Webinar Replay:
Sleep: Restoration, Recovery,
& Regeneration

Before you watch this webinar…

Check out our introductory blog post + short video on Sleep: Restoration, Recovery, & Regeneration with Dr. Zach Bush.

Webinar Summary & Resources


Welcome + Thank You >

Broaden Your Relationship to Sleep >

The Importance of Sleep >

Deep Sleep is Vital for Health + Recovery >

How Much Sleep Do You Need? >

What Can You Do to Sleep Better? >

Sleeping Heart Rate is a Health Indicator >

What is the Best Way to Nap? >

Why do I Sleep 6-9 Hours yet Wake Up Tired? >

What about EMF’s and Sleep? >

Sleep + Spiritual Purpose >

Can CBD Help with Sleep? >

Sleep Support >

Welcome + Thank You

(0:00) Thank you all for making it possible to bring Dr. Cummings and his expertise to the team who is leading today’s lecture. This free education is to serve as a platform to the world, giving access to real science directly to the public.

(3:04) Dr. Bush explains that our journey is on purpose. We should not beat ourselves up when we miss sleep or exercise or nutrition. Sometimes, there is a deeper truth trying to reveal itself. He also shares his own story of why he is currently sleep-deprived and how it made space for an experience of awe.

If you are sleep deprived, if you are nutrient deprived, if you are socially deprived after months of quarantine and social distancing, I want you to know that nature is going to use that moment to show you something beautiful.

– Dr. Zach Bush

(7:35) Our perspective shifts when we are in an altered state, whether we’re experiencing depression, lack of sleep, lack of food. It’s important to approach these health fundamentals without chastising ourselves. Dr. Bush asks us to look broadly at our life choices and ask: What created this lifestyle? What could be rearranged? He recommends that sleep be the result of our health choices and not the focus itself. Imagine what the rest of the day would feel like after a good night’s rest and what the rest of the day would include when we approach our patterns for successful sleep.

I would encourage all of you to think broadly about your lifestyle today, as you start to imagine a future that would include deep sleep.

– Dr. Zach Bush

Broaden Your Relationship to Sleep

(10:18) Dr. Peter Cummings is a triple-board-certified neuropathologist and forensic pathologist, on a self-described mission to help people live better. He explains how he spent years watching people die of things that he believes could have easily been prevented with lifestyle changes. Dr. Cummings is also the CEO of a nonprofit focused on mental and physical health in kids.

We spend a lot of time in medicine focused on disease and illness and very little time focused on wellness.

– Dr. Peter Cummings

The Importance of Sleep

(14:46) Sleep is very mysterious in spite of the science and study around it. However, we do know that sleep is important to general health. There are a number of potentially fatal diseases and conditions that can develop from lack of sleep. Many of the things you do during the day directly affects your sleep at night. Today, we’ll learn about the sleep cycle, the stages of sleep, how poor sleep affects health, and things you can do to get better sleep.

Stage 1

Occurs just as you are falling asleep. It is considered light sleep and is short in duration. In this phase, your brain waves begin to slow down and your mind starts to disengage from the day’s activities. Physiologically, your heartbeat, breathing, and eye movements slow down.

Stage 2

A transition stage between light and deep sleep. In this phase, your body temperature begins to drop and the brain wave activity also continues to slow down.

Stage 3

We reach the period of deep sleep. This phase is vital to feeling rested in the morning. It is also necessary for the body to undergo its regenerative processes, recovery, and growth. Stage 3 plays a role in bolstering the immune system, and it is important for memory consolidation, emotional processing, creativity and insight. In deep sleep, the heartbeat and breathing are at their lowest rates and your muscles are at their maximal relaxation. If you’re disturbed while in this sleeping stage, it may be difficult to wake up.

Stage 4

What we call REM sleep. This phase first occurs about 90-minutes after falling asleep, and it’s called REM because of the rapid eye movements that happen during this stage. In this part of sleep, your brain wave activity increases, and this is when dreaming occurs. Each REM cycle during one night’s sleep increases in duration each time. While in REM, breathing and heart rate are at levels similar to waking; however, the muscles are temporarily paralyzed. As we age, we spend less time in REM sleep.

