Heart rate and stress - an overlooked health indicator

What affects your heart more - a jump scare, or an all-nighter?

Your heart rate rapidly increases after you get shocked or surprised by something, accompanied by nervousness and other physiological responses. But does slow-burn stress - like the kind created from pulling all-nighters - also affect the heart in similar ways?

The answer is yes!

Stress, whether due to work, exams, interpersonal... can increase blood pressure and heart rate, affected by automatic responses by the nervous system. This is one of the body’s built-in defense systems, and it isn’t an inherently bad thing. When we encounter danger, this increase is what allows us to react more quickly and instinctively if needed, such as dodging something dangerous flying towards you, or catch a falling vase.

But what happens if you’re in a high-stress environment for an extended period of time? Compared to a sudden shock, long-term stress puts the body at danger, quickly exhausting energy and keeping the body in a state of constant vigilance and increased blood pressure and heart rate, which is quite possibly the source of unfortunate “death from overwork” incidents that seem to become more and more common.

How can you tell if you’re under too much stress?
There are various methods to determine if your body is over-stressed, but a reasonably quick and accessible method is to measure your resting heart rate, ideally in the morning. By regularly tracking this number every day, you can observe that it tends to be higher than normal when your body is under abnormal stress, which can be caused by fatigue, pressure, catching a cold, and other possibilities!

Oserio’s Cardio Scales utilize Ballistocardiography (BCG) technology to measure heartbeat through detecting each physical impact with precision sensors, providing resting heart rate while you measure your weight each morning!