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sleep, sleep health, soda kuczkowski, sleep education, integrative health

Hi. My name is Soda, I am the founder of START WITH SLEEP and I LOVE sleep! I love how you feel after a really good night’s rest. I love waking up feeling rested and energized, but my favorite thing about sleep is sharing education on strategies to help others sleep better as well! You know the nights we only appreciate when sleep eludes us? We get a bad night’s rest and suddenly everything turns chaotic. We have all been there. You sleep horribly, you beg for 5 more minutes to hold on to the comfort of the bed you spent all night tossing and turning in that now suddenly seems like the holy grail of happiness. Our relationship with sleep can be complicated, but it is important. We need it. It does wonders for our body, mind and spirit. It decides if we are going to have a good day filled with positive thoughts or a straight sh*t one filled with losing our keys, having a fender bender and yes depending on our beloved large cup of coffee to even start the day. See where I am going here? Why is it that when we don’t sleep well it all really does fall apart? Let’s talk about it.

Now don't mistake my optimism about how awesome sleep is make you believe that it will always be easy, but when you understand how and why sleep works and ways to maximize it, the commitment it takes is worth it. For as much as I love sleep, it hasn't always been easy for me either. There are many factors both behavioral and medical that can interfere with our sleep. Our patterns of sleep changes as we age and with life changes - the birth of my daughter, now 3 and my diagnosis of hypothyroidism threw my sleep for a curve but with the right tools and hitting the reset button when needed, I manage to keep my sleep on track and get the ZZZ's I need that are right for me. My sweet spot? 7 hours and 16 minutes, anything more or less is too much or too little. There is a formula for figuring out your sleep need, that is what sleep health is all about.

I am a sleep health educator. What exactly is it? Never heard of it? It’s fairly new, at least the term is. It has become mainstream because the Center for Disease Control and Prevention just released a report stating that 1 in 3 Americans doesn’t get the recommended amount of sleep. Specifically, that nearly 40% of the population is sleep deprived! Sleep deprivation being the build up of lack of sleep over a span of 3 months or more. That means that either night after night we do not sleep enough hours or that the quality of our sleep is not where it should be; therefore it is not serving to restore our bodies and our brains as we need it too. Why should we care about sleep? I mean the badge of honor is that sleep is for the weak and that you only get one life, so sleep less and party more right? Wrong.

Sleep, quality sleep, not only has the ability to prolong your life and do amazing things like ward off disease but it also makes you look younger, gives you more energy as it serves as a source for energy conservation but it also serves to remove neurotoxins from the brain. What does that equal? That means it helps us formulate and store memories, it can prevent the onset of dementia and alzheimer’s disease. Sleep is the rock star pillar of the 3, the other 2 of course being nutrition and fitness but here is the thing; Do you know why sleep should always be #1? When we sleep terribly we aren’t motivated to exercise or we hurt ourselves. When we sleep horribly, we make bad choices, we load up with caffeine, grab a donut for breakfast and down whatever carbs get caught in our way. We do this because the body’s natural production of hormones that regulate hunger are thrown off when it doesn’t get proper rest. We should in fact be eating and exercise to promote good sleep. They work as a support for sleep as it is the most effective tool in managing our overall health.

So again I am a sleep health educator, that means that whether you need help falling asleep, staying asleep or wanting to get that great night of sleep that makes you feel like you can take on the world, I can help get you there. Sleep is a very personal thing. Despite the recommendations, how you feel when you wake up tells you everything you need to know. Your bedtime routine, sleep schedule and day to day lifestyle choices play a huge factor in determining whether you will sleep well. Dr. Rubin Naiman said it best, “If there is a secret to a good night’s rest, it is a good day’s waking. By reflecting on the quality of our waking lives we can see how intricately how sleep mediates our experience of, well… everything”.

Sleep tips are great! They give you a baseline on where to look and what could be going on, but here is the thing, everyone is different. What works for me doesn’t work for you, do you know why? Physiology. We all need different things because we all like different things, react differently and most importantly think differently. The power of thought has a huge impact on if we are able to relax our mind to get to a place where we are ready to say goodbye to one day and turn in early enough to feel recharged for the next. Sleep is the key to not only health but happiness. Like I said sleep solves everything, it can set you on the right path if you let it.











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