Heart Rate Variability and Sleep

Some of you may have heard of heart rate variability before…

There are some pretty popular apps out there: BioForce, Ithlete, Omegawave, and others

These are looking at the balance of our autonomic nervous system – parasympathetic and sympathetic.

Parasympathetic = rest and digest

Sympathetic = fight or flight

We’re not really hanging out in one or the other- there’s a balance.

Our life’s stressors, along with how we deal with those stressors impact that balance, and it’s reflected in our heart rate variability.


Those apps I mentioned above are used as a morning measure of where we are on that balance, and over time we can see when something has shifted up one way or the other.

Taking this information into account over time, we can better understand when it may be a good idea to perform certain stress reduction activities, as well as when we may be primed to train harder…


But there’s another side to heart rate variability, and it’s pretty damn cool.

It’s acute.

It interacts with emotions, instantly.

It reflects changes in the environment.


There’s a company out there doing research on this, and they’ve created some awesome technology…

Rather than read my take on it, check this out:


TEDxSantaCruz: Howard Martin – Engaging the Intelligence of the Heart

YouTube Preview Image


Transformation.  Education.  Community.

Some of that craziness of how our HRV reflects other people’s emotions is pretty damn cool, huh?


So where the hell am I going with all of this seemingly weird foo foo information?


Well, I’ve been playing around with the HeartMath app he showed off in that talk.

I’ve used it during the day to relax when I feel stressed.

I’ve used it to wind down when I’m having trouble hitting the sheets for the night.


[check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/HeartMath-Inner-Balance-Lightning-Sensor-Iphone5/dp/B00GUL3FHS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1444932514&sr=8-1&keywords=heartmath]


Many of you have talked about sleep being one of your biggest issues in the weekly success checklists.

Well, by using HeartMath, you can SEE yourself relaxing into a more parasympathetically balanced state.


Here’s a list of benefits straight from HeartMath:

  • Be less reactive, think clearly, and make good decisions, especially under pressure.
  • Improve health, stamina, and well-being; maintain personal balance and avoid stress and burnout.
  • Maximize creativity and innovation.
  • Boost performance and overall intelligence.
  • Control heart rhythms to achieve the optimal performance zone (outside of the stress zone).
  • Transform the physiological response to stress and quickly re-balance mind, body, and emotions for greater intelligence, creativity, decision making ability, and communication skills.


After about 3 minutes of using the app, I feel like I go into a trance-like state.  Whether I want to fall asleep or I want to shut my rambling mind off, it works.  Pretty awesome!


I first learned about this from Marty Gallagher in the book “Strong Medicine.”  Marty has trained a TON of world record strength athletes, so it’s safe to say he knows a thing or two.  If Marty recommends some weird stuff like this, there must be something to it…


That’s it for today- but over the next weeks we’ll be throwing some awesome information your way to help you sleep better.  You don’t NEED to shell out money for an app like HeartMath, we’re just here to present some cool stuff that may help you!