Cracking the Sleep Code: Decoding sleep Posture & overall health

  |   EP142   |   52 mins.

Peter Martone

Nick Urban and Dr. Peter Martone talk about all things sleep.

They delve into the crucial impact of sleep posture on overall well-being and provide insights on enhancing sleep quality each night.

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Episode Highlights

It's not easy to change the way that you sleep Share on XAngling the neck is what's important for sleep posture Share on XThe body does not make mistakes, it just adapts to stress Share on X

About Dr. Peter Martone

Dr. Peter Martone is an educator, injury prevention specialist, and patient care health practitioner who has been focused on improving patients’ biomechanics for over 23 years. During his private practice as a chiropractor, Dr. Martone always believed that the structure of your spine affects the function of the central nervous system and this interference is the root cause of most of the chronic problems people face.

Dr. Martone now uses this principle as the cornerstone to help people Get W.A.Y. Better Sleep. His techniques have been featured on CBS, NBC, Fox News, and over 50 international podcasts. He currently travels the country teaching people how to regain their health in bed by getting WAY Better Sleep.

Top Things You’ll Learn From Dr. Peter Martone

  • Importance of sleep position and its impact on health
    • The significance of the first hour of sleep and its impact on health
    • The impact of spine structure on the central nervous system and chronic health problems
    • The link between ADHD, productivity, and quality of sleep
  • Spine alignment and overall health
    • Posture problems from excessive technology use and quick fixes
    • The importance of a healthy cervical spine for overall well-being
    • How acid reflux is affected by the body’s structural alignment
    • The laws of adaptability and the body’s response to stress
  • Sleep posture and spine health
    • The ideal sleep position and its impact on the duration of sleep
    • Traditional sleep advice neglecting spine impact during sleep
    • The effect of body support on the spine and the role of gentle stretching
    • Sleep position’s impact on glymphatic drainage
  • Optimal Sleep Position and Routine
    • The 24-hour health clock and preparing for sleep
    • Addressing tossing and turning during sleep and the causes behind it
    • Overcoming the first-night syndrome and using natural supplements for sleep
    • Other practices that can help sleep
  • Non-negotiable health practices
    • Setting a bedtime and using meditation for relaxation
    • Clarifying sole purpose and journaling for mental well-being
    • Identifying opportunities aligned with individual goals
    • Addressing personality traits and setting roadblocks
  • Analyzing the root cause of sleeplessness
    • Addressing organ issues manifested as muscle pains and the importance of seeking the root cause
    • Stimulating calmness and relaxation for body healing
    • Safe techniques for older individuals to improve brain and balance

Resources Mentioned

  • Gear: Neck Nest (code NICK10 saves 10%)
  • Article: How to Biohack Sleep
  • Book: Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself
  • Book: Driven to Distraction

Episode Transcript

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Nick Urban [00:00:05]:
By the end of this podcast episode, you’ll never look at sleep the same way. At least I haven’t ever since I interviewed Dr. Peter Martone on possibly the most important thing you can know about sleep. He settles the age old question of what is the best sleep position? But not just that. He explains how the first hour of your sleep is the only real time you can control, and just why it’s so important that we actually fall asleep the right way. And his approach checks the box for passing the test of evolutionary biology. This isn’t just some trendy biohack that’s going to fade away, but it fits with what he calls his immutable laws of human health. So if you have any problems with posture, particularly forward head posture, meaning that your neck protrudes forward kind of like this, if you’re watching the video, you can see what I’m doing with my neck.

Nick Urban [00:01:07]:
It’s coming out well in front of my chest. And that’s caused by things like excessive use of technology and staring down at phones and all that, and the disastrous consequences that can have on our long term well being. If you have problems with low hrv or high resting heart rate or other biomarkers that are out of balance like that, it could be because your parasympathetic nervous system gets inhibited by the way you sleep. His quick fix and his tip around that can certainly help. Our guest this week is Dr. Peter Martone. He’s an educator, injury prevention specialist, and patient care health practitioner who’s been focused on improving patients biomechanics for over 23 years. During his private practice as a chiropractor, Dr.

