April 01 2010Almost everyone has times where it is difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Stress, time zone changes, daylight and aging are just a few of the common causes of insomnia and sleeplessness. To help improve your sleep, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) invited nationally recognized stress management expert and filmmaker Brian Luke Seaward, PhD, to share some practical tools about how to get a good night’s sleep at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 13, at Centennial Hall. Dr. Seaward also will show his new film, “Earth Songs: Mountains, Water and the Healing Power of Nature,” at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 14, at the Gold Town Nickelodeon. Dr. Seaward is an award-winning author, photographer, teacher, film director/producer and much-sought-after inspirational speaker. He has given stress management, relaxation and meditation workshops to White House staff, Olympic athletes, several heads of state and major corporations. He also has taught several thousand university students and he is a regular presenter at national health and wellness conferences. Dr. Seaward’s Juneau presentations are sponsored by the SEARHC Health Promotion, Diabetes and Lifestyle Balance prediabetes programs. “We frequently have patients of all ages tell us they have difficulty sleeping,” SEARHC Juneau Health Promotion Director Stephanie Zidek-Chandler said. “Getting a good night’s sleep is a critical component of wellness. Research shows that lack of sleep can have unhealthy effects on diabetes, heart health, our immune systems, and it certainly decreases our quality of life. We are very excited about having Dr. Seaward in Juneau to share his expertise.” Dr. Seaward will give his free 90-minute presentation, “A Good Night’s Sleep: Sleep and Insomnia,” on Tuesday. This presentation outlines the three categories of insomnia (transient, intermittent and chronic), the stress-prone behaviors that contribute to poor sleep quality and poor sleep hygiene, and several suggestions to improve the quality of one’s sleep. Two relaxation techniques will be demonstrated and taught at the end of the session. “Over 50 percent of Americans claim to suffer from poor quality of sleep,” Dr. Seaward said. “Stress is ubiquitous in the work setting and one of the most common symptoms of stress is insomnia. Current research from the National Sleep Foundation suggests over 60 percent of Americans suffer from insomnia each year. This epidemic is expected to increase dramatically in the coming years. Poor quality of sleep translates into poor work habits, poor communications skills, performance deficits and compromised health, especially in the immune system.” On Wednesday, Dr. Seaward will show his movie “Earth Songs: Mountains, Water and the Healing Power of Nature.” A question-and-answer session follows the free film. “Earth Songs” combines stunning visual footage, including some footage from Sitka and other parts of Southeast Alaska, with an instrumental musical score and narration by actor Michael York. For more information on the presentations, contact Stephanie Zidek-Chandler at 364-4452. To learn more about Brian Luke Seaward and to see video clips from the movie “Earth Songs,” go to http://www.brianlukeseaward.net/.