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"The future starts when I wake up each morning." Miles Davis
After delivering over 15 million heart rate variability (HRV) insights in the morning, we've learned a thing or two about the power of a good morning.
Users have told us about the value of a morning ritual focused on purpose, progress, and decision-making. Such rituals are a necessary foundation to lock in new habits and achieve major goals. Goals like getting fitter, sleeping better, managing our mental health, improving our diet, controlling a chronic illness, training for that marathon, and more.
For the first time in history, we have universal access to biomarkers to guide our mornings, starting us off with momentum each day towards our goals. We call this the Morning Readiness Check In. It's a time to make the right decisions for the day (no more guesswork!), schedule the necessary activities, reflect and celebrate progress, and renew our sense of purpose!
(For companies, a morning check-in is a powerful source of trust, credibility and brand equity).
HRV and other biomarkers can be affected by changes in circadian rhythm, hormonal shifts, and acute stressors that all take place through the day. To reduce this "noise" and gain a clearer picture of your autonomic nervous system activity (recovery, resilience, inflammation, etc), we recommend taking HRV-based readings first thing in the morning after waking up.
When you've woken up, you haven't had the change to experience the stresses of exercise, schoolwork, commutes, a hot shower, getting the kids out the door, or even digesting different breakfast foods. Your circadian rhythm and hormonal patterns should be in a relatively similar state as in previous days. By contrast, those stressors will change not just HRV, but also respiration, heart rate, glucose, body temperature and blood pressure. By eliminating these activities, we highlight the patterns that matter the most.
This is not a strict rule. You can start the coffee maker, get dressed, brush teeth, or other minor routine. The key is to aim for consistency each day. Your body's cumulative stress load and recovery status will register more powerfully then small changes in routine.
If your daily step-count is a single pixel, then your morning HRV is a single frame. By stitching together multiple morning readiness readings, you quickly build a movie. Luckily, it only takes a couple readings before the plot (of your wellbeing journey) is clear. Emergent patterns and surprising insights often show up!
Your own history ("baseline") is the most important comparison here. For example, if you are quite stable, then a small change on a given day can register as a large change in readiness that impacts your workouts, lifestyle decisions and purpose for the day or week ahead. Conversely, if you're fairly variable day-to-day, the same change in readiness will not matter so much. The good thing is that Spren's algorithms adjust constantly and updates over time.
Getting fit, losing weight, changing a diet, managing our mental health, fixing our sleep, controlling a chronic illness - all these wellbeing goals are rarely achieved overnight. It takes weeks of small progress to build up to eventual success. Motivation alone will not get most of us through this journey. It take rituals, transformed into habits, bolstered by smart decisions, and supported by timely feedback and progress.
This is the power of the morning readiness reading.
“Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.” Lemony Snicket