Did you know? Up until the 1950s, most people believed the brain and body remained dormant during sleep. But it turns out, the more that researchers, scientists and neurologists study sleep, the more we discover about the many active processes that occur when we rest. During sleep the brain engages in activities that impact mental health, physical wellness and even an improved quality of life.
That being said, rest and recovery during and post workout are crucially important for brain health as well as for overall health and wellbeing. Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) technology supports muscle recovery, and helps reduce tension and muscle discomfort, thereby supporting better sleep. From professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts to busy moms and everyday people who experience muscle pain or muscle atrophy, electric muscle stimulation offers a safe, scientifically sound way to support fitness recovery, decrease muscle pain and enhance a healthy sleep schedule.
This article uncovers key information about sleep science, and makes connections between how EMS supports muscle recovery and leads to better sleep.
Understanding Your Sleep Cycles
You’ve probably heard of REM (rapid-eye movement) sleep. What you may not know is that during this sleep cycle your brain waves are very similar to those during wakefulness. As you sleep your brain repeatedly cycles through REM and non-REM sleep, typically cycling 4-5 times a night. Non-REM sleep is the first part of the cycle, which is made up of 4 stages:
Stage 1--Period between being awake and falling asleep
Stage 2--Light sleep | Heart rate and breathing begin to regulate, body temperature drops
Stages 3 & 4--Deep sleep
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, new data suggests that non-REM sleep impacts learning and memory to a greater degree than REM sleep. Non-REM sleep is also the more restful, restorative sleep cycle.
Sleep, Aging & Muscle Recovery
As you age, the amount of sleep you need changes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Population Health, although the daily amount of sleep you get is important, there are other aspects of sleep that contribute to overall health and wellness. It’s not just the quantity (i.e., number of hours), but the quality of sleep that matters. If you are physically active or athletic, it’s critical that you not only consider your diet and exercise plan, but also that you carve out ample time for quality sleep. The more these components align, the greater results you will experience.
Sleep needs vary from person to person. Some people claim that they feel rested after just a few hours of sleep each night, but they likely do not function or perform optimally during the day as compared to those who get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Additionally, those who sleep less than 7 hours a night over several consecutive nights, or over a long period of time often do not perform as well when faced with complex mental tasks.
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) provides guidelines for healthy sleep schedules for all age ranges. The recommended newborn (0-3 months) sleep schedule is between 14-17 hours a night. The recommended sleep schedule for infants (4-11 months) is between 12-15 hours. For toddlers (1-2 years), the range is 11-14 hours, and for preschoolers (3-5 years), the recommended sleep duration is 10-13 hours a night. Once children reach school age (6-13 years) and into their teens (14-17 years), the recommended sleep schedule ranges from between 8-11 hours a night. Of course this range fluctuates depending on the individual, and may also vary widely during growth spurts and hormonal changes.
Sleep needs also vary for young adults (18-25 years), mature adults (26-64 years) and older adults (65+ years) depending on age, mental and physical health, and fitness or activity level. The NSF generally recommends that adults sleep between 7-9 hours a night. For some seniors, that number can decrease to as little as 5-6 hours a night based on the way that sleeping patterns change as we age. The Mayo Clinic reports that in addition to age, sleep needs vary based on previous sleep deprivation, sleep quality, aging and changes in the body that occur during pregnancy.
EMS Supports Better Sleep
Good sleep and fitness recovery go hand in hand. Sleep significantly affects brain function, more than we even realize during our day-to-day routines. Johns Hopkins Medicine reports that a healthy amount of sleep each night is essential to neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to develop as we age, rewire and heal itself, and otherwise respond and adapt to input. Lack of sleep, especially on a frequent basis, often makes it difficult to process information throughout the day and retain information for future reference.
You can improve the quality of your sleep and get a good night’s rest more often by using EMS technology on a regular basis. Electrical muscle stimulation helps restore muscles and ease muscle tension, allowing the body to relax and slip into more restful sleep. Better sleep will, in turn, improve your quality of life as well as your health, overall wellness and physical fitness. This is also where electrical muscle stimulation can aid in fitness recovery after intense training sessions and even help eliminate everyday aches and pains.
Electric muscle stimulation is fascinating not just because of the science behind the technology, but also due to its vast and effective applications. Not only does our EMS device support fitness recovery during and in between workouts, but PowerDot is also a fantastic tool for those experiencing muscle atrophy due to lack of physical activity, age, or disease or injury.
Our smart muscle stimulator is the safe, clinically proven solution for reducing muscle discomfort as well as for keeping inactive muscles moving. When used in recovery or massage modes, the PowerDot electric muscle stimulator gently engages type I, slow-twitch muscle fibers. When used correctly and on a consistent basis, electrical muscle stimulation can help reduce muscle tightness, soreness or weakness as well as prevent injuries.
Electric muscle stimulation complements a healthy lifestyle comprised of a balanced diet, regular exercise and consistently solid sleep. Fully rested muscles and a body that aches less ultimately lead to more restful sleep. And as we’ve learned, good sleep is the key that unlocks a highly efficient brain and body, and a healthier, happier you!
If you’ve enjoyed geeking out with us on sleep science, you’ll love our Training Room videos on how to increase strength and prevent muscle injuries!
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Sleep Foundation