Proven Ways To Lower Your Resting Heart Rate
If your heart is racing as youre sitting reading this article, its possible your body is trying to tell you something. A high resting heart rate, or a heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute, means your heart is working extra hard to pump blood through your body. And, that extra effort could result in a wide range of negative effects on your overall health, including feelings of dizziness and fatigue and most seriously blood clots, heart failure and, in rare cases, sudden death.
Normal resting heart rate is anywhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute, and its simple to check how fast yours is beating. While idle, hold your pointer and middle finger between your bone and tendon on the thumb side on your wrist until you feel your pulse, and count the number of beats for a minute that is your resting heart rate.
Certain aspects of someones resting heart rate are directly connected to uncontrollable factors, such as age and genetics, however there are certain actions that be taken to help decrease heart rate and improve overall wellbeing for those whose resting heart rate is above normal.
Here are six proven ways to lower your resting heart rate:
What Is Heart Rate Variability
As the term suggests,heart rate variability is a measurementVerified SourceHarvard HealthBlog run by Harvard Medical School offering in-depth guides to better health and articles on medical breakthroughs.View sourceof the variation in time between each heartbeat. In other words, it expresses how well the heart changes speeds throughout the day.
For example, you may measure your heart rate and find its about 90 beats per minute. However, that doesnt mean that every single heartbeat takes about of a second. The interval between each heartbeat varies. In this same example, you may have of a second between beats and later a full second between beats.
These increments between beats are called R-R intervals and are measured in milliseconds. The term R-R intervals comes from the heartbeats R-phase. These intervals are essentially the spikes you see on the results of anelectrocardiogram test.Verified SourceMedline PlusOnline resource offered by the National Library of Medicine and part of the National Institutes of Health.View source
During the R phase, most of the heart is activated resulting in the greatest wave shown by the ECG recording, according to a2016 review on heart rate variability in humans.Verified SourceNational Library of Medicine Worlds largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible.View source
Dont Miss: Tylenol Raise Blood Pressure
Heart Rate Variability And Sleep
Alicia Roth, PhD, DBSM
Alicia Roth, PhD, DBSM is a Clinical Health Psychologist & Staff at the Cleveland Clinic, where she specializes in Behavioral Sleep Medicine. She completed her doctoral training at the University of Florida, Internship at the Baltimore VA, and Behavioral Sleep Medicine Fellowship at The Cleveland Clinic.
With modern technology, theres a near-infinite amount of minutia we can watch. We wait for patterns to emerge that can help us see ways to improve. For many of us,
With modern technology, theres a near-infinite amount of minutia we can watch. We wait for patterns to emerge that can help us see ways to improve.
For many of us, our lives have begun revolving around tracking our bodys processes. We track:
- How many steps do we take each day
- How long do we spend in each stage of sleep
- The number of calories we consume in a day
One of the latest processes to measure is heart rate variability. This isnt a simple measurement of your heartbeat per minute. Instead, its a complex expression of how well your heart adapts to situations.
If youre inside a medical office, your heart rate variability is likely measured with an electrocardiogram. This is the heart rate test where numerous wires are hooked up to your chest to collect data. However, people interested in measuring their heart rate variability at home have numerous apps and chest strap monitors that can get the job done.
You May Like: What To Do If You Think Your Having A Heart Attack
How Does Your Heart Rate Change When You Sleep
When you rest or sleep, there is a lot that is always going on behind the scenes. What happens when you sleep depends on the stage of sleep that you are in.
During non-REM sleep, your heart rate and blood pressure slow down and become steadier. In REM sleep, the heart rate and blood pressure may rise and vary.
Listen to your bodys voice today
Sleep And Congestive Heart Failure
Damage to the heart that hurts its ability to pump blood is called congestive heart failure . Sleep disorders can be both a cause and an effect of CHF. The low oxygen levels and high blood pressure related to obstructive sleep apnea can cause the kind of damage that leads to CHF. The heart muscle is unable to handle the stress caused by the OSA. People who have CHF from another cause will see it get worse if they then develop sleep apnea. If sleep apnea is treated, however, patients with CHF will see their heart function improve.
About 40% of people with CHF have a sleep disorder called central sleep apnea . CSA occurs when the brain fails to tell the lungs to breathe. As this signal is lost, the lungs do not take in the oxygen that your body needs. This happens most often as people are falling asleep. CSA also causes people to wake up many times in the night. When they wake up, their heart rate and blood pressure both rise.
The low levels of oxygen that result from CSA are very harmful. The result is that CSA may worsen heart failure. In return, the heart failure may promote CSA. This causes a horrible cycle of declining heart function. Properly treating the heart failure is the best way to prevent CSA. If CSA still develops, there are treatments that can be used to keep it from occurring.
