In this podcast episode:
Hello, this is Richard Jacobs with the good night’s sleep project podcast. I want to talk to you today a little bit about the Mechanics of Sleep. So everyone listening, I want you to sit there and tilt your head to the side a few degrees 10 to 15 degrees and I want you to imagine that there are about 10 pounds of weight on your head in that position because that's about the weight of your head, then I want you to imagine you're in that position with the weight on your head for eight hours. What would that do to you?
I think you know the answer, your neck would be shot, your shoulders, and your back, all that stuff would be way out of whack. You probably have headaches, etc. You'd be very uncomfortable in the first place, so good luck even falling asleep.
Now I want you to imagine your head is straight up and down. You're not kinked at all. There's no weight on you because your head is straight up and down or you're at least supported now you're going to be like that for eight hours, what do you imagine? Completely different scenario. So a lot of people think it's no big deal to have, let's say a pillow that's too thin or too thick or a mattress that causes the person to sleep uphill because it sags in the middle of that kind of stuff, no pillow between your knees and your ankles, no pillow that you're hugging, just again one or two pillow stacked up under your neck.
The mechanics of your sleep are super important because again, like I said, here's what it does, it'll tweak your neck, your back, and your shoulders.
Now I want you to imagine your airway, your throat, you know, what you breathe through that's only the size of a garden hose. It's 0.6 to one inch in diameter that's it, so literally if you picture a garden hose if you ever watered the lawn that's what you're breathing through.
Now imagine as you sleep, if you're in this bad position and that hose gets kinked, what happens when you kink the hose and the water goes through it? It hurts out because now the hose is kinked the pressure goes in the hose. It's spreading out like crazy. Well, if you're trying to breathe through this hose and it's only barely an inch itself and it gets kinked on one side, a quarter of an inch and it gets kinked on the other side of quarter of an inch, now you're breathing through half the normal size you'd breathe through Sega.
Your breath now becomes raspy, it becomes labored. You have to breathe harder. This is what leads to snoring and if the kinking gets bad enough, the soft tissues of your throat and your mouth and all that they relax when you sleep first of all, and as you get older the tone of that muscle goes down and gets worse. Well, guess what? Your throat can actually close up while you sleep and that's called sleep apnea, which is very, very high prevalence amongst adults doesn't mean you have to be heavy, you're thin or that it happens to a lot of people especially as the age. The stats on apnea are15, 20% at least and it's undiagnosed. It's probably far more than that as snoring, as I'm sure a lot of the listeners know that's pervasive. So a lot of this comes literally from the mechanics of sleep.
So if you don't have your mechanics right, you're not going to sleep well. I want you to picture one more scenario. You're lying there and the pillow, for instance, the bed just doesn't feel right, it feels too hard, too soft, too high, and too low. It just doesn't feel right you feel uncomfortable. Well, you cannot fall asleep in 10 minutes that could easily turn into an hour of tossing and turning again, all back to the mechanics of sleep.
So that's what this podcast is about. My general advice for people that are having pain and feel like mechanics is a problem is to look at all the mechanics of what you're sleeping on, how you're lying, etc. Look at your bed, look at your pillow, feel your neck and your head. Maybe have someone look at you, the person you sleep with a lay in the position you normally gonna sleep in and have that person look at you.
Do you look kinked? You feel kinked? Do you feel off? If you lay in that position and then relax your muscles, are you now suddenly moving into another position that's even worse to you? I'll give you one last example. So I'm a side sleeper. What I noticed when I fall asleep is that my face will roll forward onto the pillow partially covering my mouth and I lay on my side, what most people do, you lay on your arm, your neck on your arm.
My neck kind of rolls forward a little bit. My face rolls a little bit forward so my arm is pushing against the corner of my neck and kinking my air a little bit I felt that and I've actually changed my sleep situation to avoid that, one way is by having a pillow I hug which prevents me from rolling forward.
Another way is by having a Sur-mer pillow that you know when I roll it, I don't roll forward onto it. So these are some of the mechanics of sleep, I had to look at it.
Then one more picture here. When I landed my side, again I'm lying on one of my arms. The top arm usually is hanging over me and that arm when I sleep, it can essentially move upwards and kind of compress the other side of my neck. I'll probably have to show you a picture of this, but I have noticed that that arm, when it relaxes, it's also pressing on my neck just from the other side that arm is kind of riding up towards my head and impinging on the other side of my neck so just by laying in a certain position and relaxing, I was able to figure out what's going on with me when I sleep and why am I snoring and why am I having these problems?
So moral of the story look in the mechanics of your sleep, think about what's going on, laying in a position you lay in, relax and see where things move and what happens to your breath and I think you'll be able to fix a lot of your issues by looking at that. So if you need help with the mechanics of your sleep, any other questions advice, etc.
Go to https://www.goodnightssleepproject.com/ we have answers for you. Hopefully the goal of the company is to help everyone get seven good nights of sleep a week that's our goal so whether you're at one good night, two good night’s, six good night’s or zero good night’s, our goal is to give you at least one more good night of sleep in the week. Hopefully, ideally all seven.