The Importance of Sleep
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

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For Slater, it was a respiratory ailment that affected his ability to get proper amounts of sleep. After more than 18 years of coping and rigorous self-advocacy, several months ago his condition was diagnosed as Aspirin Exacerbated Respiratory Disorder, a rare allergy triggered by any item that contains aspirin or aspartame. The condition ranks among the growing number of invisible disabilities that encompasses environment-based respiratory illnesses. “Diet and exercise are key components but so is maintaining emotional balance and well-being,” Slater says of managing his health. He uses salt room therapies to clear his breathing passage, meditates, and practices deep breathing exercises. “I start each morning with gratitude and awareness for what I have and I don’t take more than I can handle in a given day. The organizations and people I work with must be synergistically positive and progressive.”

Park agrees that mental and emotional feelings play a role in managing sleep challenges. In treating patients, he looks at the complete picture and analyzes a number of potential contributing factors including stresses, thought process, and patterns of behavior. Treatment integrates traditional and non-traditional methods, such as Chinese medicine, acupuncture, deep breathing, yoga, and meditative exercises to calm the nervous system.

Treatments and Recommendations
Sufferers have used a variety of popular methods such a melatonin or natural, homeopathic, or supplemental treatments, all of which a have varying degrees of success. Sleeping pills are a popular solution. They are also one of the most prescribed pharmaceutical drugs in the U.S. But in a recent study, they have been found to cause early death for users. Park points out that having insomnia itself, minus the added danger of prescription medication, increases one’s chance of dying. He explains, “Short/long sleepers, that is patients with too short or too long sleep length, have higher rates of negative health consequence such as depression, diabetes, heart disease, and other underlying conditions.”

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