Proper Alignment for a Good Night’s Sleep
Many people don’t understand how important sleep and proper rest is to their overall health. For example, many will get up early to exercise, sacrificing sleep in the process. However, as their metabolism becomes quicker and more efficient, the body needs even more rest.
To illustrate the importance of sleep, Dr. Martone often asks his patients “which is more important, sleep or exercise?” The majority will say “working out,” which leads him to issue the following challenge:
“I want you to go one week without working out, and one week without sleep. Then tell me which is more important?”
The human body can go a lifetime without exercise, but only a short time without a good night’s sleep. If we become sleep deprived, the body starts to slowly break down from the inside out. This is happening to people everywhere, but they dismiss it as simply being fatigued.
Common symptoms of sleep deprivation include the following:
- Daytime fatigue
- Excessive sleepiness
- Weakened immunity
- Inability to concentrate
- High blood pressure
- Weight gain
- Poor balance
- Decreased sex drive
Many studies have been conducted on sleep deprivation from not getting a good night’s sleep as well:
Decreased systemic redox metabolites and altered epigenetic status.
Researchers discovered that changes in sleep patterns altered metabolic functions, which resulted in altered disease susceptibility or behavior.1
Studies indicate insufficient sleep can trigger anxiety. One particular study notes sleep loss triggered greater levels of anxiety in women compared to men.2
An increase of false memories.
A study of sleep deprivation on young adults and adolescents found that sleep-deprived individuals “were more likely than well-rested persons to incorporate misleading post-event information into their responses during memory retrieval.” Researchers suggest the need to “assess eyewitnesses’ sleep history after encountering misleading information.”3
Depression among adolescents.
A study of 4,175 youths aged 11-17 was conducted to determine if there was a link between sleep deprivation and depression. (Sleep-deprivation was defined as having 6 hours of sleep per night or less.) The date suggests a reduced quantity of sleep increased the risk for major depression, which increased the risk for decreased sleep.4
Sleep deprivation and hyperalgesia.
Studies indicate sleep deprivation causes hyperalgesia, which is the increased sensitivity to pain. The exact cause is still being researched, as researchers are unable to determine which stages of sleep have the greatest impact on pain sensitivity.5
As we can see, there are many surprising health issues that can be linked to sleep deprivation. The human body heals itself when we sleep. Getting adequate rest is key to good health, which includes decreasing the risk of having issues as described here.
Here are a few tips to get a good night’s sleep:
A Good Night’s Sleep Tip #1: Use Your Brain.
When some people lie in bed at night, they can’t sleep because they are thinking about what they have to do the next day. (They are using the front part of their brain, or the prefrontal cortex.) It’s difficult to “think” yourself to sleep. Instead, try “remember yourself to sleep. Instead of thinking about what you need to do in the future, remembering past pleasant events prompts us to use the rear part of the brain, which helps us to fall asleep. Pleasant memories created just 24 hours prior can be used as a memory. The more vivid the memory, the easier it will be to get to sleep.
A Good Night’s Sleep Tip #2: Turn Off the Lights.
Light can affect the quality of our sleep. Even when our eyes are closed, if there is light in the room, it stimulates our brains, not allowing them to relax and drift off to sleep. As a result, we may not get into the deep sleep that our bodies need. This also includes when our kids fall asleep with the television on. Our bodies are designed to go through eight cycles of sleep per night. Light can disrupt those sleep cycles, meaning when we come out of a shallow sleep cycle, the light will immediately wake us up.
This includes the light from cell phones and television screens. The blue light these devices emit affect levels of melatonin, which is important for our sleep.
A Good Night’s Sleep Tip #3: Establish a Routine.
One of the best things we can do is go to bed and wake up at the same time. Our bodies should eventually establish a pattern and wake up at the same time, where we don’t need an alarm clock. This will enable the body to self-regulate and maintain a healthy sleep cycle.
It’s also important to remember that a person can get by on adrenaline or the use of stimulants like caffeine or energy drinks. That may work temporarily, but that does not replace the need for good quality sleep.
For those who are sleep deprived, it’s not “if” they get sick, it’s “when.” No one can say exactly how that illness will manifest itself, so getting a good night’s sleep is a top priority.
A Good Night’s Sleep: Hidden Sleep Problems
If our bodies become out of balance, it can affect our quality of sleep. For example, when people sit at their computers hunched over, their head is tilted forward. This puts pressure on the neck. When people are always on their cell phones texting, their heads are tilted forward also. In each instance, this can throw the spine out of alignment.
When people have back or hip pain, they don’t realize the root cause of their pain may be due to their daily habits, which could lead to poor posture and muscle imbalances. As a result of the discomfort, they may find getting to sleep in certain positions difficult, which affects their sleep quality.
