How can heart rate variability biofeedback help you sleep better?

Lief Team
December 16, 2022 • 1 min read

If you’re one of the many people who struggle to get a good night’s sleep, you may be interested in trying heart rate variability biofeedback. Heart rate variability biofeedback has been used to help improve sleep quality in both healthy adults and those with sleep disorders. 

But what is heart rate variability biofeedback and how can it help you sleep better? Let’s take a closer look.

Heart rate variability (HRV) is the variation in the time interval between heartbeats. It is controlled by the autonomic nervous system, which has two branches: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is activated during times of stress or arousal, while the parasympathetic nervous system is activated during times of relaxation and rest.

Heart rate variability biofeedback is a therapeutic tool that uses breathing exercises to sync breath rhythm with heart rate oscillations. This helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system response. By activating your rest-and-recover mode and pumping the brakes on your fight-or-flight response, HRV biofeedback can help induce a state of relaxation and improve your ability to fall asleep.

HRV biofeedback can help individuals regulate their breathing, heart rate, and other autonomic functions to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. This can help reduce stress and anxiety, as well as improve overall sleep quality.

One study conducted on patients with major depressive disorder found that HRV biofeedback was associated with significant improvements in symptoms of depression and anxiety, sleep quality, and pre-sleep arousal.

In addition to helping people fall asleep by inducing a more relaxed state, HRV biofeedback exercises may also improve the quality of sleep over time. A recent study found that HRV biofeedback improved the subjective sleep quality in healthy adults as measured by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index.

If you’re interested in trying HRV biofeedback to improve your sleep, use a clinical-grade HRV wearable like Lief. Lief offers personalized biofeedback exercises throughout the day to help you practice self-regulating consistently, including before bedtime. While it may not be a magic cure for insomnia, it can be a valuable tool in your quest for better sleep.

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