Sleeping disorders come in many different varieties, but they may have one common underlying factor. The health of your upper cervical spine, the top bones in the neck, is connected to how well a person sleeps. We’re going to take a closer look at the different types of sleeping disorders. Then we will discuss upper cervical chiropractic as a natural way to help you get better sleep.
4 Types of Sleep Disorders
While these are not the only types of sleeping disorders that exist, they help to show the range of problems that exist when it comes to trying to get a good night of sleep.
- Insomnia – This actually refers to a wide range of sleep problems in itself. Insomnia can refer to anything from having difficulty falling asleep to waking up too early from sleep to waking up frequently during the night.
- Narcolepsy – This is a condition that results in excessive sleepiness during the daytime that result in frequent naps, whether lasting for hours or even just a few minutes.
- Hypersomnia – This refers to sleep that is so deep it is difficult for the person to wake up or be woken. It may also include sleeping far longer than a person normally would.
- Sleep Apnea – Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients wake up over and over throughout the night due to interruptions in breathing. While the patient does not normally realize he or she is waking up, sleep becomes non-restorative because it is difficult to stay asleep long enough to get into the deeper phases of sleep. Waking up tired in the morning is common, but it is usually a mate who recognizes the problem first by hearing the interruptions in breathing during the night.
All of these difficulties in sleeping can actually go back to the same issue – inhibited brainstem function. Why is this the case?
The Link Between Sleep and Brainstem Function
There are actually a number of factors that link the brainstem and sleeping. First of all, the brainstem is the source of the majority of the body’s involuntary functions. Those include two functions that are very important when it comes to sleep:
- Breathing – Since the brainstem controls breathing, it can play a vital role when it comes to sleep apnea. If the brainstem is failing to keep the body breathing, this can lead to waking up repeatedly. Since the brainstem also controls things like swallowing, it can affect breathing during the night in a number of ways. It involves more than the body simply “forgetting” to take a breath.
- The Sleep Process – The brainstem also gets the sleep process going. It lowers blood pressure, slows breathing, reduces blood sugar levels, and releases hormones that put the body to sleep. It also reverses this process and releases different hormones when it is time to wake up. So the brainstem can be related to issues with failure to sleep as well as sleeping too much or at the wrong times.
Because of these factors, research has been performed involving the connection between OSA and the cervical spine, among other central nervous system and sleep links. What part does the cervical spine have when it comes to the brainstem?
How the Cervical Spine Relates to Brainstem Performance
The fact is that cervical spine alignment and brainstem performance go hand in hand. This is clear without having to have a great grasp on anatomy. There is just one simple factor that needs to be understood. The C1 vertebra (atlas) is the top bone in the neck, located at the base of the skull. It surrounds and protects the brainstem, right where it meets up with the spinal cord.
With that in mind, it becomes clear how an atlas misalignment can affect brainstem function and thus lead to sleeping disorders. Even the slightest misalignment of the atlas can turn the vertebra from a protector into a source of compression, irritation, or pressure. As a result, the body may cease to breathe properly during sleep, or the processes of falling asleep and waking up may become inhibited.
It is therefore vital to correct an atlas misalignment if a person is suffering from a sleeping disorder. In one case study involving upper cervical chiropractic care, a 23-year-old man had symptoms including everything from sleep dysfunction to bipolar disorder resolve after just 7 months of care. Again, this reveals the link between upper cervical health and sleep disorders.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic – Natural Help for Sleep Disorders
If you are suffering from a sleep disorder, upper cervical chiropractic care may be the cost-effective and gentle help that you have been searching for. The patient in the study noted above had suffered an injury prior to the onset of symptoms. The injury is likely what caused the misalignment. It doesn’t mean you must have suffered a head or neck injury for upper cervical chiropractic to help. It just means that an injury that occurred, even one going back 10-15 years, may have caused the underlying issue, so be sure to include things like that on your patient history.
Schedule a consultation with an upper cervical chiropractor near you to discuss if this is the right way to get some natural relief. A few gentle adjustments may be the secret to getting better sleep and feeling refreshed throughout the day. That can mean an entire change in your life if a sleep disorder has been affecting your day-to-day activities for some time now. So don’t delay in getting on the path to better health.