Associations between Sleep Quality and Heart Rate Variability; Implications for a Biological Model of Stress Detection Using Wearable Technology

Taryn Chalmers, Blake A. Hickey, Philip Newton, Chin Teng Lin, David Sibbritt, Craig S. McLachlan, Roderick Clifton-Bligh, John W. Morley, Sara Lal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: The autonomic nervous system plays a vital role in the modulation of many vital bodily functions, one of which is sleep and wakefulness. Many studies have investigated the link between autonomic dysfunction and sleep cycles; however, few studies have investigated the links between short-term sleep health, as determined by the Pittsburgh Quality of Sleep Index (PSQI), such as subjective sleep quality, sleep latency, sleep duration, habitual sleep efficiency, sleep disturbances, use of sleeping medication, and daytime dysfunction, and autonomic functioning in healthy individuals. Aim: In this cross-sectional study, the aim was to investigate the links between short-term sleep quality and duration, and heart rate variability in 60 healthy individuals, in order to provide useful information about the effects of stress and sleep on heart rate variability (HRV) indices, which in turn could be integrated into biological models for wearable devices. Methods: Sleep parameters were collected from participants on commencement of the study, and HRV was derived using an electrocardiogram (ECG) during a resting and stress task (Trier Stress Test). Result: Low-frequency to high-frequency (LF:HF) ratio was significantly higher during the stress task than during the baseline resting phase, and very-low-frequency and high-frequency HRV were inversely related to impaired sleep during stress tasks. Conclusion: Given the ubiquitous nature of wearable technologies for monitoring health states, in particular HRV, it is important to consider the impacts of sleep states when using these technologies to interpret data. Very-low-frequency HRV during the stress task was found to be inversely related to three negative sleep indices: sleep quality, daytime dysfunction, and global sleep score.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5770
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022


  • rate variability
  • sleep
  • stress
  • wearable technology


Dive into the research topics of 'Associations between Sleep Quality and Heart Rate Variability; Implications for a Biological Model of Stress Detection Using Wearable Technology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this