Sleep Apnea and HRV

I have listened to the “9 Ways to Improve Your HRV” podcast and have been trying to use that information to improve mine. I’m currently tracking using a Garmin Fenix 7 (Sapphire Solar). I’m 37 years old, have been riding recreationally off and on since 2014 and took up structured training and racing in the past 4 years. I didn’t do much riding or racing last year due to two bouts of pleurisy. Coming back into this year and having tracked my HRV for a while, it seems low. I’m currently at a seven day average of 37 and overnight averages in the low 40’s. I do suffer from undiagnosed sleep apnea and I’m wondering if that could be contributing to my lower HRV? I have found a few studies and tried reading, but they were a bit over my head. I’m getting around 8 hours of sleep on average and I feel pretty well rested when I wake up and haven’t had a lack of energy to complete workouts. Thanks in advance!

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Your HRV seems low, but there can be lots of factors at play. I’m not an expert by any means.

I’m 47 and ride quite a bit recreationally. I have Hashimoto’s Disease and suffered from a pulmonary embolism about 3 years ago that has left severe scarring all throughout the veins in my legs and lungs. My HRV can vary from the low 40s up to the high 60s during a week.

I’m wondering if the two bouts of pleurisy last year combined with sleep apnea are contributing to lower HRV for you. From what I read, sleep apnea will definitely have a negative impact on your HRV, especially if the sleep apnea is particularly bad and untreated. I’m guessing you’ve seen a doctor about the sleep apnea? If so, and you haven’t had treatment or further testing, it might be a good next step to see another doctor for a second opinion. HRV isn’t the one number to rule them all, but it might be an indicator that something is a bit off for you.