Heart rate variability biofeedback improves cardiorespiratory resting function during sleep

Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2013 Dec;38(4):265-71. doi: 10.1007/s10484-013-9232-7.


The present study was designed to examine the effect of heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback on the cardiorespiratory resting function during sleep in daily life. Forty-five healthy young adults were randomly assigned to one of three groups: HRV biofeedback, Autogenic Training(AT), and no-treatment control. Participants in the HRV biofeedback were instructed to use a handheld HRV biofeedback device before their habitual bedtime, those in the AT were asked to listen to an audiotaped instruction before bedtime,and those in the control were asked to engage in their habitual activity before bedtime. Pulse wave signal during sleep at their own residences was measured continuously with a wrist watch-type transdermal photoelectric sensor for three time points. Baseline data were collected on the first night of measurements, followed by two successive nights for HRV biofeedback, AT, or control. Cardiorespiratory resting function was assessed quantitatively as the amplitude of high frequency(HF) component of pulse rate variability, a surrogate measure of respiratory sinus arrhythmia. HF component increased during sleep in the HRV biofeedback group,although it remained unchanged in the AT and control groups. These results suggest that HRV biofeedback before sleep may improve cardiorespiratory resting function during sleep.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biofeedback, Psychology / methods*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Respiration*
  • Rest / physiology*
  • Sleep / physiology*