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Greetings from my last night here in S. Padre TX as we start to drive home over several days tomorrow.

Today, I wanted to share with you a question I get a lot on Heart Rate Variability (HRV).

“Question on HRV via Oura Doc. My HRV sucks via the Oura ring, what do I do?”

The short answer is .. it depends. Although, that is not useful, so I will give you some options.

Background: I’ve used daily HRV on athletes/clients for over 8 years now in addition to research on the topic starting 13 years ago.

Many things affect HRV via the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).

The big ones to look at are veggie/fruit/micronutrition intake, aerobic base via VO2 max test, sleep, total calories, breathing patterns, and past trauma.

Many forget the role of the aerobic system in “buffering” stress. I like doing a seated (for most) one-time test in the AM as you are going to do to determine what is working.

Oura is accurate for HRV and does use a time-domain method in addition to having published research on their algorithm; however, it is collecting HRV during the entire night of sleep, which can result in a bit different scores if sleep is different.

Also, if you have a very low resting HR you can get some parasympathetic saturation where HRV will not move much day-to-day. I find Oura as a good “overall” HRV indicator, but doing a single point measure first thing in the AM is a better representation of the previous day’s stressors.

Lastly, if Oura is never moving you may be an outlier to the algorithm as it is an indirect measure off the pulse pressure in the vessel, not a direct electrical (EKG) measure.

There you go – a short and somewhat simple answer to a complex question on HRV.

Dr Mike

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