Recommended by the French Federation of Cardiology, cardiac coherence is a breathing method highlighted in France by Dr David O’Hare several years ago. The principle is simple: the heart adapts its beating to its environment thanks to the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The first is related to stress, to daily life, the second is related to rest, and energy boost.
What is cardiac coherence?
The principle is simple: regulate your nervous system. “When we breathe in, we stimulate the sympathetic nervous system which stimulates the stress hormone cortisol and increases the heart rate,” explains Dr. David O’Hare, general practitioner behind the 3-6-5 method. Conversely, when exhaling, the heart rate slows down. If we take control of the breath, we can, by will, speed up or slow down the heart rate and bring our autonomic nervous system into balance. ”
The key to more restful sleep
According to the Weekly epidemiological bulletin for March 2019, one in two French people say they suffer from sleep disorders. The cause is stress, exposure to blue light via screens, and anxiety. “In this context, we easily enter the vicious circle of insomnia,” explains Aurélie Meyer-Mazel, clinical psychologist. The less we sleep, the less we can manage our stress. Cortisol levels increase, and our sleep cycles are disrupted. For the psychologist, taking a break, closing your eyes, taking a deep breath helps to break this circle.
“Daily practice of cardiac coherence improves sleep in less than a month,” says Dr. O’Hare. Thanks to this method, time to fall asleep is reduced, deep sleep better quality. For those who suffer from insomnia, their disorders improve thanks to this technique of falling asleep. Finally, deep breathing exercises would have benefits on sleep and stress management in people working at night, or at staggered hours.
Can we make up for lost sleep?
The goal of deep breathing exercises is to slow down breathing, thengradually increase the time allowed for exhalation. To start, the famous 3-6-5 method consists of carrying out, 3 times a day, 6 respiratory cycles, for 5 minutes. Each cycle is broken down into 5 seconds of inspiration and 5 seconds of expiration. The doctor recommends at least 3 sessions per day : upon awakening, at bedtime, and during the day because guided breathing promotes calm, appeasement, or stress reduction. Aurélie Meyer-Mazel recommends taking a regular “cardiac coherence” break. It’s up to you whether you want to close your eyes or keep them open, calm.
Cardiac coherence is not for everyone
This method of breathing can sometimes be uncomfortable. “Some patients complain of impatience, hyperventilation, dizziness … Nothing is more normal during an initiation to meditation”, reassures Dr. O’Hare. In this case, it is advisable to end the exercise, and to try the experiment again later. However, be careful with do not confuse “discomfort” and “expression of the parasympathetic nervous system” : yawning, gurgling are quite normal and the sign of entering a state of cardiac coherence!
Two devices to learn about cardiac coherence
Some laboratories and brands market connected devices, luminous, that guide the implementation of these cycles, and encourage you to devote time to cardiac coherence.
- Red winner. A practical and nomadic device recharges on a USB port. Thanks to a red light, the only color that does not block the secretion of melatonin, the sleep hormone, the Dreamer gives the inspiration and expiration rhythm essential to the entry into cardiac coherence. the Dreamer has been developed according to the recommendations of the European Sleep Center. Dreamer, teraillon, 50 €.
- Meditation bubble. The UrGO Feel is based on the principle of biofeedback, in other words the real-time monitoring of the synchronization of its respiratory cycles and the entry into a state of cardiac coherence. A device is placed at the end of the index finger. Then, viathe application, a rising and falling bubble allows you to visualize your breathing. finally, a gauge indicates the entry into cardiac coherence. UrGO Feel, Urgotech, 90 €.