Change Your Body Position To Get Better Sleep – Dr. Peter Martone with Dave Asprey – #819

Your neck and spine positioning could be the cause of your unrest. Learn how to fix it and get some sleep.

This episode of Bulletproof Radio kicks off Better Sleep Month. Sleep hacking is core to what I do, so I wanted to invite someone on who’s dedicated to that practice. I’m talking with Dr. Peter Martone who is a chiropractor, exercise physiologist and inventor of the Neck Nest, a pillow specifically designed to improve your sleeping postures.

Here’s a challenge: try watching a two-hour movie in the position you normally sleep in. Peter bets you won’t last more than 30 minutes without needing to move. You spend eight hours a night (ideally) sleeping, and a third of your life in total, so the way you orient your body during sleep is incredibly important.

What position should we try to move to? Our backs! As Peter says, we were designed to sleep in a position that distributes our weight over the greatest surface area. When you sleep on your side, you lose the cervical curve in your spine and overtime develop scoliosis in your lower back.

“It’s no coincidence that your sleep center and your pain center are right next door to each other,” Peter says. You can’t stay in an uncomfortable position during sleep, because your body will toss out of it. “Sleeping on your back, if you can do it without your back hurting, without snoring like a machine, that’s ideal.”

I had always felt pain every time I slept on my back, but ever since I started using this pillow, I’m a back sleeper. This pillow, once broken in, uses traction to support and restore your spine to that cervical curve. You only need to use it two to three hours a night to restore that curve.

“Being on a computer all day, texting all day, our spines are getting destroyed,” Peter says. “Our sleep scores are getting destroyed because we’re tossing and turning all night long. You can fix your spine while you sleep, get 30% better sleep scores by just changing your position, and you can virtually eliminate neck and back pain by doing it while you sleep. It’s crazy to me that we’re a side sleeping culture, and I am trying to do my part to create the happiest, healthiest, most well-rested people on earth by teaching them how to sleep in a different position.”

The conversation also goes into heart rate variability, vagus nerve stimulation, deep sleep, energy spikes, circadian rhythms and other tips for getting great sleep.

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Follow Along with the Transcript

Change Your Body Position To Get Better Sleep – Dr. Peter Martone with Dave Asprey – #819


Neck Nest:

Atlantis Wellness:




Key Notes

  • Neck Nest, which is a specially designed pillow for alignment. We’re going to talk about why that matters for lymphatic drainage and all this. And he’s actually the guy who got me to reconsider side sleeping. – 1:07
  • You’re a professional chiropractor, but you had back pain for 15 years – 3:23
  • I reviewed 2000 x-rays and I found a pattern. The problem wasn’t in my lower back, it was in my neck. And it was because I was using my pillow wrong. – 7:40
  • I started coming up with anchors. These anchors are law. Like law that you can’t pass go before you collect 200. These are anchors of how the body works.  – 10:14
  • I’m going to challenge you and everybody that’s listening challenge, I want you to get into the position that you fall asleep in, and I want you to watch a two hour movie in that position.  – 13:28
  • So the big thing about snoring is your airway, right? Is being able to open the airway, being able to use your tongue effectively. – 15:31
  • Is there actually traction happening or is it just, it feels like that?  – 19:02
  • Some of these studies that do these animal studies and they try to extrapolate them to humans, it doesn’t make sense. – 22:42
  • Really when it comes down to it, the best for your actual curves would be a hard surface. – 25:45
  • What I found was, when somebody loses the cervical curve in their neck, like this patient right here, they pick up a scoliosis in their lower back. – 27:46
  • That’s why it’s so important that I educate my clients, or people that use the Neck Nest. The way that it looks like you use the Neck Nest is not how you use the Neck Nest. – 30:51
  • If you use a regular pillow support for your head in an elevated sleeping position, you are destroying your cervical spine because that exacerbates the forward head angle. – 35:21
  • What have you learned about sleep position and heart rate variability?  – 37:40
  • I tell my clients is, every hour of sleep you get before midnight is worth two hours of sleep after midnight.  – 40:58
  • I don’t believe you need deep sleep every night. – 44:01
  • Core temperature is significantly important when you come to deep sleep and quality of sleep. – 49:05
  • When people talk about sleeping position, glymphatic drainage is this, your brain and your neural tissue needs to detoxify, and it does so at night. And there’s this flow of cerebral spinal fluid that occurs. There’s an influx and then there’s an outflux of flow.   – 54:19
  • Holly: (Upgrade Collective
    Is there any data or research you’ve done with what the Neck Nest might do for relieving TMJ symptoms? – 58:31
  • To improve your sleep, cut your food out at least four hours before you go to bed. – 1:02:25

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