When to use guided breathing with HRV
First, we recommend using a natural, unaltered breathing pattern in most cases for Morning Readiness readings.
In our experience, the main benefit to doing guided breathing during Morning Readiness is to prevent boredom, distraction or fidgeting during the reading. The potential downside is that paced breathing can artificially mask stress that your body may be experiencing (especially if you get good at it).
You can test this using a one-minute open reading twice in a row. First with natural, unaltered breathing, and second while following a slow paced breathing guide. The scores will likely be very different.
If you do decide to use guided or paced breathing during Morning Readiness, choose a breathing speed that is close to your natural breathing speed for minimal artificial impact on your score. The average adult’s natural breathing speed is 12-18 breaths per minute, but may be faster or slower depending on your situation.
There are other cases in which guided breathing can definitely be useful. The primary reasons to use guided or artificial breathing patterns are:
- To promote balance in the nervous system
- To practice meditation and self awareness
- To activate the parasympathetic and recovery systems
- To open up the respiratory pathways that may be suffering from prolonged shallow breathing
These practices are best done throughout the day or in the evening and not during Morning Readiness, as the goal of Morning Readiness is to capture the natural state of your body.
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