(21:49) We cycle through each of these stages 4-5 times throughout the night, depending on how long you sleep. The longer you are able to stay asleep, the more time you’ll spend in deep sleep, which is the most important part of this process. When sleep gets cut short, then the body’s regenerative processes are also cut short.

All the repair that happens in your body happens at sleep.

– Dr. Peter Cummings

Deep Sleep is Vital for Health + Recovery

(22:37) Many physiological changes occur when we’re asleep. While all stages of sleep are important, deep sleep is the most vital for brain health and brain function. Deep sleep helps the brain create and store new memories, and it improves the brain’s ability to collect and recall information. In this stage, the brain is able to recover from a day of thinking and replenish its energy. The deep phases of sleep also play a role in hormone balance. It is at this time that the pituitary gland secretes human growth hormone, which helps the body tissues grow and regenerate cells. For this reason, this stage of sleep is also called the healing phase because of the growth and tissue repair that happens at this time.

(23:26) Lack of sleep is associated with a number of serious and life-threatening conditions. If we don’t cycle through those stages of sleep in an appropriate way, there are many negative health consequences. We could experience issues with memory which could become chronic and lead to neurodegenerative diseases. We could have emotional issues such as depression, anxiety, or mood swings. Fragmented or disturbed sleep can also weaken the innate and adaptive immune systems. Poor sleep has also been associated with high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease; and it’s been linked to a risk factor for diabetes, weight gain, and low sex drive.

The negative effects of lack of sleep can be seen on every tissue in the human body.

– Dr. Peter Cummings

(25:31) Dr. Cummings explains that the metabolic rate drops about 15% during sleep, and the body goes into a fat-burning phase. Growth hormone peaks during our early repetitions of REM sleep; it helps build muscle and repair tissues. If we don’t have this peak in growth hormone, then the tissues will not regenerate. Cortisol peaks later in sleep; it elevates the blood glucose levels, getting you ready to wake up and have energy to move your body. When we don’t sleep well, these hormone patterns are altered. (29:14) Dr. Cummings shows a graph of the overnight hormone rhythms and the difference between them when we get good sleep or don’t.

(29:41) We see a number of diseases and negative health outcomes related to free cortisol, which can happen as a result of poor sleep. These include lowered immune function, increased blood pressure, belly fat, cardiovascular disease, chronic inflammation, memory loss, and cognitive decline. (30:21) The dysregulation of these hormones can also lead to problems with the sympathetic nervous system. We also see alcohol as another factor that can negatively affect sleep. Proper sleep also helps us moderate inflammation and recover. When someone is sleep deprived, it can heighten the inflammation and immune responses, which can lead to chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is a root cause for many diseases such as dementia, stroke, and heart disease. The longer someone goes without healthy sleep, the greater the inflammation in the body; and the more chronic the sleep deprivation, the more consequential the immune response damage.

(34:27) Decreased sleep also leads to glucose intolerance and insulin insufficiency. Both of these conditions have consequences on all of our organ systems beyond Type 2 Diabetes. Lack of sleep leaves deposited protein build up in the brain that can lead to cognitive impairments, dementias and vascular diseases. Many people with neurodegenerative disease also have sleep issues; and it is now becoming apparent that lack of sleep is a cause of the disease and not simply a consequence. (36:48) After one night of poor sleep, there are excess proteins present on the hippocampus. If someone then returns to good sleep, the body can clear these extra proteins. However, if the sleep loss becomes chronic, the proteins continue to accumulate on the hippocampus, which has negative consequences for memory. Inflammation is not only underlying neurodegenerative diseases but also neuropsychology issues such as depression and anxiety.

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

(38:03) About 15-25% of sleep time is spent in deep sleep. The average healthy adult gets 1-2 hours of deep sleep per 8 hours of nightly sleep. You have to go through all the stages of sleep without interruption. While all the stages of sleep are important, deep sleep is the most essential for feeling rested and staying healthy. If you’re sleeping 7-9 hours a night but still wake up tired, it could mean that you aren’t getting the right amount of deep sleep.

