High-Frequency Heart Rate Variability Is Prospectively Associated With Sleep Complaints in a Healthy Working Cohort

Psychosom Med. 2024 May 1;86(4):342-348. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000001302. Epub 2024 Mar 4.


OBJECTIVE: Vagus nerve functioning, as indexed by high-frequency heart rate variability (HF-HRV), has been implicated in a wide range of mental and physical health conditions, including sleep complaints. This study aimed to test associations between HF-HRV measured during sleep (sleep HF-HRV) and subjective sleep complaints 4 years later.

METHODS: One hundred forty-three healthy employees (91% male; MAge = 47.8 years [time 2], SD = 8.3 years) of an industrial company in Southern Germany completed the Jenkins Sleep Problems Scale, participated in a voluntary health assessment, and were given a 24-hour ambulatory heart rate recording device in 2007. Employees returned for a health assessment and completed the Jenkins Sleep Problems Scale 4 years later.

RESULTS: Hierarchical regression analyses showed that lower sleep HF-HRV measured in 2007 was associated with higher self-reported sleep complaints 4 years later after controlling for covariates (rab,c = -0.096, b = -0.108, 95% CI, -0.298 to 0.081, ΔR2 = 0.009, p = .050).

CONCLUSIONS: These data are the first to show that lower sleep HF-HRV predicted worse sleep 4 years later, highlighting the importance of vagus nerve functioning in adaptability and health.

PMID:38724040 | DOI:10.1097/PSY.0000000000001302