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I also recognized that what my patients were sleeping on structurally was not working. All too often, I identified that my patient's spinal issues had to do with inferiority of the mattress and/or pillows they were sleeping on. In addition, one of my patients had the simple complaint that, for unknown reasons, he wasn't sleeping.

My daily frustration quickly grew into a struggle in helping my patients find solutions and resources to help them sleep better. My not knowing what to recommend, combined with my need to understand how to recommend, fueled a fury of research. And after more than a decade, I've found the information sources that explained what's really happening. I've connected the dots, and what I've concluded is startling.

Startling Sleep Facts

To begin with, what we don't know about sleep is having a profound effect on our health and wellness, both personally and professionally. Sleep issues have become a major health concern in the United States. Surprisingly, the products we're sleeping on here are not regulated for material safety. Furthermore, mattress manufacturers are not required to list all the materials. It was in the 1950s when mattress manufacturers moved away from using cotton for comfort to synthetic foams. These foams off-gas noxious fumes, many of which are known carcinogens and quickly degrade, which leads to failure in providing proper alignment support for the back.

In 2007, the federal government mandated that all mattress manufacturers use a fire retardant. The downfall to this requirement is that the most cost-effective fire retardants / fire blockers are liquid sprays that often contain boric acid and PCDEs, which are both known carcinogens. And most people in the U.S. sleep on these materials every night for six to eight hours. I often question if this exposure is linked to the increase in diseases that are environmentally linked.

The facts make it clear that there is a major health problem regarding sleep:

  • 70 million people suffer from sleep-related pain.
  • We are sleeping 30 percent less than our parents did.
  • There were 60 million sleeping aid prescriptions written last year alone.
  • One-in-five people has a sleep disorder.
  • Ninety-five percent of people who have a sleep disorder will go undiagnosed.

In doing this research, I have concluded that patients are frequently confused about sleep and that the health care system fails to provide a "go to" resource (aka, a health practitioner). MDs prescribe sleep medication or even recommend that patients participate in overnight sleep studies, some of which lead to a CPAP machine. Neither encourages deep, healing or REM-level sleep, both of which are vital to good health.

I made the decision that between my years of research, my growing understanding of sleep and the critical importance of achieving quality sleep, and the lack of resources available to my patients with insomnia-related pain or unexplained insomnia issues, that I should add sleep wellness care to my practice. Here's how I went about it.

Research and Facts

Adding sleep wellness care to my clinic was more difficult than it appeared. The retail mattress companies don't share much information about what materials their products are made with and which fire blocker they are using. And although there is general agreement that sleep is important, the resources aren't as ample as one might expect. After a lot of searching, I was finally able to find information sources for these and other important sleep issues. This is a more complex topic than one would think, and there's a tremendous amount to learn when it comes to all of the dimensions of healthy, deep-healing sleep.

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