What Can You Do to Sleep Better?

(39:32) Dr. Cummings reminds us that how you sleep begins with how you wake up. Here are 10 recommendations he gives to help improve your quality of sleep.

  1. Establish regular sleep + wake times so you have a routine. This helps your body know what’s coming and to prepare accordingly.
  2. Limit alcohol and caffeine. If you drink caffeine, try not to drink any after 1pm. If you drink alcohol, definitely limit it in the few hours before bed. As alcohol metabolizes, it rebounds in your sympathetic nervous system and leads to sleep fragmentation. Alcohol is also a diuretic and leads to dehydration. You lose a lot of water from your system and water is very important for your tissues and overall health. Staying hydrated will help protect your sleep.
  3. Keep the bedroom cool. Cooler temperatures are more conducive for sleep.
  4. No screens in the hour or two before bed. The blue light affects the brain and your body’s overall ability to relax and can cause the release of excitatory neurotransmitters.
  5. Regular exercise can help improve the quality of sleep; however, try not to exercise in the couple hours before bed.
  6. A whole food, plant-based diet. Limit or avoid processed foods and incorporate organic, locally-grown food when possible.
  7. Watch what you eat before bed. If you have a big sugar intake before you go to bed, you alter the entire sleep process and the regenerative rhythms trying to happen in the sleep cycle. It’s also best to limit your eating in the hours before bed.
  8. Stay hydrated. When properly hydrated, we keep more water in our tissues and flush out metabolic waste. Dr. Cummings recommends drinking your weight in ounces each day, adding more if you exercise or drink alcohol.
  9. No work in the bedroom. Try to keep activities in the bedroom relegated to relaxation, sleep, and sex.
  10. Practice mindfulness + gratitude at the beginning and the end of the day.

Sleeping Heart Rate is a Health Indicator

(50:23) For decades, medical science has recognized resting heart rate as a strong indicator of overall health and predictor of negative health outcomes. It is most accurately measured when you first wake up in the morning. Higher resting heart rates have been associated with diseases such as dementia, heart disease, and metabolic dysfunction. Recent studies show that sleeping heart rate may actually be a better indicator of health and a more reliable predictor of negative health outcomes. If your sleeping heart rate is not getting down to a low value, it can indicate increased risk for the same diseases we would see with chronic sleep deprivation.

The pattern of the heart rate throughout sleep can also provide important information about health. Various altered sleeping heart rate patterns have been linked to impaired brain-heart regulatory connections in conditions such as depression and anxiety. These alterations in sleeping heart rate and pattern are strong indicators as to the quality of sleep.

Dr. Cummings shares 3 basic patterns of sleeping heart rate from his own life, measured with a wearable sleep tracker.

(55:40) Dr Cummings shares an app that shows the patterns of your sleep, duration, and overall sleep pattern or interruption. It also tracks the percentage of your sleep that was in deep sleep and the sleeping heart rate patterns. Wearable devices can help measure your daily habits and show how they affect sleep at night. When you measure this data, it’s important to remember not to fixate on undesired results. Treat it as an opportunity to create awareness and engage more consciously with your life.

What is the Best Way to Nap?

(1:01:16) Due to the timing of sleep cycles, the 20-minute power nap is the best nap so that you can feel rested afterwards and wake up alert. After about 30-minutes, your body begins to enter deeper sleep cycles, which will make it more challenging to get up and function afterwards. However, a 90-minute nap could allow you to go through a full sleep cycle.

Why do I Sleep 6-9 Hours yet Wake Up Tired?

(1:04:33) Dr. Bush explains that sleep is one of the most complex things the brain does, and it is also one of the first things to diminish as we age. Aging is the result of dehydration and a breakdown in intracellular communication. Together, these can contribute to fragmented sleep. So a question to ask behind this is: can we address the basic contributors to aging, which are hydration and facilitation of facilitating cell-to-cell communication?

