Heart Rate Variability and the Vagus Nerve - Vagus Nerve Podcast

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Vagus Nerve Stimulation & Repair
Heart Rate Variability and the Vagus Nerve - Vagus Nerve Podcast
Topics of Discussion:
What is Heart Rate Variability
Measurement of the variation in your Heart Rate
A higher number, measured in one one-thousandths of a second, called Milli-Seconds, also displayed usually as a 2 digit number like 20, or 60, etc. with a lower case ms - millisecond, behind the number.
The range is between 5-120 in most cases, the more athletic you are the higher the number will usually be.
The lower the number to more stressed your body probably is.
You can measure HRV with a number of devices: Apple Watch has a Breath app which takes your HRV, but you have to do it manually.
The Whoop wrist tracker measures HRV while you sleep, so does the Oura ring.
The best Daytime HRV tracker you can get today is called the Lief HRV Tracker, you can go to GetLief.com and use promo code VNS10 for 10% off your order.
How does the Vagus Nerve play into this?
The Vagus Nerve is the 10th Cranial Nerve, which splits into two nerves inside of your skull, and exits two different holes, one hole being on the left and one hole being on the right side.
Descends to your Heart, and sends signals to your heart, it is like a Slow Down signal sent to your heart.
It is a relatively new addition to your neurolobiology system.
Reptiles, which lack the Vagus Nerve, have a heart rate that is always going really fast, it never slows down.

Measuring the HRV - what is the right number to have?
No number is perfect in HRV.
Generally you do want to be above 30ms, ideally you want to be at 50ms, at any age.
If you are below 20 or below 10 then it's a sign that you are incredibly stressed, and you body isn't going to be able to do this for another 5 years.
Take a Systems Approach to HRV
Systems over Goals
A system is a daily measurement of your HRV
To remove the emotionality around it, and to get yourself thinking about it more.
I guarantee you this number is incredibly valuable to have with you.
HRV is one of the best numerical measurements of your Vagus Nerve
Your Vagus Nerve is one of the best indicators of your bodies Health and Fitness
The best way to measure this is daily and consistently
Use a Lief Tracker for your own HRV numbers
Go to GetLief.com and use Promo Code VNS10 - which stands for Vagus Nerve Stimulation and 10 for 10% off your order
It's a great product to get.
Thanks so much for joining, and we will see you soon!
Take care.

Full Transcript:

[00:00:00] Sterling Cooley: All right. And welcome to the vagus nerve podcast, hosted by Sterling Cooley today's episode. We're going to be speaking about heart rate variability and the vagus nerve. So, first to answer the question, what is heart rate variability? Because so many of you have been asking this question in the Facebook group, which you can find in the links below.

And this is a very important area to focus on. I will tell you. That the most important aspect of your health is going to be measured through that number of the HRV. The HRV number is the best numerical measurement of your health. And. Of your vagus nerve and your vagus nerve is one of the best indicators of your body's health and fitness and the best way to measure this is daily and consistently we're going to get into all of that.

What is heart rate variability? What does it mean? What, how do you measure this? What's the Vegas nerve. All those questions are going to be answered [00:01:00] right here. And we're also going to be sharing a really exciting product that you can rent on a month to month basis. That will actually help you get this.

And it costs less than a cup of coffee per day. It's amazing. So stay tuned now let's jump into this. So first of all, What is heart rate variability? Well, heart rate variability is the measurement of the variation in your heart beat and the beat to beat the peak to peak ratio or the peak to peak numbers.

How many times your heart is beating per second is measured. In milliseconds. Okay. The time between beats is the variability. So if you have one beat and then another beat, a thousand milliseconds between milliseconds being 1000th of a second is measured with that much detail. So if you can count between one second while I'm saying it, one, 1002, 1003, 1000 you're [00:02:00] measuring your heart rate.

Variability. A thousand times in each one of those seconds. So I can't count up to a thousand in one second, I can try one of the versions, give them okay, one second. It's already passed. So that's how fast they're measuring it. It's very, very fast. Thousands of a second now. That's called the millisecond and it's also usually displayed in the context of heart rate variability with a two digit number, something like a 20 or 60, et cetera.

