The emergence of wearable sensor technology may provide opportunities for automated measurement of psychophysiological markers of mental and physical fitness, which can be used for personalized feedback. This study explores to what extent within-subject changes in resting heart rate variability (HRV) during sleep predict the perceived mental and physical fitness of military personnel on the subsequent morning. Participants wore a Garmin wrist-worn wearable and filled in a short morning questionnaire on their perceived mental and physical fitness during a period of up to 46 days. A custom-built smartphone app was used to directly retrieve heart rate and accelerometer data from the wearable, on which open-source algorithms for sleep detection and artefact filtering were applied. A sample of 571 complete observations in 63 participants were analyzed using linear mixed models. Resting HRV during sleep was a small predictor of perceived physical fitness (marginal R 2  = .031), but not of mental fitness. The items on perceived mental and physical fitness were strongly correlated (r = .77). Based on the current findings, resting HRV during sleep appears to be more related to the physical component of perceived fitness than its mental component. Recommendations for future studies include improvements in the measurement of sleep and resting HRV, as well as further investigation of the potential impact of resting HRV as a buffer on stress-related outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-257
Number of pages11
JournalApplied psychophysiology and biofeedback
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2023


  • stress recovery balance


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