Benefits of Deep Sleep

Hi, it’s Dr. Jeffrey Mark. Today I’d like to talk to you about the benefits of deep sleep. First, we’ll talk about what deep sleep is. What happens if you don’t get enough sleep, and how you can optimize the amount of deep sleep. So what is deep sleep? Deep Sleep is the third stage of sleep. It accounts for about 13 to 23% of a good night’s sleep. So most adults need about seven to nine hours of sleep a night. If you get seven hours of sleep, that means you get about 55 to 97 minutes of deep stage three sleep. There’s some regulation in the amount of sleep so you can make some of it up on the weekends if you work excessively during the week and you don’t get enough sleep during the week. So what happens if you don’t get enough deep sleep? Well, fatigue obviously, can occur. Besides fatigue, you can also have problems with memory and acquiring new skills and learning because your deep sleep allows you to organize and to file away new things that you learn during the day. So it’s important that this filing system is working fully so that you can retrieve the information the next day or the next time you try to find the information. So one night of sleep can affect your learning ability, memory and effective recall. The immune responses can also suffer from a lack of sleep. It has been demonstrated that vaccines are less effective when people get less sleep. There’s also an effect on autoimmunity, inadequate sleep in general makes your body rely more on the antibody part of the immune system. There’s just another part of the immune system called the innate immune system, which involves macrophages and other white blood cells that actually are on the level of removing certain types of bacteria or viruses just by engulfing them. This is called the innate response part of the immune system. Deep Sleep is also a time where your body can clear out waste and toxins. There’s a lot of studies that show that if you have an increased amount of toxins and inability to clear them out without enough deep sleep you may have an increased risk of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. Sleep deprivation has been also especially with hormonal changes, such as increasing cortisol are affecting the cortisol levels and that affecting our appetite. Usually, the desire is to consume high caloric foods. Insulin resistance is also increased, leading to increased risk of type two diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. People have considered Alzheimer’s is diabetes type three. So what are the factors that can affect not getting enough deep sleep? Obviously if you get less sleep, less than seven to nine hours or your sleep is fragmented, work in a shift working situation where you don’t have a stable set time for sleep and it’s always variable that could affect the amount of deep sleep that you have. Stress can also affect deep sleep. People that have schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease also have problems with deep sleep. Research has also been shown that people with memory problems, damage to the hippocampus in the brain, can also have less sleep as well. So in general, what are the things that we look for if someone might not be getting enough sleep? Obviously you feel unrefreshed. You feel drowsy when you’re waking up. There’s reduced attention and alertness. You have trouble remembering new things or forming new memories. And you might have some cravings for food. So how can you get better or more deep sleep? There’s the influence of exercise and we normally tell people to exercise fairly vigorously, 30 minutes at least in the mornings and to get up with the bright light hitting your suprachiasmatic nucleus signaling to your body to release cortisol and also setting your biological clock to orient with the sunlight. Reducing caffeine in the morning can also help because some people are more sensitive to caffeine and genetically can’t break it down as well. People with these problems can take caffeine in the afternoon and not be able to sleep at night. Of course there are fast metabolizers for caffeine and those are the people that actually can take caffeine just up to before going to sleep and it doesn’t affect them because they break down the caffeine in less than an hour. If you get exposure to blue lights, such as the computers or tablets or phones, usually after 7pm or so that can affect your quality sleep or getting to the appropriate level of stage three deep sleep. If you go to bed after 1030PM that’s also an effect as well, because the deepest part of the sleep where you want to release a lot of growth hormone occurs about 1:30am to 2am, but you won’t get to that level unless you get to be in bed by 10-10:30pm. Some things to try include taking a warm bath for an hour before bedtime. Certain foods with histamine such as sauerkraut, chocolate or leftover meats or fish especially eaten at night with a lot of histamine can cause problems in terms of getting sleep and should be avoided. You can also try different types of apps from Google Play Store or iTunes that have more relaxing tight tunes to be able to fall and drift off to sleep. Peptides, such as delta sleep inducing peptide, have been shown to improve quantity and quality of deep sleep. If there’s issues with sleep or question of whether you may have sleep apnea there’s certain types of at home investigative tools including watch Pat and other things that can help diagnose this condition or formal sleep study may be needed as well. So hopefully this enlightens you regarding deep sleep and why you should strive to get more deep sleep or at least adequate amounts of deep sleep for memory retention, learning, and to prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.  So for more information on functional health, our programs on cognitive improvement and optimization, you can contact us at, find us at and make an appointment, or you can call (925) 736-9828. We have helped 1000s of people in their journey of health and look forward to helping you as well. So take care and stay healthy.

Jeffrey Mark, M.D.

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