And it always has a lowercase M and S behind it. So M S standing for Mila second behind the number. So it'll look like 20 Ms or 60. Ms. Okay. Now the range for HRV numbers is usually between five, all the way up to 120. For most cases. Now, the more athletic you are, the higher, the number will usually be most people [00:03:00] aren't above 100 on their day to day basis.

Okay. But healthy people, athletes will be able to hit that hundred 20 plus Mark. So the lower, the number. Is more stressed. Your body body probably is. So if you have an HRV number of five at any one time that you're measuring it while you're breathing, you're stressed and your body is really stressed.

Okay. So you can measure your HRV with a number of different tools and devices as well. So if you're like. Honestly, I want to see what this number is for me. You're going to need a device. Unfortunately, it's too fast and it's too much math to measure it by yourself. So I'll list out a few options that you can use to measure your HRV.

Immediately. So there's the Apple watch, which has a breath app, which takes your HRV, but you have to [00:04:00] take your HRV manually on the watch. Okay. All versions of the Apple watch habit, old, new, et cetera. Then there's a device called the whoop, which is a wrist worn tracker that measures your HRV while you sleep.

Oh, there's another app called there's another odd device called the aura ring, O U R a. And that device measures your sleep while while you're sleeping and it measures how well you're sleeping and it measures your HRV as well. Okay. So. But the best daytime HRV tracker you can get today is called the leaf like relief, but also spelled with an F L I E F HRV tracker.

You can go to getlief.com and use promo code VNS10. For 10% off of your order. So how does the vagus nerve play into this? Well, the Vegas nerve is your 10th cranial [00:05:00] nerve, which splits into two different nerves, but it's the same nerve inside of your skull and exits from two different holes down your left side and down your right side.

Okay. Now this nerve descends down to your heart and it sends signals to your heart. It's like a slow down signal being sent to your heart. Okay. So that's what it does. It does a lot of other functions as well, which we go into in this podcast. But for now, we're just going to focus on the Vegas heart connection.

Okay. So it's a relatively new addition to your neurobiology system. So take for instance, reptiles. Which actually lack of Vegas nerve, they don't have it. So they have a heart rate that is always going really fast. It never really slows down. So just imagine if you will lizard sitting on a rock, we've all seen a lizard, just chilling out in the sun on a hot rock.

This [00:06:00] cold-blooded reptile doesn't have a vagus nerve. Now it's sitting there. It's laying there, whatever pronated prostrating itself in front of the sun. God. And. It's heart is just like, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Not changing. It's just exactly like on tempo. It's like the most perfect drummer.

It has exact perfect metronome beat. It's always in a stressful state. It's always ready to run. That's why you can never catch a reptile, a lizard, a snake relaxing. They're always ready to go because there's so many threats that could eat it in an instant. If it cools down, if it relaxes for a moment, it's going to probably get eaten.

So there's no evil, there's no evolutionary room for a reptile to [00:07:00] have an active vagus nerve. Because if it relaxes, it dies. Now, keep in mind that a reptile may not live for that long. Actually reptiles may only live for a few years, maybe 10 years, 25 years tops. And by the time they arrive at the age of 25 and they die of natural causes, their heart is just worked.

It is sore. It's tired. It's. It's it's seen its better days. Okay. So you want your heart to slow down. You want your heart to actually relax and give yourself a break to relax, to have this parasympathetic vaguely mediated sense of relaxation. So reptiles don't humans and mammals do. Okay. So. It's a new neuro-biological nerve that slows down your [00:08:00] heart.

But on the other hand, you don't want to have a chronically overstimulated Vegas nerve because then it may actually cause you to be too relaxed. You actually may be always in this state of. Parasympathetic and too much parasympathetic starts to take the edge off. It takes the edge off of your state, your responsiveness.

