I’m Dr. David Shirazi, a dentist and acupuncturist, focusing on pain and sleep disorders in the greater Los Angeles area. With our focus in the news today about the importance of social distancing and hand washing, I want to add to that by mentioning the importance of sleep for our immune system.
We have many stages of our sleep and they cycle 4-6 times every single time we sleep. To ensure that we are getting a full complement of all the cycles, it is recommended that we go to sleep at the same time every night, well before midnight, and sleep for a minimum of 7-8 hours. A dark and slightly cool room is preferred, as well as a very quiet room. Please keep this area sacred, as in only used for sleeping or sexual activity and not for eating or having “family discussions” of any sort.
Now, within those cycles we have two critical stages of sleep I want to discuss today – REM stage and Delta stage.
REM and Delta – Sleep Stages
REM, as we know, stands for Rapid Eye Movement, so called as our eyes go into a rhythmic ‘dance’ in synchrony as our brains are in the theta wavelength. This stage is very important for memory consolidation, processing thoughts and processing our EMOTIONS. This is very important in a time of stress or even crisis. If we can’t work on processing our emotions then the stress itself can work against us to stop us from getting to sleep and staying asleep. When, and if, this happens we then will have reduced amounts of the other stage of sleep we are discussing called ‘Delta’.
The Delta stage is where roughly 90% of our growth hormone is made within our own bodies. For children growing (they get extra lengthy stages of Delta BTW) they use this growth hormone to grow physically. But, when we have reached our growing potential(s) in our adulthood, then the growth hormone is used for the actual repair of our physical body including our immune system and physiological functions.
We get nearly all the human growth hormone in our entire lives from one stage of sleep, in each cycle. And we absolutely need this stage for not only our immune system but for any of the bumps and bruises we get from every day life and even repair needed after a workout!
I cannot overstate this enough. We get nearly all the human growth hormone in our entire lives from one stage of sleep, in each cycle. And we absolutely need this stage for not only our immune system but for any of the bumps and bruises we get from every day life and even repair needed after a workout! For patients that have either snoring or sleep apnea, or even have a partner that does, the sounds themselves can kick us out of the deep stages of sleep that we need, ie: REM and Delta.
To recap – A good night’s rest will need:
Go to sleep at the same time every night
Getting 7-9 hours of sleep
A dark room
A cool space
No interruptions in our sleep
A room designated for only sleep and sex and nothing else
A quiet space for ourselves and our bed partners
I hope this information has been helpful!