Humans generally spend about ⅓ of their life sleeping. Obviously, sleep plays a major role in our life, but why?
Sleep is one of the four major pillars of health. The list includes proper nutrition, movement (exercise), sleep, and a properly functioning nervous system (neurologically based Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care). Each of these pillars affect our health in different ways, but for now we will focus on sleep.
DID YOU KNOW??
During deep sleep, your brain ‘shrinks’ in size, and has approximately 60% more room for specialized fluid to rush through and cleanse the brain. This fluid is called cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF). Toxins such as amyloid beta plaque (the hallmark of Alzheimer’s Disease) are cleansed from the brain in this process. Think of this as your brain getting a ‘fresh start’ every morning when you wake up. This is part of the reason that insomnia can be so debilitating.
As evidenced by upright MRI, upper cervical misalignments (subluxations) can effect this fluid flow both to and from the brain. This link helps to explain Upper Cervical Chiropractic’s role in neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis. This also explains why many practice member’s explain the sensation of being more “clear-minded” or reporting less brain fog after their first adjustment.
Patients often ask what type of mattress or pillow is best for them, or what sleeping position is most beneficial. It is not a one-size-fits-all approach, but generally it is important to have a nice firm mattress with no lumps or sags. This helps keep the spine in a neutral position throughout the night. Test out multiple mattresses to determine if a very firm mattress is best for your body, or if you respond better to having a bit of cushion.
As far as sleeping position, the position to avoid is sleeping on your stomach. Think about turning your head as far as you can to one side and holding it there for 6-8 hours. That’s what happens while stomach sleeping. Essentially your spine and spinal cord are being twisted like wringing out a rag throughout the entire night.
Sleeping on your side is a great alternative. The key to side-sleeping is to ensure that your head is properly supported in a neutral position. If your pillow is too low, your head will be drooping down towards the bed and not in neutral alignment with the rest of your spine. If the pillow is too high, your head and neck will be pushed upwards out of neutral alignment. Essentially the gap between your head and shoulder needs to be filled perfectly.
The best sleeping position is on your back. This requires a flatter pillow, so that your head is not pushed forward while you are on your back. This may accentuate the already common ‘forward head posture’.
Contact our team at Shift Chiropractic in Traverse City today!
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3055 Cass Rd. Ste 102B
Traverse City, MI 49684