Which HRV (and other) stats should I track???

Discussion in 'Heart Rate Variability for Better Health' started by TJ_in_UT, Nov 12, 2017.

  1. TJ_in_UT

    TJ_in_UT Active Member

    I've decided to take up tracking HRV (among other things) again, since I'm coming out of a crash and feeling motivated to prepare for the future. :oops: I use a Polar H7 chest strap, and the HRV Expert Android app (paid version) from http://www.cardiomood.com/. I believe it's a great app because of all the calculations it makes on the data it collects each section, but I'm not sure which data I should be logging and analyzing to monitor how well I'm doing. There's so much of it! I took a 7-minute reading this morning, and this is the info it gave me:

    upload_2017-11-12_20-21-29.png upload_2017-11-12_20-21-51.png upload_2017-11-12_20-22-0.png

    plus 8 more graphs showing the histogram, Poincare Plot, Bayevsky Stress Index, Gorgo "A" Organization, RMSSD, HRV, SDNN, pNN50, and SDSD, over the time of the reading.

    There are 17 different pieces of data shown on these first 3 pages of the results, posted above. I know roughly what most of them are, but I don't know which ones are important indicators that I should be tracking, and I'd like your feedback on this.

    Also, I'm interested in hearing what other data you track, besides HRV, to assess your state and predict/avoid crashes.

    Last edited: Nov 12, 2017
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  2. Paw

    Paw Well-Known Member

    I'll be interested to see what others say, as I've only been following variability (with Elite HRV).

    So far it's been mainly helpful in differentiating types of fatigue.

    Turns out my numbers are not too bad when I'm feeling deeply sleepy -- the kind of sleepiness I think of as "poppy fields" sleepy, when it's extremely hard to wake up and do anything, even though I'm feeling minimal pain and discomfort. So I've been pushing myself to get things done during those times (with some caffeine and will power) and finding I don't pay much of price for doing so.

    Other times, when my fatigue is more flu-like, my HRV numbers plummet, so I just wait it out with rest.

    I'm gaining more confidence in my ability to differentiate the two states without the monitor, but I'll keep tracking for awhile to see if I can pick up other patterns.
  3. TJ_in_UT

    TJ_in_UT Active Member

    What are your typical numbers?
  4. voner

    voner Active Member


    One thing you can do is visually document your autonomic system dysfunction. I find that very useful for when I visited medical professionals.

    I also found it useful for documenting various treatments I try to combat autonomic system dysfunctions.

    my heart rate variability just falls completely apart when I go from a sitting or lying down position to a standing still position. My heart rate shoots up and stays up and my heart rate variability just plunges..... this when I documented for the various health professionals. I would do the poor man’s POTS test; lie flat for a few minutes and then rise to a standing still position for five minutes, and then Lieback down flat for a few minutes.

    I also found that the early-morning measurements before you were up in about seem to pretty accurately reflect over exertion the day before. It gives you a baseline on how to consider the day.

    autonomic dysfunction is just so highly variable from person to person, it’s hard to make any blanket recommendations.

    I’m interested in what you find.
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  5. Paw

    Paw Well-Known Member

    Great idea, Voner. I'll try to get that together for my upcoming visit with my cardiologist.

    My experience so far has been pretty similar to what you describe, although I'm still fiddling with my measurement protocols. Morning "readiness" tests before getting out of bed are typically not too bad, unless I had a rough night or over-exerted the previous day. I'm now thinking it might be more useful to get my first baseline reading after getting up to go to the bathroom (and then lying back down).

    Most revealing has been when I take my regular measurement during my first rest period of the morning (after working a couple hours). That's when I've been able to really get a sense of how bad my drop will be that day. I haven't tried standing measurements, but when I sit I don't have much confidence in the numbers. I'm really good at lying down, so that might be my best bet for consistently comparing apples to apples.

    As for numbers, TJ, on typical days I've been getting nearly what Elite HRV's algorithms say are average for someone my age -- but that's from my still-in-bed snapshots. After getting up and about I typically drop about 10 points and then keep declining through the day, reaching my low-point by evening (which is usually about 15 points below Elite's average). As you know, it's these comparisons to self that we're most concerned with.

