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Better sleep = better health

START WITH SLEEP founder, Soda Kuczkowski, discusses the benefits of sleep, the foundation of overall health

Soda Kuczkowski

Photos by kc kratt


Wake up, sleepy people: help is on the way. Help in getting a good night’s sleep and maximizing those precious restorative hours, that is. Meet Soda Kuczkowski, sleep health educator and diagnostic sleep consultant. The Buffalo native, a self-described sleep enthusiast, is the founder of Start With Sleep, a retail boutique and education center located at 1211 Hertel Avenue. In the airy, zenlike space, lovingly restored to the tin-ceiling elegance of another era by her husband and business partner, Kuczkowski conducts workshops for adults and “slumber parties” for pajama-clad youngsters, all of whom learn better sleep habits.



Her background includes nearly a dozen years educating and supporting physician offices, community organizations, hospitals, and schools. As the mother of a three-year-old daughter, she knows a thing or two about sleep deprivation. “No!  You need a nap,” is the firm message on one side of her business card. Her mission these days is to spread the word about the benefits of a solid night’s sleep, the foundation of overall health. “People want to be younger, smarter, faster—everyone wants a quick fix,” she says. Nothing works faster than a good night’s sleep; I’ve always felt that. And now I know the science supports that.” She works with physicians in counseling patients who have diagnosed sleep disorders, and her shop stocks the latest devices to treat those with serious issues. For the rest of us, legions of adults (children may have adverse reactions to some supplements that are safe for adults) suffering from chronic sleep deprivation resulting from shift work, parenting, stress, etc., she posits natural solutions:


Seven Simple Steps Supporting Sleep


Put an aloe vera plant on your nightstand. It emits oxygen at night, improving overall sleep.


Warm milk? Maybe—if you can tolerate lactose; calcium helps soothe the mind before bed.


Get a new pillow, if it's more than a couple years old. They lose elasticity and support over time.


Try tea with the herb valerian, shown to improve sleep in some studies.


Eat foods like leafy greens, high in magnesium, which can help you fall asleep faster.


Keep a journal, encouraging creativity and problem-solving—aids to better sleep.


Texting till the wee hours?  Wear blue-light blocking glasses at night—the kind of light emitted by our devices can make it hard to fall asleep.


Maria Scrivani is a regular contributor to Spree.


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