Module 5. How and Why to Measure and Record Your Morning CP
Learning the Buteyko method by modules
How to Measure Morning CP
MCP = morning CP or morning control pause test. The MCP test is done immediately after waking up in the morning, just before you get out of bed. Ideally, you should do the test in the same body position in which you woke up. For this, it is handy to have a ticking clock and use it to count seconds. Or you can have a stopwatch, electronic clock, or other methods to count seconds accurately. Note that counting in the head is subjective and it is easy to make a mistake that can be over 10% away from the real result.
How and why your morning CP is crucial for your health restoration
You already measured your CP (morning Control Pause) many times. Probably, you are still wondering which CP number is most important for the Buteyko breathing method. This question is very important since the answer and attitude shape the strategy and chosen activities.
Some Buteyko breathing method practitioners greatly emphasize importance of many breathing sessions and an ability to achieve very large CP numbers during the day. These are great things. However, it is even more important to maintain the same level of health during and after sleep. Why is it so dangerous?
During the night we do not control our breathing. For most people, as was discussed before, breathing is heaviest between about 3 and 6 am. The CP is lowest during these early morning hours. Meanwhile, the main damage to the body with resetting of the breathing centre corresponds to the minimum daily CP. Many positive changes could be eliminated. The rate of progress is reduced. The student has to start over almost from the beginning. This is the reason why Morning Hyperventilation Effect is linked to the front page of this website. Remember: severely sick people are most likely to die during early morning hours (4-7 am), when our breathing is heaviest and body oxygenation lowest. This fact was found for heart disease, stroke, COPD, asthma, epilepsy and many other conditions.
Imagine, for example, what happens when the morning CP is below 10 or 20 s.
If you have asthma and hyperventilate during early morning hours (as most asthmatics do), oxygenation of the body is critically low, airways are irritated, and more inflammation is produced. Your body will try to repair airways during the day, when the CP is higher. But if you hyperventilate every morning, or even every other morning, healing will never take place. There is simply not enough time to heal since damage is systematically done. It is the same as to scratch a wound every day until it bleeds and hope that it will go away one day.
If you have congenital heart disease or other abnormalities in the heart muscle, the situation is the same. You will produce considerable damage to your heart, once your CP becomes less than 10 seconds. Later you may have best breathing exercises, perfect diet, and many other great things, but if you hyperventilate every morning, there is no health system that can help you.
If you have cancer, your tumour will grow and even metastasize during early morning hours. Later, you can have best diets and supplements, great physical exercise, and many other wonderful things which can reduce your tumour. But if your tumour grows by about 2 mm during 2-3 hours in the morning and shrinks by 1 mm during the remaining part of the day, what would be the total effect in 1-2 months?
To find out the degree of this problem, every night, just before going to sleep, the student should measure, if there are no contra-indications, the evening CP. It will tell about the progress achieved during that particular day.
The morning CP is not just a test. It also provides us with energy and reminds us about our commitment to breathe less.
After several days of measurements, there are many numbers - daily, evening and morning CPs. Then the goal is to find out the emerging pattern related to personal circadian CP changes. Is the morning CP much smaller than the previous evening CP? By how much? Some people have relatively short sleep (e.g., about 6 hours) even when their CPs are about 10 s or less. Usually these people do not have problems with morning CP. It is nearly the same as their evening CP values.
Practice shows that over 50% modern students have a large CP drop (at least twice) during the night sleep. For some of these people the drop is even more drastic. Only a small proportion of people (about 5-10%) have almost no difference (e.g., 1-2 s) between the evening and morning CP values.
Practicing breathing exercises and many other common sense activities gradually restore CO2 level back to usual daily values. During the next night the pattern is repeated again: good daily values with about 30-70% morning CP drop.
Would the morning CP, after weeks of practice, improve, if breathing exercises and common sense activities are practiced? Practice of Buteyko breathing method practitioners shows that usually it will, but it is physiologically obvious that low morning CP would be the greatest factor impeding the general CP (Control Pause) progress and health restoration. It would make sense, therefore, to address the problem directly. However, the first step is to find out the degree of the problem. Hence, it is important to measure and record your morning CP.
Spanish version of this page: Cómo y porqué medir y grabar CP matutino cada día.
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