My new patient paperwork has a few questions about feeling rested and quality of sleep. More often than not, patients state that they are fatigued most of the time, struggle to sleep or some combination of the two. Some say they sleep all night, (often 8-10 hours) and still feel exhausted when they wake up. Sleeping for that long should have them waking up feeling great….right?
Turns out just having your eyes closed and not being alert doesn’t equal great sleep. Regardless of how long you are in that state. As I have written about a number of times, our body essentially has a gas pedal and a brake pedal. The sympathetic nervous system is the gas and the parasympathetic is the brake. These two make up our autonomic nervous system (autonomic as in automatic). That’s all the countless things our bodies do that we don’t think about. It includes heart-beat, digestion, and in this case hormone production, release, and restoration.
When you are up during the day, your gas pedal should be dominant so you can get things done, be alert, make decisions etc. When you go to bed, the brake needs to be applied. If you constantly held the gas pedal down on your car for a month without letting up, what sort of shape would your engine be in? I’m not a car guy (at all), but I’m pretty sure it would be a mess.
The same goes for your body. Without the brakes being applied allowing you to rest, you are in big trouble. Fatigue, irritability, difficulty getting through the day, higher blood pressure, and a host of other things can occur.
Let’s go back to our car analogy for a minute. Do you put gas, oil, wiper fluid etc. in your car while driving? I hope not. You do this when you stop. Your body also doesn’t replenish when you are moving. It waits until you are sleeping to replenish hormones, repair cells, and all the functions it performs to make you feel rested, and take on the day.
The most common reason I see that the gas pedal is always down, is a misalignment in the upper neck. The tissues compress the brainstem and spinal cord, which serves to stimulate them. Since they partially make up, and largely control, the autonomic nervous system, it now begins to malfunction. The constant stimulation causes your body to always be in fight or flight mode, and then comes the chronic fatigue that you can’t seem to overcome no matter how much you rest.
One of the most common comments I hear from patients following a first adjustment, is how that night they had the best sleep they could remember. They woke up the next day feeling refreshed and alive.
Waking up feeling exhausted? We offer a free evaluation to determine if your upper cervical spine is in the proper shape and working correctly. Call us at Upper Cervical Health Centers of Fort Myers for your free consultation today, 239-243-8810!
Dr. Lee Angle
Dr. Lee Angle is originally from southern West Virginia. After having his life changed through Upper Cervical Care he chose to pursue it as a career. He has been practicing Upper Cervical Chiropractic for over nine years. Dr. Angle previously worked as a certified personal trainer. This background allows him to educate his patients on proper movement and exercises to speed their recovery and enhance their Upper Cervical Care.