Aside from this broader question, there are likely two reasons you wake up tired after sleeping 6-9 hours. Firstly, you could be waking up in the wrong stage of sleep. If you wake up in a phase of deep sleep, it will feel very hard to wake up and get moving. If you wake up in REM, however, it’s actually quite easy to get up and get into your day. Another possibility is that while you are getting enough hours of sleep, you may not be getting enough deep sleep within that. It could be the result of getting too much REM and not enough restorative sleep. Dr. Bush recommends playing with the times that you get up and go to bed and observe how you feel. He also suggests avoiding white light in the evening and wearing blue-light blocking glasses.

What about EMF’s and Sleep?

(1:16:26) In Dr. Bush’s practice, women ages 35-55 are the most sensitive to EMF’s. If you’re EMF-sensitive, it could signal propensity for chronic fatigue syndromes, chronic pain syndromes, and autoimmune conditions because what’s happening in electromagnetic field exposure is similar to inflammation. (1:18:09) Simply put, inflammation disrupts the wave forms at which our electromagnetic field resonates. It’s important to consider all the things that are influencing your environment, instead of isolating what problem or issues as if it isn’t connected to other things around you.

Grounding is a great way to reduce the EMF around you. Grounding neutralizes the inflammatory cascades within your body as well as any externally approaching EMF. When you ground the skin, it creates a protective field against EMF. Dr. Bush suggests going barefoot when you can to ground yourself instantly. You can also purchase grounding sheets for your bed at night.

You can stop 5G at the skin by grounding.

– Dr. Peter Cummings

Sleep + Spiritual Purpose

(1:23:29) Sleep and the sense of self comes down to how clear you can get the signal. Dr. Bush describes the body as essentially a column of water. When this column is resonating at its clearest signal, then your own sense of self is very clear. Things like inflammation, internal and external stressors, and fear create static and interference with this clear signalling of who you truly are. So when we’re evaluating sleep and self-identity, it really comes down to: how clearly can you hear yourself?

Dr. Cummings reminds us that participating in our life is just as important as quality of sleep. Evaluating our sleep should be a practice of awareness instead of something to beat ourselves up over or obsess over. We are here on Earth with each other for a short period of time. It’s important to prioritize our relationships with friends and family, even when that means we won’t get a good night’s sleep that night.

Can CBD Help with Sleep?

(1:27:16) Dr. Cummings explains that CBD can be helpful for people having trouble sleeping. However, it is an emerging industry so be sure to research what you’re buying, where the product is coming from and get it in a medicinal grade, if possible.

Dr. Bush explains how long-term cannabis use can disrupt our hunger and satiety centers within the body, and CBD interplays significantly with our pain center. If you’re on a pharmaceutical drug for sleep, there is a high likelihood that you have developed severely disordered sleep. Many of these drugs steal REM from you, which results in memory loss, disrupts your stress-coping mechanisms and ability to process emotions. Dr. Bush’s preference is to find the lowest impact, preferably whole food sources to support sleep that can move you towards the greater goal of good sleep without substance band-aids. He also recommends supplements that are herbal and keep the whole plant intact.

Sleep Support

(1:36:00) If you would like more support in getting holistic sleep, join us for Biology Base Camp either in a group or in a one-on-one setting. You can also find more individualized support through the M Clinic.

Be empowered to know that you not only know what your problem is, you know the solution to your problem. And you may have to listen deeply.

– Dr. Zach Bush

Dr. Bush exonerates us to listen deeply and to ground so that we can listen to our own resonance, perhaps for the first time. This way we can learn why we are here and what we are here to do.

Part of your ordained reason for being here was to be on whatever physiologic journey you’re on. You are on your right mission. You are taking every next step correctly.

– Dr. Zach Bush

Our goal with this Global Health Education is to dive deeper into the foundations of biologic health so that we can relearn these behaviors, live better and live into our individual and collective purpose.

When we connect deeply and in shared purpose, we create a hyperintelligence.

– Dr. Zach Bush


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