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Sleep…Beyond Counting Sheep

There’s nothing quite like a good night’s sleep…and awakening to the promise of a new day! But these days, getting a good night’s sleep seems to be more elusive than ever.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three Americans routinely do not get enough sleep.1 A lack of sleep can contribute to health issues such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and impaired memory.2Therefore, lack of sleep is a true public health crisis. The Rand Corporation published a study reporting over $400 billion loss to US companies annually due to employees’ lack of sleep.3 So why is our nation sleep-deprived and what can we do to be better sleepers?

Falling asleep should be one of the easiest tasks for us to accomplish, right? Yet many of us cannot do it well, nor on a consistent basis. How can we improve “sleep hygiene,” or healthy sleep habits? Happily, most of the practices that promote sound sleep are under our control! Here’s what you need to know:

A Consistent Schedule Matters: Humans have a circadian rhythm, which means we follow a day/night cycle of approximately 24 hours. That being said, the more consistently we manage our sleep/wake cycles, the better. Try to get to bed at the same time most evenings and awaken at approximately the same time each morning. Resist the temptation to stay up very late or sleep in, even on weekends or days off. By staying consistent with your cycle, your body will have an established routine.

Age Makes a Difference: Aging presents issues with regard to sleep, with many people waking up more frequently and have a harder time getting back to sleep as they get older. This could be due to a variety of reasons, including less time spent in a deep sleep, the need to urinate during the night, anxiety, or discomfort from pain or chronic illness.4

Avoid Substances and Meals that can Interrupt Your Sleep: Be judicious about using substances such as alcohol, tobacco and caffeine. These chemicals can stay in our systems for up to 14 hours and disturb sleep. On that note, a large, heavy meal can be difficult to digest close to bedtime and interfere with sleep.

Stress Plays a Role: Stress…who doesn’t have it? A stressful day flows into the evening and you can’t relax. Besides your brain being preoccupied, stress cause the body to release the stress hormone cortisol which promotes increased alertness.

Medical Conditions can Make an Impact: A variety of medical issues can also keep you from sleeping well. More than just annoying snoring, sleep apnea is a dangerous condition where you can have decreased breathing, changes in vital signs and startle yourself into wakefulness. Oftentimes Restless Leg Syndrome may accompany sleep apnea. If you or your partner snore, have a sleep study performed by a specialist and follow the recommended treatment. Chronic insomnia interferes with your body’s restorative sleep and can have deleterious health effects on the brain and body as well.

So, how can you overcome these issues and catch your zzzzzzzzzz?

Try to Respect Your Circadian Rhythm: Establish a consistent bedtime and wake up time and stick to it. Keep your bedroom as dark as possible with room darkening shades, blinds or use a sleep mask. Avoid lights from electronics in the bedroom. Keep your bedroom cool with the use of a fan, or by opening a window and turning down the furnace. Foam earplugs can reduce noises surprisingly well. Some swear by white noise machines available at most department or electronics stores. Don’t underestimate the benefits of a comfortable, supportive mattress, pillows and blankets. Make a rule that you won’t eat, watch TV or pull out your phone/laptop to do work in bed.

Limit Fluids After Dinner as much as Possible: Have that last coffee at lunch or switch to an evening decaf. Some feel that a “nightcap” alcoholic drink will relax them for sleep. Initially, alcohol will make one feel sleepy, but then it will actually disturb your sleep.

Have a Bedtime Ritual (like when you were a child): I often share this information with my patients who are just home from the hospital, may have pain, are off their routine, have stress and concerns. Take a warm bath or shower if possible, perform some relaxation techniques such as tensing and relaxing muscles, or do some deep breathing. Try reading for a short time. Enjoy a small glass of milk and a light carbohydrate snack. A very effective technique I employ is to keep a pad of paper and a pen on my nightstand. I journal about ideas, concerns and worries. Then I put them aside. I have taken everything off my mind and put it down on paper where I know it will be waiting for me in the morning.

Exercise: With regard to exercise and fitness, those who have a regular fitness routine fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. However, try to exercise earlier in the day or at least 3-4 hours before bedtime.

Napping: Short “cat naps” of 20-30 minutes are fine if needed. They can refresh you. Anything longer can make you feel groggy and interfere with your nighttime sleep.
Sweet Dreams!

These days there are high tech mattresses, gadgets, apps, fancy pillows that monitor sleep cycles, sensors and sleep tracking watches available to help you get to sleep and measure your sleep performance. None of these devices come cheap. I would argue that for most people, following the ideas discussed above and taking a do-it-yourself approach to improving your sleep works best. Of course, if sleep problems persist, see your health care provider for help.

If you have more questions about this or any other health issue, please contact us, and try Physical Therapy FIRST! We would be glad to help.

Westminster

Hours:
Monday-Thursday 7:00 am-7:00 pm
Friday 7:00 am-6:00 pm

Alex Ashworth, PT, DPT, ATC, Cert. DN

Why am I a PT?

Alex has always enjoyed the many roles that a physical therapist gets to play in the rehabilitative process. “I believe that we have a unique opportunity to help those hurting, not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually.” As your therapist Alex prides himself on treating you as a person, and not just an injury. “I think as a healthcare provider I have a duty to help the patient to do or be whatever they want to be, not to set limitations or discourage them from their goals.”