Nick Urban [00:01:59]:
Martone believed that the structure of your spine affects the function of your central nervous system, and this interference is at the root cause of most of the chronic problems people face. Dr. Martone now uses this principle as the cornerstone to help people get way better sleep. His techniques have been featured on CBS, NBC, Fox News, and over 50 international podcasts. He currently travels the country teaching people how to regain their health in bed by getting way better sleep. And if you like this kind of thing, I recorded an episode that would nicely accompany this back with Matt Galant. Matt spent about $42,000 optimizing his sleep. So after you get the basics that we cover here, if you want a little extra support, episode number 92, you can 92.

Nick Urban [00:02:55]:
And there we go. Over some of the more advanced fancy biohacks, everything that he’s tried. I also wrote an article on the tips and tricks I used to really optimize my sleep. It was my Achilles heel for a very long time, and I’ve overcome that. I now sleep great and I recover great because of it. I’ll put a link to that in the show notes for this episode, and the show notes will all 142. And if you want to check out the product that Dr. Martonee created to make this sleeping position a bit easier, you don’t need it.

Nick Urban [00:03:32]:
It’s not essential, but it makes it just a little bit easier. You can look up the neck nest, and I’ll put a link to that in the show notes for this as well. And if you find this episode interesting, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Go ahead and tag me. Tag Dr. Martone on Instagram at Mindbody Peak performance and one of us will get back to you. All right, ladies and gentlemen, sit back, relax, and enjoy this episode with Dr. Peter Martone.

Nick Urban [00:03:58]:
Dr. Martone, welcome to Mindbody Peak performance.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:04:02]:
Thanks for having me. I am really excited to dive in with an audience that is ready to listen and ready to change.

Nick Urban [00:04:10]:
Yeah, absolutely. And today we’re discussing a topic that is going to be key for a lot of people. I know that in my own journey, my own wellness journey, sleep has been a big part of it. And you have some ideas that are a bit controversial. They go against the grain. And so I’m looking forward to diving into that with you in 1 minute. But before we get started today, tell me, what are the unusual non negotiables you’ve done for your health, your performance, and your bioharmony?

Dr. Peter Martone [00:04:39]:
What a great question. So a non negotiable for me is sleep Monday through Thursday. Well, actually Sunday through Thursday, I set a bedtime and I stick with it. Number two, which, being an Italian from Boston. Was never a word. But it’s putting myself in a high heat situation, like a sauna or jacuzzi and meditating. Right. Getting to a state where you’re not consciously thinking, but you’re allowing to open up your space with intention for download and to be able to slow my brain down, especially being the add brain that it is.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:05:22]:
It’s been unbelievable to really get myself resonating on all levels. Because if you don’t have a purpose in life, you’ll go enthusiastically in one direction from one. Yes, and then enthusiastically into another direction, which then down the road. It could be a contradiction to who you are as a person and it deters your resignation apart.

Nick Urban [00:05:46]:
Yeah. You can only commit to so many things and follow through on so many things at a time.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:05:51]:
Yeah. And they have to be in line with your sole purpose or the reason why you were put on this planet. And I believe that that is the third one. You got to write, you got to journal, you got to get your stuff down on paper, and you got to really start to lay out what you want your legacy to be on this planet.

Nick Urban [00:06:09]:
How do you go about saying no to all the opportunities that present themselves that can distract you from that? Because I’m sure you get lots of things coming your way. Everyone wants a piece of your attention, and it can be difficult to use that no and conserve your energy. But at the same time, it’s essential if you want to actually go down the path that you want to go down.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:06:28]:
I am a person that suffered from. I mean, I’ve always been a happy person. I have add. I have a really outgoing personality. And in the absence of clarity around my sole purpose, it’s difficult to tell differences between opportunities and distractions. I learned that from my good friend Garrett Gunderson. So I would just take opportunities, not knowing if they were aligned with where I wanted to go. And then I would find myself torn apart because of the level of contradiction.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:06:56]:
Whether it seems like a contradiction at the beginning, it’s like a health person open up a coin, laundry mat. It might be a good opportunity, but it is not in line with where I’m going. I have different projects going on with multiple different people right now, but they’re all going in line with what I’m trying to accomplish. So I will only take on a project if we have somebody to operate that and if we have staff that would be able to implement what the intention is that we’re doing. And I will only take on three projects at one time.

