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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Guthrie Cardiovascular Center

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Guthrie Cardiovascular Center

Consistently ranked among the top 100 cardiovascular hospitals by Thomson Reuters, Guthrie cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, and vascular surgeons work together to ensure patients receive the most comprehensive care possible.

Offering cardiovascular care to the Twin Tiers for more than 40 years, Guthrie’s cardiac specialists and staff have offered the people of our region the most advanced diagnostic and therapeutic services possible, while earning national awards for quality and recognition for excellence.

Diagnostic & Non-Invasive Cardiology
Non-invasive cardiology includes all procedures that allow the cardiologist to obtain information about the heart without going through the skin or invading the body in any way. Many times these procedures are the first steps in evaluating a patient's condition. Guthrie provides diagnostic and non-invasive cardiology services, including multi-slice CT angiography, comprehensive mobile echocardiography services including stress echo, EKG, holter monitoring and nuclear stress testing to name a few.

Invasive & Interventional Cardiology
When non-invasive techniques don't provide all the answers, additional diagnostic procedures may be used to more clearly identify and treat cardiac problems. Within Guthrie’s Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories, invasive and interventional cardiologists offer subspecialty diagnostic and therapeutic services to evaluate and treat cardiac conditions without traditional surgery. Guthrie interventional cardiologists perform over 100 peripheral vascular interventions, such as carotid angioplasty and stenting, each year, with a 95% technical success rate.

Electrophysiology & Pacing
The heart's conduction system, the system that controls the rate and rhythm of the heartbeat, can develop problems that interfere with the heart's ability to function properly. Electrophysiology Laboratory team offers complete electrophysiology and pacing services for treatment of arrhythmias – from palpitations and syncope to atrial fibrillation to more specialized rhythm abnormalities.

Cardiac Surgery
Surgery plays an important role in a comprehensive cardiac program. Whatever the patient's needs, they can be met by the Guthrie’s cardiac surgery team. Guthrie’s Cardiac Surgery team provides a comprehensive scope of surgical procedures for the treatment of diseases of the heart and chest. Commonly treated conditions include ischemic heart disease, ventricular aneurysms, valve dysfunction, rheumatic heart disease, cardiac arrhythmia, trauma, cardiac tumors and infection.

Thoracic Surgery
Providing the advanced surgical techniques and oncologic therapies, thoracic surgery at Guthrie is dedicated to the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of non-cardiac diseases of the chest. We are able to apply the modern techniques of minimally invasive procedures including video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) to many disease processes for the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer and other chest diseases.

Vascular & Endovascular Surgery
Guthrie’s Department of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery offers a full spectrum of services – from life-saving procedures to repair ruptured aneurysms to elective procedures to prevent stroke, provide relief from claudication and address symptoms of venous disease. The latest therapies and minimally invasive endovascular treatment are offered by our experienced vascular team.

Interviews with Dr. Larson