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 of 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.
Guided breathing can mask stress you are experiencing during and directly after the guided breathing session.
There are other cases in which guided breathing can 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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New 10-Week Breathing Program
If you go into the "Biofeedback" section of the app, you'll now see a 10 Week Breathing program, created by Dr. Leah Lagos. If you start a Breathing Practice from within this program, you will be able to simply use the breath pacer, rather than take a whole Biofeedback reading with your HR monitor.