Continuing Education Commitment

Alex currently holds the Certification in Dry Needling from the American Academy of Manipulative Therapy. He plans to continue with the AAMT to obtain the Certification in Spinal and extremity Manipulation. Alex believes that the more advanced education your providers can practice, the better it will serve the patient. Look for him to constantly evaluate the need of the community he serves to provide the best care.

Professional and Community Activities

Alex is active in the physical therapy community as Clinical Instructor to students from Physical Therapy programs all across the country. He also works as a lab instructor for Dry Needling courses. Locally he is working to get more involved in community outreach and providing education and Physical Therapy consultations/services at local athletic events.

About Alex

Alex is originally from the Atlanta, GA area, but went to school in southeast Georgia. He moved to North Carolina for Physical Therapy School in 2011. He was able to use his clinical rotations to see new areas of the Southeast, including Wilmington, NC and Nashville, TN. Finally, he landed in the Denver area for his final internship of school where he fell in love with two things. Colorado and his now wife, Ashley. He and Ashley live in Arvada with their two dogs, Hank and Ernie, with a baby boy arriving November of 2017. Alex has learned to snowboard during his time here and has been able to hike a few 14ers. As an avid craft beer drinker, he fits right in here in Colorado!

Linda Kinzeler, PT

Why am I a PT?

Linda has enjoyed a life time of dedication to her professional role as a PT. Her initial interest in PT began as a basic desire to improve the quality of life of others. As her career has progressed and developed through the years, her professional and personal life experiences have created a genuine insight into a balance of age appropriate treatment of physical dysfunction and the emotional needs of her clients.

Continuing Education Commitment

Linda has an extension resume of yearly continuing education classes encompassing a variety of treatment techniques and approaches. Her areas of expertise are feet/orthotics and dry needling.

About Linda

Linda has been practicing as a licensed PT for over 40 years primarily in an outpatient orthopedic setting. After graduating from the University of Illinois Medical School, she worked in a hospital setting for a few years in her home town of Elgin, Illinois. During a trip to Colorado, the mountains and life style enticed her to extend her vacation and that was 40 years ago. It has been a rather long vacation! Linda is an avid hiker, biker, cross country skier, kayaker and camper. Her other interests include yoga and reading.

Lakewood

Hours:
Monday-Thursday 7:00 am-7:00 pm
Friday 7:00 am-6:00 pm

Katie Aaron, PT, DPT, OCS, Clinic Director

Specialties:  Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy, Trigger Point Dry Needling Practitioner, Sports, Orthopedic and Running injuries

Treatment Philosophy:  I have personally gone through a few surgeries, been out with overuse injuries, stitches and other things.  I know how it can affect your lifestyle when the things you love to do are taken out.  I take great pride in working together to find a treatment strategy/intervention (as there is never a one-size-fits-all model) for you that will help you get back to the reason we live in the great state of Colorado and everything you enjoy doing.

Education:  I attended Colorado State University, Fort Collins where I studied Health and Exercise Science and graduated in 2010.  Afterwords I attended Regis University in Denver to obtain my Doctorate in Physical therapy in 2013.  Since then I have been specializing in sports medicine and worked to obtain my specialty in Orthopedic Physical therapy (OCS) in 2016.

For fun: Every weekend is spent mountain biking or trail running, skiing or snowboarding and any other fun adventures my boyfriend and I find for us and our two canine companions.

Cindy Molina, PT, MSPT, CMPT

Specialties: Certified Manual Physical Therapist, Trigger Point Dry Needling Practitioner, Functional Movement Screen Certified

Treatment Philosophy: I enjoy being able to spend one-on-one time with a patient to thoroughly discuss their impairments and be able to explain the anatomy of their problem. I appreciate explaining the relevance of their specific treatment plan to their problem. I believe that patient education is the foundation of the rehabilitation process.

Education: Cindy received her bachelor of science degree in therapeutic recreation from the University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse. She received her master of science degree in physical therapy from Texas Woman’s University in 2001. She obtained her manual therapy certification from the North American Institute of Orthopedic Manual Therapy in 2009, passing her practical exam with distinction.

For Fun: Cindy is an avid outdoors person. She spends her time hiking, biking, backpacking, gardening, snow shoeing and traveling. She also enjoys reading when not outside playing.

Reed Brandenburg, PT, DPT

Specialties: Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Treatment Philosophy: I enjoy helping patients achieve their own personal goals, whether that is to be able to have no pain through the workday, to work in their garden, or to return to running marathons.

Education: Reed received his B.S. in Exercise Physiology from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. During that time he also worked as a certified personal trainer at Baylor’s Recreation Center. One year after graduating from Baylor, he moved to San Angelo, Texas for 3 years and received his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Angelo State University. While in his last year of graduate school, he also received his Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist certification from the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

For Fun: Reed loves just about anything outdoors. A typical weekend will usually involve either running or road biking, hiking up in the mountains, or skiing. Reed also loves coffee. If he’s not outside, he is probably sitting and reading at a Denver coffee shop with friends.

