Queens is home to two authors who recently released their first book, Deep Sleep Naturally. It is available as an e-book, and is offered on Amazon, Goodreads, the authors’ website, and barnesandnoble.com. A hardback edition may follow in the near future.
The book was co-written by authors Dr. Mitchell Proffman and James Voketaitis. Proffman is a native of Bayside, Kew Gardens, and Forest Hills, and currently resides in Flushing, while Voketaitis is a native of Jackson Heights who makes his home in Forest Hills. The public had the opportunity to meet them last month at a lecture at Flushing Library. Dr. Proffman stated, “Our audience spanned ages 25 to 75. People were very motivated, and asked many questions about their sleep issues.”
Proffman, a graduate of New York Chiropractic College, is a holistic healer with three decades of experience. After extensively studying various methods of natural healing, he shared what he learned at university lectures, on television and radio and in health publications.
Voketaitis holds a master's degree in English literature from Queens College, and is an author, resume writer, and entrepreneur, as well as an English and creative writing professor. He also played a major role in three best-selling resume guide books, and now operates a resume and writing service.
As a graduate student, Voketaitis attended Proffman’s lecture on health and well-being at Queens College. Stress interfered with Proffman’s sleeping pattern, but his research and discoveries proved beneficial. Voketaitis could relate.
“While suffering from a pinched nerve, I became an insomniac who slept around three hours a night,” he said. “Dr. Proffman offered some tips. I began keeping a journal of my worries and concerns, as well as engaging in breathing techniques before bedtime. I felt relaxed, and as a result I slept seven hours straight.”
Not long after, Voketaitis visited Proffman for an adjustment, and they decided to write a book.
Early in his career, Proffman would lecture on “The 5 Pillars of Health,” referring to exercise, sleep, good diet, eliminating body aches, and maintaining positive thoughts. That evolved into three pillars, consisting of sleep, exercise, and nutrition, which then led to the sole pillar of sleep.
It is estimated that one-third of adult Americans do not experience quality sleep. Voketaitis and Proffman recommend going to sleep prior to midnight, establishing a routine, and adhering to a 7 ½ to 8 ½-hour plan.
“We have circadian rhythms, so when you are staying up until 2 a.m., you are throwing the internal biological clock off,” said Voketaitis, who added that napping is also recommended, ideally for 20 to 30 minutes between 2 and 3 p.m., but not in place of sleep.
Throughout their studies, the pair found that sleep deprivation could result in high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, cognitive impairment, and cancer.
“A lack of sleep will produce a hormone that triggers hunger,” said Proffman. “You may also crave carbs, and it will be nearly impossible to exercise, contributing to weight gain.”
Proffman recommended exercising twenty to thirty minutes in the morning to help people fall asleep 10 to 15 minutes faster, but emphasized that aerobic exercise after 6 p.m. can have an adverse effect.
Alcohol intake will also inhibit sleep.
“Many people are under the illusion that a little liquor will help them fall asleep, but as the night wears on, it will metabolize and may wake you up,” said Proffman.
“Make sure your bedroom is a sanctuary for sleep,” added Voketaitis. “You want to feel relaxed when you walk in.”
Some tips are de-cluttering, shielding natural light with dark curtains, and curtailing artificial light from phones and radios. An eye mask may prove beneficial. Many people fall asleep with the TV and computer on, but that should be eliminated.
“Whatever is on TV will slip into your unconscious, and that can linger in your brain,” said Proffman.
The ideal bedroom temperature is 67 to 69 degrees. A fan or a small air conditioner is recommended, since it produces white noise or a low-level hum that can improve the quality of one’s sleep. Another consideration is listening to a CD for meditation.
Some people use medications for a better night’s sleep, but that can have some severe side effects. “As a holistic practitioner, I found many affordable and natural remedies which worked quite well, but before taking supplements, check with your doctor,” said Proffman.
Some homeopathic products are Hyland’s Calms Forte, as well as Sleepytime Teas and Yogi Bedtime Teas. Chamomile and hibiscus are recommended herbal teas.
“Don’t have any caffeinated sources after noon, which includes chocolate, green tea, and black tea, since it could take seven to 10 hours for caffeine to leave your system,” said Proffman.
Learn more at deepsleepnaturally.com.