    I don't think I've ever seen my numbers climb from my first morning reading. Well, that's not quite true. I've had some surprisingly decent numbers in the evening after indica treatments. Not so with sativa.
  6. TJ_in_UT

    TJ_in_UT Active Member

    Haha, I would wonder if my equipment was malfunctioning if my HRV increased after the "morning readiness" reading!

    BTW, I'm taking readings with Elite HRV, too, now, and I'm going to see which app seems to give me more useful info. I bought the SweetBeats HRV app, but it is horribly clunky and awkward, and their website's sign-in page isn't secure.
  7. TJ_in_UT

    TJ_in_UT Active Member

    Do y'all just look at HRV score, or "Morning Readiness" on the Elite HRV app, or do you find that other numbers are also more predictive of how much you can do throughout a given day?
  8. voner

    voner Active Member

    TJ, it’s been a few years since I used these heart rate variability apps, but from what I remember a basic principle in exercise physiology is that if you look at your morning readiness - that’s the first thing in the morning lying down heart rate measurement - if it is elevated, then that is a indication that your body has not recovered from the exertion yesterday and you should not push things and let your body recover until your heart rate goes back down to your base level. I found this is easier said than done.

    my hrv varied so radically that I had a hard time using it to predict anything rather than it was just an indication of dysfunction.

    here’s a post I made a while back that shows a couple graphs that show my hrv & heart rate while doing the poor man POTS test..

  9. Remy

    Remy Administrator

    I look at the actual numbers for HRV and rMSSD as well as HF and LF. Elite compares day to day and the same HRV value can give you varying "readiness" depending on what the numbers around that day look like.

    I find my values are often better at night when the parasympathetic arm kicks in. But that's one reason I like the SweetBeat app better, I can do meditation or other exercises to improve my HF (parasympathetic) arm and get feedback in real time.
  10. TJ_in_UT

    TJ_in_UT Active Member

    Cool, I started tracking resting HR and O2 saturation with a pulse oximeter I keep on my nightstand, so I can check before I get up, and I'm logging the data from both Elite HRV and CardioMood HRV Expert, so I expect to have an idea of what's "normal" for me in a week or so. Thanks all!
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  11. TJ_in_UT

    TJ_in_UT Active Member

    I started tracking body temperature (BT) today (oral readings). Over the years, I've noticed that I tend to have a lower-than-normal temperature, and yesterday evening I started wondering if there's a connection between BT and feeling well.

    My BT was 96.8 F when I got up at 7:30 am. At 9:20 am and 11:00 am it was only up to 97.1. I took a warm shower around 3:00 pm. I don't much care for the sensation of showering, but the sensation of being dirty is worse. :) After the shower, I felt more energetic and clear-headed. I took my BT again at 3:50 pm and it was up to 98.2 F. At 5:35 pm, I wasn't feeling quite as well, and my BT was down to 97.9 (but I did go out for a little shopping, so that's a confounding factor).

    I'm going to continue monitoring BT as part of my measurements and see if I can discover any relationships. My hunch is that I need to be at least 98.0 for good functioning. I've noticed in the past that when I have a mild fever (~99 F) I feel great! I know that many of our metabolic processes are dependent on our bodies staying within a very narrow range of temperatures to proceed optimally.

    Interesting site on Wilson's Temperature Syndrome: http://www.wilsonssyndrome.com/identify/wts-overview/
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  12. Remy

    Remy Administrator

    You can buy these wearable thermometer stickers now...https://www.temptraq.com/Home.

    They are kind of fun because they transmit to your smartphone.

    BUT, I'm not sure that they are the most accurate AND I found I had some trouble getting it to stay on for the second 24 hour period.

    I think I would stick to the 24 hour patch only (not the 48) and make super sure to try to keep the area dry. It is useful to see trends, but hopefully it will undergo some further refinements.
  13. TJ_in_UT

    TJ_in_UT Active Member

    I got a perfect "10" on my Elite HRV Morning Readiness score this morning, but I've still felt very run-down and weak all day. :-( Clearly, stress and recovery states as measured by HRV aren't the only piece of the puzzle. I kind of feel like my mitochondria are all just taking the day off....
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2017
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