Read Also: How Did Bob Harper Have Heart Attack
Typical Resting Heart Rates
For most adults, a normal resting heart rate is considered to be between 60 to 100 bpm, though this range can vary and depends on multiple factors. Adult males tend to have lower heart rates.
A heart rate outside of this range may still be considered healthy in certain situations. For example, athletes and physically fit individuals may have resting heart rates as low as 30 bpm. Your doctor can help you assess whether your resting heart rate is healthy for you.
Resting heart rate decreases with age. For example, one large study found that the upper limit of the average resting heart rate is 110 bpm for adults 18 to 45 years old, 100 bpm for those between 45 and 60 years old, and 95 bpm for those older than 60. These are the average resting heart rates for healthy adults, as reported by the same study:
How To Get Your Heart Rate Up
Its essential that some of your exercise make your heart beat fasterthan it does when youre resting.
Exercise is an important part of disease prevention and that includes cancer prevention, too. But not all exercise is created equal. Its essential that some of your exercise make your heart beat faster than it does when youre resting.
Getting your heart to beat faster trains your body to move oxygen and blood to your muscles more efficiently, helps you burn more calories and lowers your cholesterol. All of this can help you stay healthy and lower your cancer risk.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week can help lower your cancer risk. Its the vigorous exercises that can help you get your heart rate up.
How to measure your heart rate
So, how do you determine your heart rate? One of the easiest ways to measure your heart rate is with a monitor, says Whittney Thoman, exercise physiologist at MD Andersons Cancer Prevention Center. This is typically a watch or a strap that goes around your arm or chest that syncs with a watch or another device. Many wearable fitness trackers now include heart rate monitors.
Understanding your heart rate
Now that you know how to measure your heart rate, you can determine:
Check your pulse or your heart rate monitor while youre resting and then again while youre exercising to compare your resting heart rate to your active heart rate.
Read Also: How To Tell If You’ve Had A Heart Attack
How Does Heart Rate Change During Sleep
In general, heart rate is slower during sleep than when a person is awake. However, heart rate also changes as a sleeper cycles through the different stages of sleep. In the first stages of light sleep, heart rate begins to slow. During deep sleep, the heart rate reaches its lowest levels. In rapid eye movement sleep, heart rate may speed up to a heart rate similar to when you are awake.
Most people experience a more relaxed heart rate during non-rapid eye movement sleep, which helps protect against cardiovascular events. By contrast, REM sleep is often marked by periods of higher activity. While this is considered normal, researchers believe that the surge in activity during REM sleep could explain why already vulnerable people often experience heart attacks and other events in the early morning hours, which is typically spent more in REM sleep.
Sleep problems can have negative impacts on your heart and cardiovascular health, increasing your heart rate and contributing to higher blood pressure. Disorders such as sleep apnea, periodic limb movements, or shift work disorder that interfere with sleep have been linked to a higher chance of developing cardiovascular disease.
How Does Your Heart Rate Change While You Sleep
During sleep, the stimulation of your nervous system is reduced and most of your body processes slow down, says Dr. Lawrence Epstein, associate physician with the division of sleep and circadian disorders at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Womens Hospital.
Within about five minutes after you drift off to sleep, your heart rate gradually slows to its resting rate as you enter whats known as light sleep. Your body temperature drops and your muscles relax. People typically spend about half the night in light sleep. But during the next phase, deep sleep, your blood pressure falls and your heart rate slows to about 20% to 30% below your resting heart rate.
When you dream, you enter the sleep phase known as REM . Your heart rate can vary quite a bit during REM sleep because it reflects the activity level occurring in your dream. If your dream is scary or involves activity such as running, then your heart rate rises as if you were awake, says Dr. Epstein.
Don’t Miss: How Does Exercise Affect Your Heart Rate
Oura Helped Me Realize That My Heart Was In Trouble
The following is a true story from an Oura user who chose to share their experience.
I wanted to share with you all a success story that I had related to my health. Hopefully, it will help others
I wear the Oura Ring all day and all night and I also wear an Apple Watch. Around March 21 of this year, I started receiving high heart rate alerts from my Apple Watch. I ignored it thinking it was just stress related to all the news of COVID-19. I had my watch go off several times, but I just ignored it. There were several times where I felt my heart racing, but I again just ignored it thinking it was stress/anxiety.
The night of May 5, I could barely sleep because my heart had been beating so quickly. In the morning, I remembered that my Oura Ring tracked my Heart Rate Trends during the night. I pulled up my heart rate in the app and discovered my heart rate had basically been above 120 BPM since March 21.
I had my wife drive me to the emergency room after seeing the data. I was admitted to the hospital and ultimately diagnosed with Atrial Flutter. This is a condition that causes the upper right chamber of your heart to beat at a very high rate. The condition can ultimately cause a stroke as blood pools in the lower chambers of the heart, which can clot and ultimately give you a stroke.