Nick Urban [00:07:33]:
So you’ve clarified add, come up with a code of conduct, a list, a checklist. Like, it has to meet these certain criteria in order for you to consider it.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:07:42]:
So with somebody that has cross dominance, and we can kind of go over that, that’s part of an avatar. Add an understanding of a person that you are. So that would be your right handed or your left eyed. That’s a cross dominant individual. That’s going to be more like an add person. That person is also going to have an addictive personality. So the addictive personality is going to find it difficult sleeping, different things like that. But what they will do is they will go down a road once they start drinking, they’ll keep drinking, and then they’ll go to something else, and then they’ll go to something else.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:08:13]:
If you don’t have frameworks and roadblocks or barriers to be able to in your life that are your non negotiables. Like, if I have a drink, I’ll only have two. Right. And at a specific time, I’ll write a new contract with myself and say I’ll have three or four because it’s one party a year. So those are non negotiables. You can have a good time, but you have to have those roadblocks. If not, you’ll go down the wrong path quickly.

Nick Urban [00:08:38]:
What is the link between add and productivity and sleep? Because I think there is something very profound there, and I don’t hear it discussed much at all.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:08:50]:
Yeah, you actually won’t hear it discussed at all because I look for a whole bunch of information and nobody’s talking about it. You see, most people talk, when they talk about sleep, they talk about sleep from, as far as I’m concerned, a two legged stool. Right. They talk about sleep from, oh, yeah, get better rest and recharge. So they call rest in, recharge, and then repair. You repair at night and you recharge at night. Well, what most people on this planet don’t understand is how your structure is being affected at night when you sleep, by the positioning that you’re sleeping in. And I’m talking about your posture or the structure of your spine.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:09:36]:
And the reason why people don’t dive into that is because then the next level, they don’t understand how the structure of your spine affects your total health and well being. And more specifically in the ADd population, because aDD is not a disease or a disorder. It’s just a brain that requires a lot of spin. So picture a top, the add brain. That top needs to be spinning a lot faster to keep it focused. The slower the top goes, the more all over the place it is. A good example of that would be if I’m studying, like, I went to try to write, I’m writing new protocols in a whole new certification program we’re putting together. And I tried to go up to my lake house, sit out on the deck, birds were chirping.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:10:24]:
I’m like, I’m going to get so much writing done in this space. A bird flew by. I looked at the bird, I heard a frog gobble. Whatever it does. A frog was chirping. I went to a bar, sat down, there were 100 people around, and I wrote for 3 hours. Because you have to have a lot going on in your brain to be able to focus in understanding that that’s because of the neurology in the brain. When you lose the structure of the spine based on the way you sleep, you slow the spine down in your brain, because we’re not concerned about structure and sleeping position.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:11:02]:
That’s causing anxiety because you’re not getting the neurological input into the vermis of the brain to be able to keep the prefrontal cortex focused. So positioning is really key when you’re talking about add and sleep.

Nick Urban [00:11:15]:
Absolutely. That’s a great way to conceptualize it. The spinning top. And also, this applies to really everyone, though your posture throughout the day, while you sleep, especially, I want to go into why it matters even more so when you sleep. But so people understand the importance of this in general. Can you talk about forward head posture and the different things you’re seeing and the impact those have on the body and mind?

Dr. Peter Martone [00:11:41]:
Yeah. So what’s really important to understand is the body, if it’s alive, is adapting to stress. Stress, as far as you stress is good stress, add, distress is bad stress. So you have to understand, if we jump into the water and it’s cold, our body will shiver. That’s adapting to stress. So when you are, let’s say you’re sleeping and your head’s coming forward, body posture adjusts to head position. So now as the head comes forward, the rest of the spine is rotating all the way down. That’s happening.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:12:21]:
The neurology is getting stressed. So then it’s engaging the muscle structure and twisting the spine all the way down to bring the posture back. Well, that tension with that forward head posture affects a very, very specific nerve, and that’s called your vagus nerve. The vagus nerve represents 80% to 75% to 80% of all of what’s called the parasympathetic nerve, innervation to the organs. So we have two very specific systems in our body. We have autonomic nervous system, which is broken up into sympathetics, which is your survive systems, and then your parasympathetics, which are your thrive systems. And 85% of the thrive systems are all through the vagus nerve. So when you suppress that structure due to forward head posture and you interfere with that vagus nerve function, you’re suppressing reproduction, hormonal balance, immune system and digestion.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:13:26]:
So all three of those systems get suppressed because your vagus nerve is compressed due to forward head posture.

