Below, we share tips to keep top of mind while interpreting the graphs visible in your Readiness tab. These include:
- Your Resting Heart Rate (RHR) graph
- Your Heart Rate Variability (HRV) graph
Before we dive into the details, we'll begin with some basics to set you up for success prior to interpreting your Readiness graphs on your own. From there, feel free to follow along with your own Oura data, or use the images included as references.
Starting With the Basics
When it comes to your individual physiology, it’s essential to focus on what's normal for you, then compare any changes and improvements from there. Once you’ve been using Oura for ~two weeks, you’ll have accumulated enough data to have a well-calibrated baseline for your resting heart rate and heart rate variability, along with all your other Oura metrics.
One way to gauge your personal baseline window (*for RHR only) is by turning to the chart at the very top of your Readiness tab. Your resting heart rate is identified by the small white circles. By scrolling left and right through this chart, you’ll gain a general idea of what’s normal for you. You can also gather a sense of your normal ranges by going to your Readiness trends (accessible from the upper left-hand menu in the Home tab) and checking out your weekly and monthly fluctuations for both RHR and HRV.
Because all bodies are different and adapt in their own unique way, your RHR may appear relatively stable or rather, change a bit more from time to time—the same applies to your HRV. There is no one single definition of "good” or “bad” when speaking on behalf of something so personal like RHR and HRV. It's also normal to spot occasional abnormalities (i.e., outliers), such as an unusually high RHR one night. Our advice is not to fixate on these exceptions and instead, look for periods of relative consistency. For example, in the image shown below, one could approximate that any nightly average RHR value between 51-59 bpm would fall within this individual's typical "range".
*This same process can be replicated for HRV via trends, using the monthly or weekly views preferably.
Either way—first, discover what’s common for you based on the data Oura has reflected, then narrow in on your daily graphs and values from there.
Your Resting Heart Rate (RHR) Graph
What to optimize for:
- In general, lower RHR values are better. The goal is for your heart rate to stay within its normal range, not elevating too high (more than five bpm above your average) or too low (more than ten bpm below your average)—and for it to reach its lowest point in the first half of your night, giving your body enough time to refuel and recharge for the coming day. *Your RHR low point is represented by the illuminated white dot on your graph.
- It’s natural for your heart rate to slightly rise in the second half of the night as you're likely to enter increased bouts of REM (i.e., dream state) and especially as you approach your wake-up time. Ideally, you want your resting heart rate graph to look somewhat like a smile. Starting high on the left-hand side of your graph (i.e., near bedtime), dropping toward the middle, then rising back up once again on the right-hand side (i.e., near your morning wake-up time).
RHR low point reached in the first half of the night:
- If your RHR isn’t reaching its lowest point until the second half of your night, this is a sign your body is working overtime. How your RHR and HRV respond over the course of your night is a reflection of what you’ve put your body and mind through in the previous day. That being said, if your heart rate elevates after going to bed, or slopes downward without rising back up as you approach your wake-up time, this is your body telling you it hasn’t properly recovered from the previous day as a result of behavioral or lifestyle factors. In these cases, your trend line may appear to look more like a hill or a downward slope.
RHR low point not reached until the second half of the night:
Your Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Graph
What to optimize for:
- In general, higher HRV values are better. Anything at, or above your normal average is worth striving for—although significantly higher values from what you’re accustomed to seeing in your data may actually be a sign your body is too rested. If this were the case, you would likely feel somewhat sluggish or low on energy. Either way, values higher than your typical HRV data points can be thought of as your body saying “I’m ready. Bring on the day.”
- HRV values slightly below your normal average aren’t anything to fret over, as HRV tends to be a highly sensitive metric. However, values that are well below what you’re used to seeing on a daily basis can be thought of as your body trying to flag you down and inform you that you’re not taking care of yourself in the most optimal way possible. In this article, you’ll find a list of potential sources of this trend in your data under #2.
- Generally, more variation (i.e., “ups and downs” in your graph) is also ideal, as it demonstrates high resilience of your heart itself, and its interconnectedness with other core systems of your body such as your autonomic nervous system, brain, etc. You can clue into this by observing the lines in your graph itself or by looking at your max HRV value (shown in small blue lettering below your average value for the night).
An Introduction to Resting Heart Rate
An Introduction to Heart Rate Variability
What is Heart Rate Variability?
How To Increase Your HRV (Heart Rate Variability)