I wanted to thank you for the Oura Ring. It quite literally may have saved my life. I only wished I had checked the data a little sooner, so it did not go on for so long.
Factors Affecting Your Heart Rate
So, what affects the speed of your heart? Thats down to your overall health:
- Activity levels: Trained athletes who do lots of exercise tend to have lower heart rates. The more exercise you do, the lower your heart rate will be.
- Cardiovascular health: High blood pressure and heart disease can contribute to a faster heart rate.
- Obesity: Your body size contributes to a faster heart, and this is particularly true if you are obese.
- Caffeine and tobacco: Both have been found to increase your heart rate, even during sleep.
- Bradycardia: The name for exceptionally slow heart rates. According to the American Heart Association, bradycardia is diagnosed in people who have a heart rate lower than 60 BPM.
- Weather: It might sound surprising, but in hot weather or high humidity, your heart rate will go up. This is perfectly normal.
- Emotions: Stress and anxiety can both have an impact on causing a fast heart rate, and studies have shown thats even when you sleep.
- Some medications, such as those for thyroid problems and high blood pressure , can affect your heart rate.
Also Check: Symptoms For Heart Attack In Woman
Iv Sleep And A Healthy Heart
There are many things you can do to keep your heart healthy. You should be sure to do the following:
- Eat a balanced diet
- Watch out for and treat high blood pressure
- Get regular medical check-ups
Another thing you can do is to make sure that you get enough sleep to keep your body well rested. You can often sleep better by simply following the practices of good sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene consists of basic habits and tips that help you develop a pattern of healthy sleep. See the Resources section of this site to find out how you can start down the path to better sleep.
Watch for signs that you may have a sleep disorder. Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can put great stress on your heart. Men who are overweight and have large necks are most likely to have OSA.
Symptoms of OSA include the following:
- Loud snoring
- Gasping for breath or choking while asleep
- Trouble staying awake during the daytime
You may not be aware of these signs because they only occur while you are sleeping. Your breathing is normal when you are awake. Ask a bed partner or someone else who has observed your sleep to find out if you snore or stop breathing during your sleep.
Also Check: Can You Put Sleep Number Bed On Slats
The Importance Of Monitoring Your Heart Rate
If you are concerned about a low heart rate, visiting your physician can help determine the causes. Your doctor will first ask about your usual activities and conduct a physical exam.
They may use an electrocardiogram to measure the electrical signals in your heart, in order to see whether theyre firing correctly. Wearing a 24-hour monitor can also help your doctor see how your heart performs over time.
Once your doctor decides you might need treatment, they will try to rule out medications or other pre-existing conditions as causes. Sometimes changing medications or similar strategies can solve the problem.
If not, implanting a pacemaker via minimally invasive surgery is the only option to speed up your heart rate, Dr. Baez-Escudero says.
However, he notes that bradycardia isnt often an emergency, so doctors have time to choose the right treatment.
In general, bradycardia allows time for us to evaluate the condition and rule out if any other condition is responsible, Dr. Baez-Escudero says. Then, we can adjust medications or take other steps if we need to.
Don’t Miss: How To Lower Resting Heart Rate Immediately
What Is A Normal Heart Rate
The average heart rate at rest is 70 beats per minute. A resting heart rate below 45 is very low and is called a slow heart rate, or bradycardia. This can be due to cardiac insufficiency or to an enlarged heart with trained athletes.
A normal heart rate is necessary to pump enough fresh blood through the body. The blood supplies oxygen and nutrients to the organs and the muscles, and it carries away waste products and CO2. If your heart is beating too slow, not enough blood is pumped through your body. Trained athletes are an exception to this rule, since their heart is larger and stronger. Bradycardia can cause a wide variety of complaints, such as shortness of breath, weakness, dizziness, fainting or chest pain. However, you may not experience any problems.
An excessively low heart rate can be due to reduced pumping capacity and reduced contraction force of the heart, to poor operation of one or more heart valves or to cardiac arrhythmia . Some medications can also cause bradycardia. A low heart rate is also a consequence of ageing.
The Hill: Too Exhausted For Bed
If your RHR increases right after you fall asleep, this could be a sign of exhaustion. Did you go to sleep on time? If its past your regular bedtime, you may start feeling the effects of increased melatonina hormone that aids sleepand lower blood pressure. This communication from your body serves as a warning of sorts, reminding you to get to bed on time.
If you did go to sleep during your ideal bedtime window, its possible that your heart rate may be increasing at the start of the night for reasons you cant control. For instance, your airways may have relaxed during sleep, causing you to snore, which raises your heart rate.