Nick Urban [00:13:33]:
Yeah. And it’s such a small tweak, or it’s seemingly small tweak, that being on your screens, having your head a little more forward, peering at the computer or the phone or whatever it is, how just that over time becomes an adaptation that the body must do in order to be more efficient in your chosen activity. And then that also keeps you in a stressed out state which impairs digestion, which impairs the ability to metabolize and convert food into energy and things that your body can use for fuel. So this one little, what seems like a little tweak, actually can have such a cascade of negative biological consequences.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:14:13]:
Yeah. When you ever see anybody that looks in the mirror and they’re like, oh, my shoulders aren’t aligned, oh, my hips are out of alignment, or I believe that this shoulder is higher than the other. It’s all due to adaptation from forward head posture. And that’s being reinforced because we’re on the screen all day long. That’s being reinforced by side sleeping and tucking your chin down because your spine is like clay, it’s moldable and if you mold it in one position 8 hours a night, you’re going to destroy its structure. That’s why when somebody comes into our offices, I already know what’s wrong with them because everybody has the same thing that’s wrong with them because most people live the same lifestyles. So now when people come in and I’m like, listen, let’s just put your paperwork face down. I’m going to tell you what’s going on.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:15:01]:
And you can say it with such accuracy, add predictability, because most people have the same issues, because they all have the same patterns. Nobody’s changing it until now.

Nick Urban [00:15:12]:
And also with Ford head posture, you might know better than I do. For every inch of Ford head posture you have, how many extra pounds that’s.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:15:21]:
Putting of 20 pounds, give or take with the weight of your head. Yeah, 20 extra pounds of pressure, effective pressure on the back of your neck and down into your shoulders.

Nick Urban [00:15:30]:
So you can see with a two inch forward head posture, which isn’t all that uncommon, you’re all of a sudden putting a lot of extra strain on your neck, which in turn affects your entire body.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:15:41]:
Yeah. And then on a lateral x ray you see bone spurs off the back of the skull, which is often the case with somebody with that forward head posture that has it from a long period of time. And it’s right at the back of the skull, it feels like a little bump. But most people have a big bump with a big long bone spur coming off of it. And that’s just from having forward head posture their whole life.

Nick Urban [00:16:02]:
And then also the curvature of the spine is also extremely important. And if you have abnormalities there which are not really actually that abnormal, but they’re pathological, they’re not good. You can get kyphosis on lordosis, add other conditions. What’s the impact of those on Health?

Dr. Peter Martone [00:16:23]:
Body posture. Adjust the head position. That’s the writing reflex. I have a little spine in front of me. You should see a curve in the neck. As long as you have a curve in the neck, you’re going to have a curve that’s in the thoracic area and then an equal curve down in the lumbar area. So the curves of our spine are actually the shock absorbers. It’s not the discs which we thought.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:16:45]:
It’s the shape of the spine that works as a spine. As you damage the cervical curve, this is what happens. First you’re going to lose the nerve when you have forward head posture. Most of the time you’ve lost this curve. Then the body is going to make it up with these Scoliosis. And then every nerve in the spine is mapped. So if you have, let’s say, a kyphosis or a slight scoliosis, those are just altered curves in the spine. At t two to t four, you’re going to have breathing issues.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:17:18]:
That patient is going to have asthma, they’re going to have heart palpitations, t five to t nine, upper portions of the digestive tract, then gallbladder. Everything’s mapped along the spine. The spine is like a circuit panel for your Health. And then when the organ is irritated, then the muscle protects it. So people think they have muscle issues. But muscle pains actually window into your Health because it’s telling you what the organ is doing on the inside.