You're always going to feel a little too relaxed and that's not good, maybe too relaxed to the point where it's not even worth getting up. And this is potentially a source of some levels of depression. Because if your vagus nerve is always stimulated and it never turns off, then that actually isn't good.

So what you really want is a good balance between the reptilian alert state and the mammalian relaxed [00:09:00] state. So if you think of a reptile, it's like. Big. BDIs ready to go. It's on the edge of death at all times. That's the reptilian sympathetic state. Okay. Then there's the mammalian more like Panda bear And it's just playing around in a state of play. But. Remember take, for instance, the Panda, the adult Panda is actually an endangered species likely because it's so relaxed that it doesn't actually fend for itself very well in the wild. So it has to be naturally, protected by humans. So again, you don't want to be too much in this blissful, parasympathetic, Vegas mediated state all the time.

You have to be able to switch. That's just the reality. Okay. I'm not telling you one's good or bad. I'm just telling you, you might not want to be in parasympathetic all the time. It's not the healthiest thing.

so that's the Vagus nerve. That's how it's mediating your state.

And it's good. It's healthy to be able to switch between reptilian to mammalian brain. Back and [00:10:00] forth every five seconds. So five seconds, you're going to lean over towards the mammalian relaxed state. And then for five seconds, you're going to lean over more towards the sympathetic and it switches like a pendulum.

A little bit of both little bit of full reptilian Half and half right in the middle, then switching over to the mammalian side, more relaxed. And then once you've gotten there a little bit, the pendulum swings to the other side. now it's half and half. So you should be oscillating between the two, every five seconds. If you're in a passive normal state of being, you're going to oscillate between the two back and forth And when your HRV starts to read the switch, the deeper you go into mammalian, and then the deeper you go into reptilian, the wider, the gap, the higher, the HRV, the more time it takes for your heart to beat between beats.

So really relaxed, a really relaxed mammalian. Panda bear state is going to sound like this. If you were able to listen to my [00:11:00] heart, it would sound like this. It would go, boom, boom, boom, boom. Feel how it even just sounds relaxed. It just sounds relaxed. Just how it sounds and how it feels to hear me say, or hear me to make this sound.

Boom, boom. That is relaxed. Mammalian. Bagel activation. But then when you get to more into that reptilian state, which you want to be, you need to be comfortable with the pendulum. You need to be comfortable with the left and the right and the up and the down and the back and the forth, the yin and the yang, all sides, you need to be resilient in this system.

So then as you start to switch into reptilian, your heart rate is actually going to start to speed up. You're going to become more of the lizard for a moment. Now I think most people get stressed because like, Oh my God, I don't want to become a [00:12:00] reptile. I don't want to go a burrito. And they freak out, not knowing.

It's like me looking at the sun and saying, Oh my God, please, son, don't go down. I don't want it to be dark. I don't want it to be nighttime. Will you ever come back? If the sun sets that's today at the end of the day, will the sun come back and entire religions have been created on this idea that if, unless we get anxious and freak out that the sun is not going to come back, but I promise you that if you don't get anxious at the cycle of your body, The cycles will flow.

They'll come back because getting anxious, you can almost create the conditions where you might not actually become a map, a mammalian. Again, you'll actually freak out so much that you'll stick yourself. You'll be so concerned that you'll be stuck in the reptilian brain that you're going to get so anxious and convince yourself [00:13:00] that you're never going to be able to relax.

You're creating the exact thing you're trying to avoid by con by concerning yourself with that just calm down, relax release. You will cycle naturally just as the sun comes up and goes into the sky and then sets the moon will come up and then the moon will set and then the sun will rise. And it will set and the moon will rise and set.

The sun will rise and it will set and the cycle will continue on and on and on and on and on. Okay. For about the next 5 billion years until the sun magically explodes, but you're not going to be around then. So don't worry about it. Okay. Lot more important things to focus on in your lifetime. All right.

