Natural Approach to Sleep Problems – Twin Cities, MN
Most of us have experienced trouble sleeping at one time or another. Usually it’s due to stress, travel, illness, or other temporary interruptions to your normal routine. But if sleep problems are a regular occurrence and interfere with your daily life, you may be suffering from a sleep disorder. Sleep disorders cause more than just daytime sleepiness. They can take a serious toll on your mental and physical health, leading to memory problems, weight gain, and impacting your energy, and mood. Each night during deep REM sleep our brain coordinates the production of new cells throughout the body. Lack of sleep will result in poor quality cell production. As a result our bodies age quicker.
We all have an internal biological clock that regulates our 24-hour sleep-wake cycle, also known as our circadian rhythms. Light is the primary cue that influences circadian rhythms. At night, when there is less light, your brain triggers the release of melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy. When the sun comes up in the morning, the brain tells the body that it’s time to wake up.
When your circadian rhythms are disrupted or thrown off, you may feel groggy, disoriented, and sleepy at inconvenient times. Circadian rhythms have been linked to a variety or sleeping problems and sleep disorders, as well as depression, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder (the winter blues).
What is melatonin?
Melatonin (blue) is produced naturally by the pineal gland (purple) at night-time indicated by light entering the eyes (left), and by the arrow showing the melatonin secretion signal sent by the optic nerve to the pineal gland once darkness has fallen.
Melatonin is produced by various tissues in the body, although the major source is the pineal gland in the brain. The production and release of melatonin from the pineal gland occurs with a clear daily (circadian) rhythm, with peak levels occurring at night. Melatonin is carried by the circulation from the brain to all areas of the body. Tissues expressing proteins called receptors specific for melatonin are able to detect the peak in circulating melatonin at night and this signals to the body that it is night-time. The level of circulating melatonin can be detected in samples of blood and saliva, and this is used in clinical research to identify internal circadian rhythms.
Upper Neck Misalignment Can Inhibit Melatonin Flow
Injuries and trauma to the upper neck will produce misalignments of the very vulnerable top bones of the neck, known as the cervical spine. The first cervical vertebrae (atlas) and the second cervical vertebrae (axis) are the most movable bones of the spine because the joints of the vertebrae are formed more horizontal so as to allow the head act almost like a swivel. The atlas is attached to the spinal cord by the dentate ligament. Certain atlas misalignments will pull the cerebellar tonsils into the opening in the base of the skull where the cannels carrying melatonin exit and travel to the receptor cells throughout the body. The atlas misalignment reduces the melatonin flow and can result in poor sleep. Blair Upper Cervical doctors are trained specifically in analyzing the anatomy of the joints in the upper neck and identifying the exact corrective adjustment to restore proper alignment and improve circulation of melatonin and cerebrospinal fluid. This specific and yet very simple procedure can have a profound impact on sleep. Although the Blair Technique does not claim to cure or treat sleep disorders, the change in sleep for patients is consistently profound.
If you happened to be reading this in the middle of the night, call a Blair Chiropractor first thing tomorrow morning.