Sleep Your Way To Stress Relief Naturally

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Story Updated: Feb 7, 2013

Did you know 1 in every 3 people aren't sleeping well? This leads to an irritable, agitated population that is quick to anger, slow to calm, and 'stressed out'!

We encourage you to take part in our 1-week challenge towards more peaceful sleep, resulting in a healthier, happier you. The following steps are mostly related to decreasing exposure to or calming the body's response to external stimuli, including electrical impulse interference. To participate, simply follow the steps below for 7 consecutive days/nights and let us know how it changes your life by posting a comment below.

1. Remove any fabrics from your bedroom that are not plant-based - yes, this means anything with any polyester or other synthetic content, even pillows or blankets! Replace them with natural fiber alternatives such as wool, cotton, hemp, or bamboo. This also applies to curtains located near your bed or the filling in pillows/mattress pads.

2. Remove or unplug all electronics from your bedroom, unless they are battery operated (turning them off is not enough, they must be unplugged to stop electricity flow from the outlet). Remove cell phones and computers from the bedroom; if you use your cell phone as an alarm clock, put your cell phone into airplane mode before going to bed.

3. Think about the position of your bed - is it located above/below a major electric appliance such as the fridge or tv? Is there a plug-in wall outlet behind your bed? Are there electronics plugged in on the other side of the wall from your bed? If so, try to maximize the distance between your bed positioning and those items and/or unplug those electric devices. (walls are invisible to electric currents and energy)

4. Make sure the room is completely dark with no lights from clocks, night lights, or windows. This is an important step in preparing your body for deep sleep! Also, if possible, spend the hour before bedtime in dim lighting to prepare your body for sleep.

5. Stretch your body gently for 10 minutes before bed and focus on deep breathing and relaxing your muscles, from your toes up each muscle to your scalp. The easiest way to accomplish this relaxation exercise is to focus on each body part, tense it, then release it completely, one-by-one. Make sure to maintain a balance to both sides of your body throughout the exercise (i.e. tense and release both feet at the same time, both thighs, both fists, etc).

6. Lay down on crisp, clean 100% cotton or bamboo sheets with no scent (any scent, even natural, can interfere with deep sleep).

7. To improve your sleep, make sure you're using the correct pillow. If you sleep on your stomach, use a soft 100% cotton fill pillow. If you sleep on your back, use a medium firmness. If you sleep on your side, use a hard/very firm pillow. It's also important to ensure your pillow is not filled with a synthetic fiber; we recommend one like this for the best night's sleep!

8. Allow yourself 7.5 or 9 hours for sleep....sleep cycles are 90 minutes in length and it is best to allow each cycle to complete before waking!

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Featured Professional
Dr. Dzwonczyk – Medical Director

Geriatric Medicine

NYS Veterans' Home at Oxford

Welcome to New York State Veterans' Home at Oxford
The New York State Veterans' Home at Oxford is a 242 bed facility located in Chenango County about thirty miles north of Binghamton NY. Situated on a sixty acre site, the Home has spectacular scenic views of rural countryland. We provide state of the art medical, nursing, psychosocial, and rehabilitative services to our residents. We also have several academic affiliations including the Upstate Medical Center College of Medicine/Clinical Campus at Binghamton.

About Us
The New York State Veterans' Home at Oxford is a long term care skilled nursing facility. We are located in Oxford NY, and we serve the Central New York Region. We provide care for veterans and their dependents. Our current building has 242 beds in seven different units, including our rehabilitation unit and our dementia unit. Our facility is clean and pleasant, and our staff is friendly and professional. We welcome you to a guided tour upon request!

Dr. Dzwonczyk – Medical Director

Dr. Dzwonczyk Receives Certification in Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

It is with great pleasure that we announce that Philip J. Dzwonczyk, MD has been certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Dr. Dzwonczyk joins more than nineteen hundred fellow physicians to have achieved such certification.

Hospice and palliative medicine is the medical discipline of the broad therapeutic model known as hospice and palliative care. The discipline and model of care are devoted to achieving the best possible quality of life for the patient and family throughout the course of a life-threatening illness through the relief of suffering and the control of symptoms. Hospice and palliative medicine helps the patient and family face the prospect of death assured that comfort will be a priority, values and decisions will be respected, spiritual and psychosocial needs will be addressed, practical support will be available and opportunities will exist for growth and development. Hospice in the United States is an organized program that provides palliative care for terminally ill patients and supportive services to patients, their families, and significant others.

Dr. Dzwonczyk is the medical director of the New York State Veterans Home in Oxford. He recently completed the Harvard Medical School Program in Palliative Care Education and Practice and has worked for many years as an internist and geriatrician practicing in central New York. Dr. Dzwonczyk received his undergraduate degree from the University of Scranton and his doctor of medicine degree from Jefferson Medical College. He trained in internal medicine and psychiatry at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and holds specialty certificates in Internal Medicine and Geriatric Medicine. He has achieved Certified Medical Director status from the American Medical Directors Association and is a Fellow of both the American College of Physicians and the American Geriatrics Society. Dr. Dzwonczyk has directed the medical care of patients at the New York State Veterans Home since 1993 and has been active as a medical educator. He is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Upstate Medical University and is active as a member of the faculty of the Geriatric Medicine Clerkship of the Clinical Campus in Binghamton. In addition to his interest in palliative care, Dr. Dzwonczyk has an interest in the evaluation and management of cognitive and mood disorders of the elderly.

The American Board of Hospice and Palliative Medicine was formed in 1995 to establish and measure the level of knowledge, attitudes and skills required for certification of physicians practicing hospice and palliative medicine. Eligibility requirements for certification are significant. In order to be eligible to sit for the certifying examination, applicants must have received prior major specialty certification, practiced at least two years following residency, worked as a member of an interdisciplinary team for at least two years and have directly participated in the active care of at least fifty terminally ill patients in the preceding three years. Alternatively, applicants must have completed specialty fellowship training in palliative medicine. The fellowship training program must be at least one year in length and must meet the established voluntary standards for such a program.

ABHPM conducts its Certification Examination in Hospice and Palliative Medicine annually at multiple sites through the United States. Currently, 1908 physicians have been certified by virtue of meeting certification requirements, including successful completion of this examination. A listing of currently certified physicians may be viewed on the Boards website at www.ABHPM.org.

Information on the American Board of Hospice and Palliative Medicine may be obtained from the website at www.ABHPM.org or by call (301) 439-8001.

Welcome to New York State Veterans' Home at Oxford