Nick Urban [00:17:47]:
That is such an important concept, to look beyond the muscle a lot of times, because the idea, the analogy of the spine being a circuit breaker, a control panel into your health, how do you actually go about using that? Okay, so say I have a certain muscle pain somewhere. Am I going to want to look up a specialist? And can I find a chart online that could help me decode where potentially in my spine there might be an issue?

Dr. Peter Martone [00:18:12]:
Now you’re talking my language. I love this. So we’re coming up with this certification program and what this certification is. It’s a neurostructural protocol. So it’s a way to look past somebody, listen to somebody’s symptoms, but look past somebody’s symptoms and treat what you see. Whether you’re a chiropractor, whether you’re a massage therapist, an occupational therapist, a trainer. I want people to all use a similar lens with how they see people, because then you guys will start to treat through this interdisciplinary network the same. So when you refer to somebody with an NSP certification, you know you’re looking at the same, and what you’re doing is you’re looking just what you said past the muscle tension, past the symptomatology, because the symptomatology is just the tip of the iceberg.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:19:02]:
And you’re looking at the neurology, because the neurology and how the body’s moving and functioning add how it feels on palpation will tell you way more about what’s going on.

Nick Urban [00:19:12]:
So there’s a chart that’s called the.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:19:15]:
Merrick chart Merc, and it’s a map of all the nerves and what you do. You google the Merrick chart. You can even go to Atlantis chiropractic or Atlantis wellness. And I think we have one on our website, but it just gives you a map of every single nerve. 80% to 85% of everybody in our office that has thyroid problems has degeneration at c five, c six, which is the direct innovation to the thyroid gland. So you’re able to start to see when you have internal issues. Holy macro. There may be a spine problem.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:19:51]:
So then I would go to a chiropractor that’s not focused on pain, but they’re focused on neurology.

Nick Urban [00:19:57]:
It seems like a great place to start in general, because, yeah, we can throw iodine and t two and other things to work on the thyroid. And ultimately, it might help while we’re using it, but then we stop and the problems persist. And if we actually address the root cause, the more foundational underpinning of why it’s not working properly, because all organs, glands, structures in the body should work properly, and given the right support, they will. But if we focus on this first, then perhaps we don’t need these other things that also come with their own whole set of downsides.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:20:32]:
And think about, like, we should be more concerned with being less invasive, right? We should start from non invasive and then work our way down. Let’s say you have your tv plugged in, and there’s a bunch of stuff plugged in, and all of a sudden, four things blow out in your living room. Where’s the first place you’re going to go? You’re going to go down to the fuse panel to see what the power is coming up to the living room. Well, in the body, it doesn’t work exactly like that. What happens is there’s a dimmer switch. So instead of the power going completely out, let’s say we dim the switch because of nerve pressure, down to 50%. Now the light is only at 50% function. You can put all the new bulbs you want in there and in the body.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:21:14]:
It’s the same way if you have pressure on the nerve that’s going to the digestive tract, you can put all of the good food you want in there. You can go gluten free, you can put all the probiotics you want. But if it’s not expressing health at 100%, you’re always going to have a suppression. That’s due to the structure that you can control. And that is the why behind why. I’m in the sleep industry. I didn’t get in the sleep injury to help people sleep. I mean, I think it’s awesome.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:21:40]:
I wanted to be here. I got in the sleep industry to change their structure in bed, use their time in bed to sleep correctly to improve the structure of their spine. So then we can improve their overall.

Nick Urban [00:21:53]:
Structure of their health, and particularly at night, because it’s something that everyone does consistently and for long periods, mostly interrupted time. Is that why?

Dr. Peter Martone [00:22:03]:
Exactly. There are some things within chiropractic where they’ll put something under their neck and they’ll say, okay, do this ten minutes a day, and you’ll do it ten minutes a day, and you’ll do it ten minutes a day until you don’t want to do it ten minutes a day anymore. And then it’ll go in the closet with everything else. I figured, I’m like, listen, what if we can do this for 8 hours a day and you can do it while you sleep? Because that’s the time when you’re going to bed. And it is possible. We take people that have been insomniacs, that have sleep apnea, that have issues with headaches, and we have almost helped every condition on the planet by getting them to sleep differently. And it’s not easy. It’s not easy to change the way that you sleep.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:22:50]:
So when I tell people, just start 1 hour a night in a position that is sustainable for the rest of the night.