So when your heart rate starts to switch into reptilian, it's going to sound like this. Bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum, bum, bum bum. Now the mix between [00:14:00] the two different sounds is boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, BA BA BA bump, bump, bump, bum, BA BA bam, bam, bam, bam. Bump of, of, of, of, of, of, of a Bubba, Bubba, Bo Bo bomb bomb.

Bump bump, bump, bump, bump up up of, of, of, of, of, of, of, of, of boom bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, just like that. Okay. That's what good heart rate variability is. That's what a good, healthy human being sounds like. You should sound like you're at a jazz. Festival and you're listening to somebody freestyling on the drums, changing the temp.

So bump up bap, bap, bap, BA boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, bah, bah, bah, bah. But I bet did it back about the boat boat. Don't don't boom, boom, boom bump bump, bump, but a bit about the down, down bow  bump. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, [00:15:00] boom. Just like that. That's how a healthy heart should. Sound. That's how a healthy heart needs to sound.

End of story. That's exactly what heart rate variability is measuring do heart rate variability is like measuring your heart and saying, I hear jazz. I hear smooth jazz baby. That's what I'm hearing right now. Okay. That's what you want. And if your heart sounds like a metronome, Like a, like a fascist parade March, like do do, do, do, do do.

And it doesn't change. You are high risk case for hypertension, for heart failure, for bodily failure, for depression, anxiety, all kinds of stuff from just a bodily shutdown. Okay. Bad, low heart rate. Variability is categorically unhealthy [00:16:00] high heart rate. Variability is healthy. Okay, fair enough. Good. Now, here are some of the numbers that are right to have, and here are the numbers that you shouldn't have.

Okay. So I will first state that there's no perfect HRV number for anyone. Okay. Everybody is a little bit different. So generally you do on a, be above 30 milliseconds. Ideally everybody should be aiming for about 50 milliseconds. Pretty much at any age, obviously, as you get older, your main HRV number will decrease, but I've seen women who are 80 because women generally have a slightly lower HRV than men and older.

The older you get the lower, your HRV will go. A 30 year old could probably maintain a pretty good [00:17:00] 70 to 80 milliseconds. If they're healthy, if they're a normal average, healthy person in the mid 50% versus an 80 year old, who might be not at 70, but maybe more at like 40 to 50, if they're healthy, if they're taking care of their health and they're focusing on their health.

To an adequate degree. They're not trying to become an ultra marathon runner or anything like that. Okay. So if you are below 20 or below 10, that's a sign that you're incredibly stressed and your body. Isn't going to be able to do this for another five years. If you continually maintain a below 10 on a day-to-day basis, when you're sleeping, when you're waking your body.

Is seriously in need of health. You need to shift a lot of your focus and your attention on to your health and lessons to some of the other, other stuff, because there [00:18:00] won't be any other stuff to focus on. If you're gone, if your heart fails, it sucks. And you got to give your heart a break. Low HRV is bad.

Categorically there's no, if ands or buts about it, just like saying if you have a very high weight to your body, if you're above the normal weight, then that's also unhealthy. Are you going to die tomorrow? Probably not. Are you probably gonna have increased mortality mortality rate within five to 10 years?

Absolutely. That's just a fact. The same thing can be said of HRV. If your HRV is daily showing up at five, Ms. You've probably got three to seven years. And then if you can't fix that, if you don't take the time to fix it, you're going to have some problems guarantee it. So let's take a systems approach to HRV there's something called systems over goals.

This is a really important way to look at this. [00:19:00] So don't set a goal. To have a HRV of 30, you might be thinking, but Sterling, you just said that having an HRV over 30 is important and yeah, it is you do want to have a higher HRV than five, but setting a goal, like I'm going to do exercise until I hit 30, and then I'm going to call it in and say, I'm good.

Don't don't do that bad idea. More important. Is to take a systems approach. Don't look at this as a goal. You need to remove the emotionality around this and you need to stop thinking that that my goal is 30. And if I'm not there, I'm not happy. That is the carrot and the stick way. And that's how you could basically maintain a level of.

