Is Apple Watch HRV accurate? We will find the answer to this question, but before that, let us quickly understand what HRV means
Heart rate variability (or HRV) is the newest and most popular health metric. It is utilized by athletes to optimize their training and as a health predictor—including in a lot of COVID-19 studies. It is automatically tracked by your Apple Watch. To further understand why this is important, read on.
What Is HRV?
The term “heart rate variability” refers to the degree to which the time interval between two heartbeats fluctuates from beat to beat. It is regulated by the autonomic nerve system (ANS), which is also in charge of unconscious body functions like digestion, breathing, etc.
The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is divided into two major subcomponents: the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) and the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). The SNS is a stress-response system that regulates your body’s “fight-or-flight” reaction. By contrast, the PNS is responsible for your body’s “feed-and-breed” and “rest-and-digest” responses. It is what keeps everything ticking over when everything is normal.
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HRV is a technique for determining the activity of the autonomic nervous system. When the SNS is active—that is, when you haven’t slept well, are having an argument with your spouse, or are otherwise stressed—the fluctuation between heartbeats is less than when the PNS is active. When you’re comfortable and at ease, your heart rate just bounces about a little bit more.
Naturally, stress is not the only factor that influences HRV. It is influenced by factors like as age, gender, heredity, hydration, activity, and sickness, among others. Stress is just one of the major variables that might contribute to it.
What Constitutes a Good HRV Measurement?
When it comes to HRV, there are no absolutes; only unique tendencies exist.
In general, a higher HRV signifies more relaxation and less stress than a lower HRV does. However, what one individual considers to be an unusually low HRV may be seen to be a high one by another. Whoop, a producer of heart rate monitors, has a great graph on their website that illustrates the middle 50% of readings for persons of various ages: It’s a wide range.
Rather than that, you are searching for changes in HRV. If your HRV decreases over a few days, you may feel more agitated than usual, have difficulty sleeping, or even get ill. Alternatively, you might be working out too hard and in need of a day or two off.
Is Apple Watch HRV Accurate?
According to research that compared the Apple Watch to a specialized heart rate monitor, the Apple Watch is quite accurate. While an ECG from your doctor will always be the gold standard, you can generally presume that your Apple Watch is accurate in terms of broad patterns.
Consult Your Physician If You Are Concerned
While HRV is becoming more prominent as a health assessment, it is still rather esoteric, and there is still much study to be done on it. We’ve been quite cautious about connecting to publications that make strong assertions about the advantages of religiously monitoring it.
For the time being, your Apple Watch monitors it but does nothing more. That is subject to change in the future. Nonetheless, you may monitor your HRV and see how it changes over time as your activity and sleep levels vary as you go about your everyday life.
Of course, if you are at all worried about what you are seeing, immediately consult your physician.