Nick Urban [00:22:58]:
Okay, well, let’s dig into that then. What is the ideal sleeping position? That we can start off for the first hour of our night or ideally the whole night.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:23:07]:
So if we look at the spine, we don’t want a straight spine, we want a curve in the neck. So because we’re on a computer all day long and we’re texting, we want to. Instead of putting, let’s say we lie on our back, we don’t want anything under our head. When we put something under our head, we actually break down the structure of the spine. So we want something under our neck. We want something under our neck, but we don’t want to support the head at the same time. So we want to put something under our neck, add, then let that back of the head hang off of the pillow. All right, so you got the neck nest right here.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:23:47]:
You can use a neck nest, you can use a towel, you can use a shoe, whatever you want. But a neck nest is designed to be angled up, go under your neck, and then the weight of your head is off of the back of the neck nest. So it’s gently distracting or stretching the curve into my neck. So I’m not supporting my head with my chin tucked, I’m opening up my airway and I’m looking straight up at the ceiling.

Nick Urban [00:24:15]:
Yeah, Dr. Martone, I was thinking about this previously, and if forward head posture is indeed the problem that a lot of people who specialize in this stuff know that it is, and the mainstream awareness around that is growing, but if that’s a big issue and we’re sleeping with a huge pillow underneath our head every night, we’re going to be further atrophying the muscles in the neck and we’re going to be exacerbating the problem for hopefully 8 hours every single night. So it seems to me like the obvious thing would be to minimize the support under the head itself and to apply more support to the neck where it’s more needed underneath the back of the head. Why isn’t this well known? Why aren’t people doing this in general?

Dr. Peter Martone [00:24:59]:
First off, when you look at it, people don’t understand really the depth of how important it is to maintain a healthy cervical spine in overall health and well being. That is not understood. Somebody gets acid reflux, the first place they’re going to look is their stomach. They’re not going to look at the alignment of their structure. It’s just not ingrained. So their why is not big enough. And then the next thing is everybody tells you to sleep on your side, right, because of sympathetic drainage. So that’s beat into people’s heads.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:25:35]:
Because remember, we’re only looking at recharge and repair. Nobody’s looking at the structure that you’re destroying at night when you’re sleeping because nobody’s aware of it. There’s no research on it that they even understand what that’s doing. So what I had to do is I had to base all of my stuff on law and then do my own research. Law is wolf’s law. Bone will remould based on the stresses applied, Davis’s law. Tissue will remould based on the stresses applied, and then the writing. Reflex, body posture, adjust to head position.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:26:13]:
So all these things, when you integrate them together, these are laws of adaptability. It’s how the body works. It’s like gravity. You don’t need to do another research study to tell me which is going to drop faster because you have a law that says they’re both going to drop at a specific rate. So if I have a law, and I understand that if I want to have a bent arm, I take my arm, I hold it like this for four years, and I’ll have a bent arm because the tissue is going to adapt to it. So if I want to remould the structure in the other way, because I understand the nervous system is really important to be able to maintain a healthy spine, to have a healthy nervous system, I just need to stretch it that way. You did use a term, and I want to be very cautious on the term that you used and then how I want to reframe it. Okay.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:27:08]:
You use the term support. Anytime you support something, you make that thing in the body weaker. Anytime, whether you support the ankle, whether you wear a sneaker, you make the body weaker, whatever you’re supporting. So the difference in the model with the neck nest is to. I don’t even want to use the word support, but we are putting something under the neck, but you’re using the weight of the head to distract. Add. Distract is gentle stretching into the cervical curve. That’s what’s joint to elicit the curve.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:27:42]:
So a lot of people will use a cervical pillow where their neck is supported, but their head is also supported. Add, by doing that, you’re still dropping the arch down so the body responds to stress. Remember, you stress distress. Right. So we put a gentle stretching, which is a stress, into the cervical curve. Over a period of time, the tissue will adapt. If you just hold the tissue there, it’s not going to adapt because you’re supporting it.