This inability to get adequate sleep sets off a potential chain reaction of health issues as discussed above.
A Good Night’s Sleep: Proper Sleep Alignment
After years of researching the link between sleep deprivation and muscle imbalances, Dr. Martone began to look at pillows and how they affect our sleep. He soon realized pillows are “good for the bed, but not for the head.”
The pillows we use today are too big. Our heads are tilted in uncomfortable angles, which cause us to toss and turn all night. This is evident when a person wakes up in the morning sore and stiff because “they slept the wrong way.”
They may have slept all night, but their quality of sleep was severely compromised.
The key to a good night’s sleep is to get in a neutral sleep position.
This is defined as a position that you sleep in where your weight is distributed evenly over a surface area. According to Dr. Martone, the only way we can do that is on our back. However, we can’t use a traditional pillow because it tilts our heads upward, in an uncomfortable position.
The 8 Hour Pillow rests directly under the head to help restore the body’s natural curvature. With the 8 Hour Pillow, the neck is supported in a position where the eyes are looking straight up towards the ceiling, where the head is relaxed and rests comfortably.
By restoring balance in the body, many of the seemingly unrelated aches and pains (such as in the back, neck, shoulders, etc.) could be decreased over time.
Even though his product is called the 8 Hour Pillow, Dr. Martone suggests initially sleeping in the position for 45 minutes to an hour per night. Doing so will allow the body to adjust to the new sleep position. Eventually, a person will be able to sleep longer and longer in that position.
A Good Night’s Sleep: Getting the body back in alignment is critical to overall health.
For example, a recent study found that prolonged sitting at work or improper posture of the head at work played a significant role in neck pain occurrence among office employees.6
Another study in the European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine studied the role of musculoskeletal disorders in women and their potential link to migraines. Researchers concluded the women in their study with migraines exhibited signs of “restricted cervical rotation, decreased upper cervical rotation, and the presence of symptomatic upper cervical joints.”7
These and countless other studies stress the importance of not only getting a good night’s sleep but correcting any potential muscle imbalances we may have.
The key to getting the body back into alignment for a good night’s sleep is to realign the spine. One of the easiest ways to do that is to lie on your back while you’re sleeping. The 8 Hour Pillow was designed for that very reason.
A Good Night’s Sleep: Bonus Tip.
Many people prefer to sleep on their sides (fetal position) because they feel vulnerable and more exposed when sleeping on their back. An option is to take one of your old pillows and lay it on top of you. That way, a person can feel more protected, allowing them to relax and sleep soundly on their back.
- Trivedi MS, Holger D, Bui AT, (et al.) Short-Term Sleep Deprivation Leads To Decreased Systemic Redox Metabolites And Altered Epigenetic Status. PLoS One. Published online 2017 Jul 24;12(7):e0181978. [doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0181978. eCollection 2017.] PMID: 28738082 PMCID: PMC5524320 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28738082
- Goldstein-Piekarski AN, Greer SM, Saletin JM, (et al.) Sex, Sleep Deprivation, and the Anxious Brain. J Cogn Neurosci. Published online 2018 Apr;30(4):565-578. doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_01225. Epub 2017 Dec 15. PMID: 28738082 PMCID: PMC5524320 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28738082
- Lo JC, Chong PL, Ganesan S (et. Al) Sleep Deprivation Increases Formation of False Memory. J Sleep Res. Published online. 2016 Dec;25(6):673-682.[ doi: 10.1111/jsr.12436. Epub 2016 Jul 5.] PMID: 27381857 PMCID: PMC5324644 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27381857
- Roberts RE, Duong HT The Prospective Association Between Sleep Deprivation And Depression Among Adolescents. Sleep. Published online. 2014 Feb 1;37(2):239-44. [doi: 10.5665/sleep.3388.] PMID: 24497652 PMCID: PMC3900610 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24497652
- Karmann AJ1, Kundermann B, Lautenbacher S. [Sleep Deprivation And Pain: A Review Of The Newest Literature]. Schmerz. Published online. 2014 Apr;28(2):141-6. [doi: 10.1007/s00482-014-1394-6.] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24643753
- Nejati P, Lotfian S, Moezy A (et. Al) The Study Of Correlation Between Forward Head Posture And Neck Pain In Iranian Office Workers. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. Published online. 2015;28(2):295-303. [doi: 10.13075/ijomeh.1896.00352.] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26182924
- Ferracini GN, Florencio LL, Dach F, Musculoskeletal Disorders Of The Upper Cervical Spine In Women With Episodic Or Chronic Migraine. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. Published online. 2017 Jun;53(3):342-350. [doi: 10.23736/S1973-9087.17.04393-3. Epub 2017 Jan 24.] PMID: 28118694 DOI: 10.23736/S1973-9087.17.04393-3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28118694