Stress & HRV

The Best Way to Measure Stress

The best and only way to measure stress is by monitoring heart rate variability (HRV). Stress levels are inversely proportional to HRV levels: the lower the HRV, the higher the stress.

  • A low HRV indicates stress, when the sympathetic ('fight or flight') system is dominating, which can severely compromise decision-making and job performance. Unmitigated, chronic stress can lead to psychological disorders such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and a shortened life expectancy.
  • A high HRV indicates that the parasympathetic (rest, relax and recovery) system is better engaged. Studies show that individuals with higher HRV levels make better decisions - even under stress.

In most cases, workers with higher HRV rates have better performance scores than those with lower HRV levels.

Low Cost, Huge Benefits

Is the market ready for wearable devices that can track and predict stress? Consider these statistics:

  • 40% of Americans own a smartwatch or wearable fitness tracker; 75% want to own one
  • 51% of U.S. workers already own at least one wearable device
  • 81% of U.S. public safety workers would consider wearing a device to track at-work risks
  • 93% of enterprises are evaluating the use of wearable sensors

Tracking HRV via a wearable monitor is already being used by top athletes and their trainers in their quest to optimize performance. These wearable devices are becoming commonplace as individuals measure biometrics such as heart rate and glucose levels to track fitness progress and optimize health.

A Unique Window into Stress

Monitoring and measuring HRV offers workers a unique window into their stress levels so they can take necessary steps to reduce stress, which can:

  • Enhance decision-making abilities
  • Boost productivity and performance
  • Prevent costly and deadly mistakes

With an estimated 27 million data captures so far, Code4Pro is collecting a wealth of data across a wide cross-section of first responders.

Although stress impacts everyone differently, knowing how stress affects the individual can be used to forecast how they may react in a stressful situation.

This data can also help administrators make informed decisions on scheduling, duty assignments, etc. In addition, dispatchers can contact officers to check on their status, advise supervisors of an emerging or urgent issue, and/or dispatch a replacement and/or additional resources.

Code4Pro can also be used as a key component in wellness activities. Trainers can address the triggers that create the most stress, arming officers with techniques that help them recover more quickly. Stress-reducing therapies range from simple breathing techniques to therapeutic services conducted by qualified mental health professionals.