Dr. Peter Martone
Welcome to Neck Nest!
My name is Dr. Peter Martone. I am a Chiropractor and an Exercise Physiologist and this is my Sleep Story.
Over the last twenty years in my practice as a Doctor of Chiropractic, I have searched for the perfect pillow to recommend to my patients - one that will put their head in the correct position so they can get a great night's sleep and wake up rested and refreshed.
Unfortunately, up to now, I have not been able to find one. Out of frustration, I have even suggested to my patients that they purchase a soft down pillow and stuff it under their necks. However, more often than not, a conventional pillow will loose its shape and end up on the floor.
The problem is that most of us believe a pillow is for head support. However, You cannot just support your yead in order to get a great night's sleep.
Reflecting on my earliest childhood memories, I recall growing up in Malden, Massachusetts, on a bustling street. My bedroom was situated next to the front porch of our house, with my bed positioned against the window overlooking the porch. I distinctly remember being instructed to go to bed, but as I complied, my mind would race with fears of someone breaking through my window and kidnapping me—an irrational fear that gripped me during those times.
To counteract this anxiety, I developed a routine to soothe myself and create a sense of security. I learned to put myself to sleep, finding comfort in the act of feeling protected. Choosing to sleep on my side, I would face the crucifix mounted on the wall in my room, surrounded by stuffed animals that served as my guardians. This arrangement helped me feel secure and shielded me from the imagined threats that
haunted my nighttime thoughts.
Despite these comforting rituals, I found myself waking up in different positions each morning, sometimes even on the floor! It seemed that no matter how I initially positioned myself when falling asleep, I couldn't maintain a fixed sleeping position throughout the night.
Years passed and I continued to be a side sleeper because that is what most people tend to do. It is how my doctor told me to sleep. My parents even bought me a side-sleeper pillow. I saw commercials depicting people sleeping on their sides, so I also continued to be a side sleeper, doing what other people told me to do. Then, one day I started to experience pain. Real pain. So, I began evaluating some of the things that could be the cause of that pain - and from that point on, my life changed!
I can still remember it all so clearly. My mantra was - and continues to be - if you free your mind of old habits, your health will follow. Human nature is such that sometimes it takes awhile before we realize we must change our old ways of doing things if we want to feel better. And when we do, our body will benefit.
An Idea Is Born
Years ago I was watching the movie “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon”. One scene depicted a typical 19th century Chinese bed, consisting only a thin pad for the body and a block of wood for the pillow. I remember saying, "Ouch. That would be so uncomfortable!" But then again, it was hundreds of years ago and that was all they had."
Then, one day I ended up falling asleep on my side while watching television. When I woke up, I couldn't move my arm. Because of how I fell asleep, I experienced "frozen shoulder" or a sprain of the shoulder,
and it was one of the worst pains I've ever been subjected to. The pain traveled all the way up into my neck.
Now, I've experienced that many times over the years, both neck and shoulder pain upon waking, so I started to ask myself, "why was this happening? Why do I feel so awful? Was it my sleeping position, or was it the pillow?"
I started to dig into questions about something that I had taken for granted all those years!
How Your Bed and Pillow Affect your Body Mechanics
One of my true passions is body biomechanics, or how the body moves and functions, so I take a lot of pride in being pain-free now. I know that today's beds are made to be more comfortable and absorb your body weight to decrease pressure points. They support you as you sleep on your side.
But, remembering the movie and the Chinese bed, there would be no way you could sleep on your side with just a block of wood and a thin towel or pad. People would be tossing and turning all night because their body weight would be distributed over a small surface area causing pressure points. The only way they could sleep comfortably would be on their backs, distributing their weight over the greatest surface area.
For example, if you tried to lie on your side and watch a two hour movie, you would not be able to do so without turning. You can only stay on your side for a short time until something either goes numb or gets very uncomfortable.
This is one of the reasons why you toss and turn all night long! The area of the brain that senses pain, and the area of the brain that controls sleep, are very close. When your body is in pain, it will either wake you up, or, the body will move you out of that position by tossing and turning. That reflex is suppressed when you have drugs like alcohol, sleeping pills, pain medication, or if you are extremely tired. What ultimately occurs is that the abnormal body position (side or stomach sleeping) for prolonged periods of time causes pulled muscles or sprained ligaments.
We know that what you do
on a regular basis defines your health and well-being. Your body adapts to your daily lifestyle habits and what you do every day is what dictates your current state of health. Years and years of side and stomach sleeping causes damage to your spine which your body internalizes.
Structure Affects Function
As a Chiropractor, I know your spinal structure directly affects your function. The structure of your spine affects the way your nervous system works, which ultimately affects your health and well-being. Everything is connected!
Let's talk about biomechanics and spinal degeneration, or arthritis. I have asked myself
why so many patients have spinal degeneration which leads to back and neck pain and ultimately health related conditions.
I have looked at patterns and have applied the "Davis Law" to my thinking. What is the Davis Law? Simply put, it is maintaining proper curves of your spine which is critically important in helping your body distribute stress when you walk or move. Another way to think about it is that the shape of your spine works like a big spring, and acts like a shock absorber. When you lose the curves of your spine, you cause stress points within the spine. As the Davis Law states, scar tissue will develop in those areas of the spine where you lose the curves. This restriction of motion in the joint leads to degeneration, or arthritis, in that area.
In today's world, we spend more time on computers, driving, and talking/texting on our telephones. All of these positions are done in a forward head posture or head forward position. Statistics show
that the average person spends up to eight hours a day in forward head posture. This position has to be compensated for if you want to
maintain a balanced, natural curve to your cervical spine.
A Pillow Is Born!
WHERE SLEEP AND POSTURE COME TOGETHER
The only other time we are in one position for another eight hours is at night when we sleep. It's important to compensate ourselves for this forward head position posture. Sleep is when our body heals
and grows. Sleep is an opportunity for our bodies to rest and repair, and the only way to do this is to sleep on your back with a pillow under your neck. To repeat...under your NECK...not your head, to support your cervical spine.
After almost twenty years of trying different pillows, including a much advertised product shown on television, I became appalled with what was available in the marketplace. Everything was designed for your head and not for neck support. I had to come up with something better. This is when THE NECK NEST was born. This pillow helps you lie on your back and stay on your back. Watch my video in the "how to use" tab at the top to see how to properly use your pillow.
When I talk to patients about their sleeping position, most tell me they toss and turn all night long. They do not sleep in a neutral position and their brain senses they are in pain, causing them to toss and turn.
Remember, the pain is caused from side sleeping for two reasons:
1) Weight is distributed over small surface areas as compared with sleeping on your back.
2) Abnormal lateral forces are applied to your spine from side sleeping.
We are here to HELP!
At Neck Nest, our goal is to assist you in achieving W.A.Y.
Better Sleep, fostering improvements in your overall health beyond just the
confines of the bed. Achieving quality sleep often requires effort and
commitment. I share my personal story here with the intention of providing you
insights from my journey, aiming to help you kickstart positive changes in your
If you would like to see how your SLEEP HABITS are affecting
your Health. Click The link below to visit our education site and take your
SLEEP RISK ASSESSMENT.