Heart rate variability measurement
Our heart does not beat evenly. For example, if heart rate is 60 beats per minute, it won’t beat every second on the dot. Instead, the intervals will go something like this: 1.17 s., 0.88 s., 1.05s., etc. These differences in time intervals is what Welltory measuring.
Measuring and analyzing HRV is a non-invasive way to assess the state of your nervous system, physiological stress levels, risk of getting sick, and more.
Your regulatory systems, which work to keep a stable environment inside your body, are always sending signals to your heart in response to changes in your environment. These signals modify the heartbeat, playing a constant tug-of-war by telling it to speed up or slow down. This tug-of war makes your heartbeat vary, which is why analyzing variability can reveal which systems are active and how hard they’re working.
In other words, analyzing variability is a way to check in with your body — to look under the hood of the car and see what’s going on and what you can do to make it run better.
When heart rate variability measurement started?
Originally developed in the 1960s as a way to assess astronaut health in space, heart rate variability has since turned into a widely-used diagnostic and predictive tool adopted by
- Mental health professionals
- High-performance athletes
- Cognitive performance researchers
- And many others
It’s also making its way to the mass market — HRV measurements are a priority for health gadget manufacturers. Xiaomi is planning to add it to its devices soon and Apple Watch can already track some HRV parameters.
State of heart rate variability analysis
HRV analysis is featured in over 22K research papers on PubMed, with a 1,000 new papers published every year.
In one groundbreaking study, researchers found that athletes who optimized their workout loads based on HRV measurements saw better results than athletes who stuck with a preset schedule.
Here are a few other papers you can take a closer look at:
- A study of 4,000 people who suffered from myocardial infarction showed that people with lower heart rate variability parameters were 4 times more likely to die in the next 3 years.
- German scientists found correlations between heart rate variability and depression. More severe the symptoms were correlated with lower scores.
- We even did our own study with data we collected from Welltory users, in which we showed that social media use impairs recovery by 40% when you’re stressed or overworked.
In other words, HRV analysis is a widely-used health assessment method backed by decades of research.
Why Welltory is great for HRV measurement?
Accurate camera measurements. People can take measurements on any smartphone, and the app’s camera measurement accuracy is on par with professional heart rate monitors.
Personalized analysis. The app takes your first 4 morning measurements to establish a personal baseline, then uses it as an anchor to analyze your other measurements. It’s the world’s first self-learning HRV analysis algorithm, trained on Welltory’s database of 2.5 million measurements and tested against 5,000+ professional health assessments.
Contextual recommendations. Your scores and recommendations vary depending on time of day, tags you use with your measurements, and other data about your life & health.
User-friendly biofeedback. Unlike researchers who use a complicated set of 10+ parameters to analyze variability, Welltory generates scores that are simple and applicable — Stress, Energy, and Productivity.