Dr. Peter Martone
My name is Dr. Peter Martone, and I'm also known as Dr. Sleep Right. I am a chiropractor and an exercise physiologist.
This is my “sleep story.”
When I think back to my earliest memories when I was a child, I can still remember wanting to sleep on my side, which faced the crucifix on the wall in my room. I felt secure and protected and every morning I would end up at the end of my bed or even on the floor. I never stayed in one position.
As years passed I continued to be a side sleeper because that is what people do. It is how my doctors told me to sleep; I saw commercials depicting people sleeping on their sides; and my parents even bought me a side sleeper pillow. So, there I was a side sleeper and a non-thinker. I just did what other people told me to do because that is what we do. I was a side sleeper until I started having pain. Then I started thinking about the cause — and my life changed.
I can still remember the day I started to think. It changed everything. Before I begin, I want to make this point clear: Thinking never happens all at once. To change your paradigm (way of thinking) it takes multiple events to happen that bring your awareness to a specific topic — just like reading this article might get you to become more aware of your sleeping position.
Although my hope is that you just take my advice blindly, I understand my goal is to get you to start questioning that status quo. I tell my patients: “Free your mind and your health will follow.”
An Idea Is Born
I was watching the movie “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” in 2000 and the two actors came out of the room after “cuddling” all night. The camera gave a quick glimpse of the room they came out of. It showed what the two actors slept on, and to my amazement it was just a thin pad for their body and a block of wood in lieu of a pillow for their head (we will get back to this later). I can remember thinking, “Ouch, that would be so uncomfortable, but then again the movie was set back in the 19th century — that is all they had.”
One of my passions is body biomechanics, or how the body moves and functions. I took a lot of pride in being a pain-free person until one day I had a little too much alcohol to drink at a party and fell asleep in my bed watching TV on my side. To make a long story short, I could not move my arm when I woke up.
I slept on my arm, instigating a frozen shoulder (sprain of the shoulder) just by sleeping on it the wrong way. It was one of the worst pains I had ever experienced. The pain traveled all the way into my neck. I then started to think about the times I would wake up in the morning over the years and either have shoulder pain or neck pain.
Was it the drinking? Was it the sleeping position? Or was it the pillow? Now I was getting close. I was starting to question something that I had taken for granted for years, namely my sleeping position.