Heart rate and breathing rate fluctuations represent interacting physiological oscillations. These interactions are commonly studied using respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) of heart rate variability (HRV) or analyzing cardiorespiratory synchronization. Earlier work has focused on a third type of relationship, the temporal ratio of respiration rate and heart rate (HRR). Each method seems to reveal a specific aspect of cardiorespiratory interaction and may be suitable for assessing states of arousal and relaxation of the organism. We used HRR in a study with 87 healthy subjects to determine the ability to relax during 5 day-resting periods in comparison to deep sleep relaxation. The degree to which a person during waking state could relax was compared to somatic complaints, health-related quality of life, anxiety and depression. Our results show, that HRR is barely connected to balance (LF/HF) in HRV, but significantly correlates to the perception of general health and mental well-being as well as to depression. If relaxation, as expressed in HRR, during day-resting is near to deep sleep relaxation, the subjects felt healthier, indicated better mental well-being and less depressive moods.
Keywords: Day-nap; Deep sleep; Depression; Heart rate variability; Heart respiration rate; Vegetative balance; Well-being.
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