Respiratory Rate and How to Track It

 

The WHOOP App contains a feature for tracking Respiratory Rate, which is an important indicator for measuring cardiovascular fitness and load.

 

What is Respiratory Rate?

Respiratory Rate, or the rate in which breathing occurs, is reported through breaths (respirations) per minute (rpm) and typically ranges from 12 to 20 (rpm) at rest. 

Each respiration has two phases: Inhalation and exhalation. During inhalation, oxygen is brought into the lungs from where it is transported throughout the body via the bloodstream, and during exhalation, carbon dioxide is eliminated.

 

How to Access Respiratory Rate In-App

To locate your respiratory rate in the WHOOP mobile app, go to your Sleep tab (Sleep Performance screen) and tap into Hours of Sleep. Under Sleep Statistics,  you can see your respiratory rate for the previous night’s sleep. 

 

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How to Access Respiratory Rate on the Web-App

Log in to your account at app.whoop.com, select a date range (underneath your profile Overview). From there, go to your Sleep Performance section (located on the top right hand side of your screen) and click in. Your respiratory rate can be found in the statistics section of your screen (left hand side). 

 

How does WHOOP measure Respiratory Rate?

WHOOP tracks the median respiratory rate during sleep, and calculates respiratory rate from one's raw heart rate data by leveraging a phenomenon called respiratory sinus arrhythmia: when we breathe in, our heart rate increases and when we breathe out, our heart rate decreases. This process allows us to preferentially pass blood, while our lungs are full of oxygen. Our respiratory rate is calculated through  monitoring this cyclical increase/decrease pattern.

"We use minute-by-minute alterations in respiratory rate in our sleep staging algorithm because respiratory rate predictably changes slightly during different sleep stages." - Emily Capodilupo, VP of Data Science & Research, WHOOP 

 

Why is it important to track Respiratory Rate?

Respiratory rate is a remarkably stable metric, and a general indicator for cardiovascular fitness and load. On a normal basis, users shouldn't expect to see much change in their median respiratory rate statistics. However, when your respiratory rate does change (significantly), these changes are usually meaningful and can potentially be cause for concern. 

To learn more about how tracking your respiratory rate may help monitor COVID-19, check out our locker post: The Importance of Respiratory Rate Tracking During the COVID-19 Pandemic

 

 

 

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