Low HRV and Getting Lower!

Discussion in 'Heart Rate Variability for Better Health' started by Melanie Caldicott, May 23, 2018.

  1. Melanie Caldicott

    Melanie Caldicott New Member

    I have had ME and fibromyalgia for about ten years and have had some success in certain lifestyle changes to manage the conditions. I have been working hard though over the last few weeks again to try to turn around the relapse I have been experiencing since September last year.

    One thing I would really like to crack is raising my HRV. I have been using Elite HRV and a chest strap to monitor my HRV for about three years. My baseline used to be low - in mid 40s but over the last year has dropped to low 30s.

    I am convinced that this is a good marker of my condition and if I was able to raise my HRV it would go hand in hand with improvement in my health. I also believe that this is linked to my sleep quality also and increasing the amount of deep sleep I get is also connected.

    I live a fairly relaxed lifestyle and would not say I am a "stressy" person. As part of the management of my condition I try to avoid stress. I drink water with electrolytes in, I walk daily, enjoy nature, read a lot and try to be thankful every day. I also practice yoga whenever I can although energy and pain levels do often stop me from being able to.

    Any advice about how I can raise my HRV and become less sympathetic nervous system dominated - I am concerned about how low my HRV is and how it has dropped over the last year. Can you recommend any treatments, books, or other resources that would be helpful? Thanks.
    Merida and Remy like this.
  2. Remy

    Remy Administrator

    Welcome to HR! I actually replied to you on PR already. Hope you are finding some good suggestions!
  3. Paw

    Paw Well-Known Member

    Hi Melanie, lot's of similarities here. I've become a lot more aware of my breathing over the past 6 months or so of tracking HRV, so it's been pretty helpful, and I'm still hopeful that my numbers may budge over the long term.

    I'm gaining confidence in my own ability to mitigate unnecessary sympathetic activity with conscious breathing; plus it's proven almost magically helpful in controlling GERD attacks. (I had to give up Prilosec after using it 10 or 15 years, but always carried Tums for sudden attacks; now I can take walks without fear.)

    So my recommendation is to stick with it, regardless of the numbers. I'm pretty sure I was always a very shallow breather, especially when concentrating on a task. I've gotten to the point now where I naturally catch myself, and can fend off stress buildup in the early stages. Even though I can't report any transformation with regard to fatigue, I can relax into it better, feeling less fluey. My FM and neurological symptoms have been worsening -- but that's a separate track.

    Others here have been experimenting with hard-core exercises, but I've mainly been focusing on increasing awareness to encourage full natural breathing as a habit.

    I do a lot of sleep tracking, and my CPAP helps ensure full breathing through the night, but I sometimes wonder if it undermines HRV. I had been averaging 0-10 minutes of deep sleep per night, but I've gotten that up to 30-50 -- maybe because of tweaking supplements.
    Merida likes this.
  4. dejurgen

    dejurgen Well-Known Member

    Hi Melanie,

    When at my worst I had a nearly fixed hart rate of 90 to 95 when either resting or exercising till I sometimes dropped on the ground (CBT-GET "theraphy"). I know this is not the definition of HRV, but I guess it is related to poor HRV.

    Now I have a HR of 60-70 at rest and 90+ at moderate exercise. What was mainly helpfull:
    * gently improving bloodflow by doing a very light warming up each time when getting out of bed and before exercising
    * doing "mobilisation" exercises: short series of very light exercises moving for example legs, arms or neck in order to increase proper bloodflow and improve muscle flexibility
    * learn to breath better; it took me years to get this one wright and I was only able to do so thanks to 1 year of daily short training guided by an experienced physical therapist. of coarse that did not mean daily visists to the PT, but doing specific exercises and get feedback during sessions

    The first two were the easiest to do and did the bulk of the job for me.