Tracking Respiratory Rate

Released April 2nd, 2020, the WHOOP app now includes Respiratory Rate, an important indicator of cardiovascular fitness and load. This metric was previously available in the web app, but can now be viewed in app as well. 

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How to Access Respiratory Rate In-App

To find your respiratory rate in the mobile app, swipe to your Sleep Performance screen and tap into “Hours of Sleep.” Under “Sleep Statistics,” you’ll see your respiratory rate for the previous night’s sleep.

How to Access Respiratory Rate on the Web-App

Log in to your account at app.whoop.com, then select a date range and go to “Sleep Performance” in the top right of the screen. You'll see respiratory rate in your stats on the left, and can click to expand.

 

What is Respiratory Rate?

Respiratory rate, reported in respirations (breaths) per minute (rpm), 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 does WHOOP measure Respiratory Rate?

WHOOP reports the median respiratory rate during sleep. We calculate respiratory rate from heart rate data by taking advantage of a phenomenon known as respiratory sinus arrhythmia. Described simply, when we breathe in, our heart rate increases and when we breathe out our heart rate decreases, allowing us to preferentially pass blood by the lungs while they are full of oxygen. Because our autonomic nervous systems increase heart rate during inhalation and decrease heart rate during exhalation, we can see the respiratory rate in continuous heart rate data by looking for this cyclical increase/decrease pattern.

Why is it important to track Respiratory Rate?

While respiratory rate is generally an indicator of cardiovascular fitness and load, and therefore increases when resting heart rate increases and decreases when resting heart rate decreases, it is also a remarkably stable metric. From night to night, users should not expect to see much change in their median respiratory rate statistic. When it does change, however, that change tends to be meaningful. Learn more from our VP of Data Science and Research, Emily Capodilupo, here!

 

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