God, you're going to be sad every single day. So the better way to do this, the smarter way is to look at a systems approach. Now, a systems approach would look [00:20:00] at if you measure something every single day, it's going to invariably improve. If I'm running a business and I look at my financial numbers every day, I guarantee you I'm going to start improving on the income in a business.

Okay. So if you focus on the numbers, you'll improve the numbers. If you focus on measuring your weight every day, if you step on a scale every single morning, and you measure your, your weight consistently, consistently, not every week, once a week, every two weeks, nothing like that. Every single day, then.

You're going to find that your weight will naturally improve just by the fact that you're measuring it and you're creating awareness and you certainly can improve anything that, which you don't measure. So if you're thinking, okay, well I'll just breathe or I'll just do XYZ, but you're not measuring your HRV.

You're not going to do a very good job fact. [00:21:00] So what you want to do is you want to measure. Your HRV on a daily basis. And the more often that you measure it, the better off you're going to be the better off you're going to be able to improve this number is by having some device that's able to track this because like I said, you're not going to be able to do it yourself.

You can't measure your HRV just by yourself. You're going to need some tech. Okay. That's just a fact. Unless you have a super brain that can count a thousand times per second and do incredible math while listening to your own heart rate with your fingertips. Good luck. I'm not even going to get into it, how that would work.

So. What you're going to do is you're going to have to get a device. So this might look like an Apple watch. This might look like a whoop band, an aura band, or the best device, which is better on many counts is called the leaf tracker. [00:22:00] L I E F. Now the thing that stent that sets the leaf apart is that it actually is worn and constantly measures your HRV in real time throughout the day.

Because just like if you measure your blood glucose, if you are measuring your glucose for, for diabetes or, or just for health purposes, you'll know that taking one finger one vial or one little. Pin prick of blood from your fingertip. At one point in the meal or 30 minutes after a meal, you're going to miss a wide spectrum of what your blood sugar, what your blood sugar looks like.

Cause your blood sugar is fluid. It moves like. Waves on the ocean. It doesn't just go. My blood sugar is good. My blood sugar spikes up high and stays that way. And then it drops down to normal. It's like an ebbing flow, like cascading release. So you have to measure it with a continuous [00:23:00] glucose monitor.

This is probably the biggest revolution in continuous glucose monitoring. I've worn one of these devices from a company called I think it was. Called what was it called levels or one of these country companies Nutra sense is also another one. You basically put a sensor into your arm for two weeks and you can see your, your blood glucose throughout the entire day.

It's a really cool while you, while you're awake while you're sleeping, everything, that's a much better way to do it. So when it comes to measuring your HRV, all of the other three devices, I measured that I've listed. Aren't measuring your HRV properly as much as they could be. What you need is a daily always on always available to check in with HRV sensor.

And the only thing that exists that can do this is the leaf. It was designed from the ground up to specifically help you measure your heart rate variability, and actually has a built-in dos systems, which when it detects that [00:24:00] your HRV is dropping. Then it's going to actually teach you how to breathe properly to raise your HRV.

So not only is it just going to give you your HRV, like all the other devices can, but it's also going to teach you how to improve your HRV, because if you're just measuring and you don't know how to improve, and you're not being taught how to improve. That's going to make it a lot more difficult. So get yourself something that measures your HRV, but also coaches you around how to increase your HRV.

And you'll be a lot further along. Than most people who are just not measuring it or who are not improving it. Okay. So if you want to go get that device, they do monthly rentals. It's an incredible price. It's an incredible deal. I honestly don't know how they're able to do it. These are basically sticky patches that you put on your chest.

They use EKG ECG to measure your heart rate. And on demand, calculate your HRV as well. [00:25:00] So you can go to get leaf.com and use promo code V N S 10, which stands for vagus nerve stimulation. With a 10 on the end for 10% off your order. That's V N S 10 at get leaf.com. It's a great product to get. So that's it for today that is heart rate variability and the Vegas nerve.

I hope that this has been helpful for you. I hope that you're all good, much love to you all and take care. Thank you for joining us. And we will see you soon. Bye-bye.

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