On this episode, Faraz Khan sits down with Ronda Collier to discuss all things Heart Rate Variability (HRV).

Ronda has more than 25 years of experience in high technology product development with a proven track record of delivering leading edge consumer electronic products within both privately held startups and Fortune 500 corporations.

She has spent the last few years as an independent scholar researching non-invasive health monitoring techniques to improve overall personal well being. This research led to the founding of SweetWater Health, L.L.C. in 2010.

What exactly is heart rate variability or HRV?

  • Similar to EKG, the spikes
  • Your heart may beat 60 beats per minute – but those beats are not every second
  • There is a variation in the beat of the heartbeats (one may be 0.98 seconds, the second may be 1.02 seconds)
  • The variability between these two is measured as HRV
  • Your nervous system controls your HRV – the sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system speed up your heart, while the parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system slows it down.
  • There is a constant tug of war between these two branches of your nervous system

How Does The Nervous System Actually Communicate With The Heart?

  • Vagus nerve is a major mediator of the heart beat – and it slows you down.
  • Vagus nerve is connected to multiple organs including the heart
  • High vagal tone allows you to calm down

What Are The Numbers Measured By SweetBeatHRV App

  • Stress is the balance of sympathetic and parasympathetic system
  • In the morning, you have a nice balance of the nervous system
  • Standard metrics of HRV are
  • SDNN: standard deviation of heart rhythm. Generally runs on a 24 hour period, the short period is 3 minutes.
  • RMSSD: root mean square of successive differences. Statistical analysis of RR intervals.
  • RMSSD measures vagal tone.
  • HRV goes between 0-100

How Does HRV Change During The Day?

  • You wake up in the morning restored
  • Your nervous system is restored during sleep
  • When you encounter stress, your reserve of stress resilience gets dinged
  • HRV changes during the day
  • 3-minute measurements are easy to do
  • 24 hour measurements would be ideal
  • HF and LF are frequencies
  • Sympathetic nervous system is 0.04 to 0.1 Hz
  • Parasympathetic nervous system is 0.1 to 0.4 Hz
  • You want high numbers for these two frequencies

How Can You Improve HRV Numbers?

  • Sleep is the single most important factor
  • Mental state and stress is very important
  • Nutrition is important
  • Deep breathing can affect that
  • Cosmetics, water, the environment such as people, animals, pollution
  • Meditation is great, yoga, qi gong and tai-chi
  • Ronda recommends Heart Math as well

Is There Any Research on HRV and a Long Life?

  • Maintaining resilience is very important
  • Another app called Daily
  • Increases homeostatic capacity
  • Monitor HRV often and see if there are trends going on
  • HRV is a metric to tell if what you are doing is working
  • You can use generative feedback to change the things that gets your nervous system triggered

How Does The Food Sensitivity Test Work?

  • Based on the Koka Pulse test (founded by Dr. Koka)
  • If you are sensitive to something, heart rate increases by 16 beats
  • The food sensitivity test can be done with the app
  • Take a baseline test in the morning, then test using the app with meals
  • If pulse goes up by 16 beats, it means you ate something you don’t agree with

Where Can You Find Ronda?

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