Sleep accounts for one-quarter to one-third of the human lifespan. But what exactly happens when you sleep? Did you know that before the 1950s, most people believed sleep was a passive activity during which the body and brain were dormant? But it turns out that sleep is a period during which the brain is engaged in a number of activities necessary to life—which are closely linked to mental health, physical wellness and even an improved quality of life as per studies by individuals like Johns Hopkins sleep expert and neurologist Mark Wu, M.D., Ph.D. As more researchers, scientists and neurologists study sleep, the more we discover about the many active processes that occur when we rest.
It is a well known fact that rest and recovery during and post workout are crucially important for brain health as well as for overall health and well-being. We discussed in our previous blog post on how 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 mums 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.
In this blog post we unveil key information about sleep science, and make connections between how EMS supports muscle recovery and leads to better sleep.
Sleep phases – what are they?
Some of you might have heard of REM (rapid-eye movement) sleep. As described in a research article by the University of Liege in Belgium, sleep in humans is divided in two main phases: non-REM sleep, which occupies most of our early sleep night, and REM sleep, during which our dreams prevail. Non-REM sleep is usually considered as a compensatory ‘resting’ state for the brain, following the intense waking brain activity. Now, new research challenges previous brain imaging studies which showed that the brain was less active during periods of non-REM sleep as compared to periods of wakefulness.
The sleep cycles that your brain goes through typically repeat 4-5 times a night. Non-REM sleep is the first part of the cycle, which is made up of 4 phases:
Phase 1–Period between being awake and falling asleep
Phase 2–Light sleep | Heart rate and breathing begin to regulate, body temperature drops
Phase 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, Ageing & Muscle Recovery
The amount of sleep you need changes as you age. Studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Population Health show that the 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 (deep vs light sleep). If you are physically active it’s super important that you put sufficient amount of quality sleep on top of your diet and exercise plan. Keeping these two components in alignment is critical in order for you to perform.
Lets face it we are all different and our sleep needs vary. Some feel rested after just a few hours of sleep each night, but on the flip-side then most 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.
Influence of EMS to better sleep
Very often we get comments from our members about how they have had the best sleep after a Visionbody EMS session in one of our studios or at home. So we decided to look a bit more into this and the causes for it.
Reports by the Johns Hopkins Medicine identify that healthy amount of sleep each night is essential to neuroplasticity. Before we get scared from this big word lets have a look at it. Neuroplasticity is the capacity of the brain to act and to respond to internal and external changes. It is 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.
Technology put to practical use
Electric muscle stimulation is fascinating not just because of the science behind the technology, but also due to its vast and effective applications. See our previous article for that. [LINK] Even more unique for the Visionbody EMS is that it is one of the very few devices on market that operate at both low and medium frequencies. Not only does our EMS device support fitness recovery during and in between workouts, but Visionbody is also a fantastic tool for those experiencing muscle atrophy due to lack of physical activity, age, or disease or injury. We have proven this with some of our champions who have been a bit less fortunate and have disabilities – Our NDIS clients – see for yourself. [LINK]
Train and have a massage
One of the super rewarding parts of exercising with Visionbody in our studios or at home is the massage mode (massage and anticelilute). Its the reward for action packed 20 minutes of fitness. When in massage mode the slow twitch muscle fibres or TYPE I are engaged. This helps with tightness, soreness or weakness as well potentially prevent injuries. It does so by keeping inactive or atrophying muscles moving. In addition to this brings it also helps to bring oxygen rich blood to the muscles too.
Reduce stress and anxiety
Studies by the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Faculty of Science,University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark identified that regular exercise routines can help to reduce your stress levels. Stress is a common cause of sleep problems, including trouble falling asleep and sleeping restlessly during the night. Exercise is a potent remedy for anxiety and other mood disorders. Even little amounts of exercise can trigger anti-anxiety responses in the body
The words “diet” and “exercise” often appear in the same sentence, but if there’s disharmony between the two, you won’t get very far down the road to weight loss or maintain your figure. We are a very strong advocate of living a well-balanced lifestyle. And with how busy everyone is 20 minutes of Electric muscle stimulation complements a healthy lifestyle allowing you to fit regular exercise without impacting your busy schedule and help you with 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!