranging from daytime fatigue to an increased risk of chronic health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Good sleep hygiene refers to a set of habits and practices that can help us get the restorative sleep our bodies need. By following good sleep hygiene practices, we can improve our sleep quality and duration, allowing our bodies to recharge and tap into essential restorative mechanisms overnight. In turn, this can lead to a range of health benefits, including improved immune function, better mood and mental health, and increased productivity and cognitive performance.
Several studies have shown that good sleep hygiene can have a positive impact on HRV. For example:
Consistent sleep schedule
Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule helps regulate the body’s internal clock also known as circadian rhythm, which can improve HRV. A study published in the Journal of Scientific Reports found that college students who went to bed and woke up at the same time every day had better academic performance than those with irregular sleep schedules.
Create a relaxing sleep environment
Creating a relaxing sleep environment can help reduce stress and anxiety, which can improve HRV. For example, using a white noise machine or listening to calming music before bed can promote relaxation and help your body activate its parasympathetic nervous system and improve your HRV.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol
Caffeine and alcohol can interfere with sleep and disrupt HRV. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that caffeine consumption was associated with a significant increase in sleep disturbance.
Avoid screens and stimulating activities
Screens emit blue light, which can interfere with the body’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin and disrupt sleep. Engaging in stimulating activities, such as watching an exciting movie or playing a video game, before bed can also interfere with sleep and HRV.
Overall, good sleep hygiene is an important factor in promoting healthy sleep and improving HRV. By following good sleep habits and creating a relaxing sleep environment, you can improve the quality of your sleep and support the health of your autonomic nervous system.
Incorporating a wearable such as the Biostrap into your routine takes your health monitoring to the next level. By doing so, you will gain access to a wealth of objective and clinically accurate data on a wide range of metrics such as sleep quality, HRV, resting heart rate, and oxygen saturation levels, allowing you to make informed decisions about your overall health and wellbeing.