Stefan Riemens, PT, DPT

Specialties: Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy

Treatment Philosophy: Manual therapy combined with targeted exercise encompasses the majority of my treatment style. Evidence-based practice remains my pursuit as I work together with patients of all ages in finding a plan of care that produces the greatest functional outcomes and results. In order to make incremental progress, we’ll work as a team to empower you to take control of your health and well-being on the road to recovery.

Education: I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Human Biology from the University of Montana – Missoula in 2016 and pursued my Doctorate in Physical Therapy at the University of Colorado – Anschutz Medical Campus immediately afterwards. I graduated in 2018 and hope to continue specializations in Orthopedic and Sports-related pathologies within the next three years. I will also be working on becoming a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist in the near future.

For Fun: I enjoy all the outdoor activity opportunities Denver and Colorado have to offer. That’s what makes it such a joy to live here. Hiking, biking, skiing, climbing, fishing, game nights with friends and weightlifting are all valuable pass-times on the weekends. A good brew or some red wine are always great additions to a non-fiction novel. It’s just about finding the work-life balance we all seek.

Luke Sugg, PTA, Licensed Physical Therapy Assistant

Specialties: Functional Manual Therapy, Core first strategies

Treatment Philosophy: Luke thoroughly enjoys Physical Therapy and having the opportunity to heal patients ailments. He has first hand knowledge recovering from an injury with the help from Physical Therapy. Connecting with each individual, and promoting the highest human performance and enhancing overall body mobility, retraining movements to the entire body helping each patient get their quality of life back.

Education: Luke received his Associate’s of Occupational Science degree as a Physical Therapist Assistant in 2012 at PIMA Medical Institute in Denver, Colorado. He enjoys growing as a manual therapist through manual therapy courses through the Institute of Physical Art, looking towards pursuing FOC certification.

For Fun: Luke being a Colorado native from Boulder enjoys being outside and being involved in activities whether on water or land. He has a passion for baseball and all sports, loves being around the atmosphere that games have to offer. Go Buffs!

Kodi Barker, MT, Certified Therapeutic Massage Therapist

Specialties: Registered Massage Therapist with certifications in Neuromuscular Therapy, Cranial-Sacral Therapy, Lymphatic Drainage Massage, Pre-natal and Post-natal massage, Trigger point Therapy, Deep Tissue and Sports Massage

Treatment Philosophy: I believe that massage therapy can help improve overall wellness by relieving pain, improving ease of movement and relieving emotional stress. I create a personalized session for each individual, drawing from many different modalities of massage.

Education: My passion for improving wellness began with my own experiences dealing with the chronic pain of scoliosis as a teenager. Massage and physical therapy helped me avoid corrective surgery on my spine. After 10 years of working in the medical field, I realized my true passion was a more hands-on approach to wellness in the form of massage therapy. I received my Associates of Applied Science Degree in Massage Therapy in 2012 from the Colorado School of Healing Arts. I am certified in neuromuscular therapy, myofascial release, Cranial- sacral, lymphatic drainage, pre and postnatal massage. I have focused my continuing education on sports massage and structural integration.

For Fun: When not doing massage, I enjoy spending time with my daughter Paris and my family. My favorite pastimes are trail running, rollerblading, dancing and yoga. I enjoy trying new activities to challenge my mind and body, currently I am learning kickboxing and will be trying roller derby soon.

Jeff Lipkin, PT, DPT, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Partner/Owner

Specialties: Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy, Trigger Point Dry Needling Practitioner, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Treatment Philosophy: I like to see patients return to their personal goals and activities without pain. I enjoy treating patients in a relaxed and comfortable setting. I am very passionate about the PT profession and want to see physical therapists meet the needs of patient’s musculoskeletal problems.

Education: Jeff received his B.S. in Exercise and Sports Science from the University of Delaware. He then received his doctorate of physical therapy from the University of Pittsburgh in 2005. He has stayed updated with his education through advanced manual therapy courses and exercise prescription continuing education.

For Fun: Jeff enjoys keeping himself healthy to set a good example for his patients. His summer activities include mountain biking and charity road bike rides. During the winter, he can be found skiing at Copper Mountain or snowshoeing.

Longmont

Hours:
Monday-Friday 7:00 am-6:00 pm

Services

  • Orthopedic Rehabilitation
  • Blood Flow Restriction Therapy
  • Pre- & Post-Operative Care
  • Dry Needling
  • Golf Swing Analysis
  • Spinal Manipulation
  • Sports Medicine
  • Sports Performance Training
  • Whole Body Vibration
  • Work Injury Rehabilitation

Brad Grgurich, PT, DPT, Clinic Director

A native of Pennsylvania, Brad has been living and working in Colorado since 2011. After receiving his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of St. Augustine, Brad has been striving to further his education in the areas of manual therapies including spinal manipulation, functional dry needling, functional movement assessments, golf rehabilitation and the use of blood flow restriction to aid his patient’s in their quest for improved quality of life. As an avid golfer, runner and a person who loves to be active, Brad understands how movement can positively impact a person’s well-being and looks forward to working with you to get back to doing what you love.