Nick Urban [00:28:09]:
Yeah, it makes so much sense. And I’ve talked about this previously with running shoes specifically. I used to wear high arch orthotics, and I gave my feet all the support I could possibly want. And then one day I questioned that and decided, I’m going to try removing them. And I went to barefoot minimalist shoes and a lot of my nagging issues and injuries and shin splints. And stuff that plagued me throughout my athletic career, those all completely went away after, I don’t know, six months of switching my footwear. And so I totally agree with you that whenever you’re outsourcing the body’s key functions, such as support, you’re going to weaken the tissue around it and contort it into a different position than is ideal. So if people want to get started with this, you suggest they either get a neck nest or if they’re on the road and they don’t have access to one, a towel or something, and just start, I’m guessing, slowly in some way.

Nick Urban [00:29:04]:
I don’t know how you would start this slowly, but I’m guessing that it’ll take some exposure to adapt to it.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:29:09]:
Here’s like a pillow that somebody will normally have. Right. So what you do, instead of putting your pillow flat. Right. A pillow defined as a support for your head. No bueno, no good. So we’re going to take it, we’re going to angle it up like this, and then you’re going to come back and you’re going to tuck it under your neck, and you’re going to try to just stop like that for an hour a night underneath your neck so that the head is still over the back of it.

Nick Urban [00:29:41]:
Basically, it’s standing up in the bed. And you’re doing that for an hour a night to start out with. And then eventually, after you get more experience and exposure to this, then you can do it the entire night.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:29:53]:
Yeah. And you got to make sure it’s a soft pillow. It can’t be hard. And then one of the issues, too, is if you have add or stuff like that, you’re going to not feel safe in that position because you’re going to feel like you’re falling back. So then the other thing you could do is you could put two pillows, because, remember, angling the neck is what’s important, not as much as angling your body. So you can put two pillows up, sleep slightly sitting up, and still angle your neck at the same time. And then that’s a good way to make a gap between going from a side sleeper to a back sleeper, because when you’re angled, you’re going to feel less tension on your lower back and less tension through your ribs.

Nick Urban [00:30:37]:
Well, I was going to ask you your take on increasing the height of the head of your bed to support sympathetic drainage. But it looks like this right here could do something similar without even having to do that, just by using some extra pillows in bed.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:30:51]:
Yeah, you can do it through extra pillows. When does glymphatic drainage happen? When does the body rinse the body? So glymphatic drainage is basically everything swelling.

Nick Urban [00:31:02]:
Okay, maybe we should define what glymphatics.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:31:07]:
I’m going to really dumb it down. There’s avascular, which means certain joints don’t get blood supply, and then certain cells, when they’re working, they need to get nutrients within fluid, within the cells to be able to flush the cells of toxins and different things like that. A lot of it happens in the brain, a lot of it happens with cerebral spinal fluid. Around the brain there are just many different things. And the body detoxes at night when you’re sleeping, and that more specifically happens when you’re horizontal because gravity is not working on your body the entire night. So everything in your body swells. Every joint in your body is swollen. When you wake up, you’re actually taller in the morning than any other part of the day because everything’s swollen.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:31:57]:
Then when you stand up and you stop moving, that movement is like a pump. Then that fluid gets absorbed back into the tissue and your joint got nutrients at night. And then all of a sudden they’re ready to work during the day. So that lymphatic drainage, it’s critical to have a healthy structural spine. So the flow goes around the entire spinal cord. Nobody talks about when you lose the structure of the spine, what that does to impede cerebral spinal fluid, which destroys the glymphatic drainage.

Nick Urban [00:32:34]:
I’m guessing based on everything you’ve said so far, your hierarchy would be to sleep on your back with the neck distraction. I’ll call it as the very best, ideal position to sleep in, at least for 1 hour your night. Ideally the whole thing once you get there, then after that side sleeping would come next for whatever different reasons. And then after that, the very worst would be to sleep with your belly face down on the bed.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:33:02]:
So that’s great, because I’m coming up with a health clock, right? So we have biological, like a time clock, right. Midnight to midnight is 24 hours. My 24 hours health clock starts when you go to bed. So it’s going from nine to nine, right. So what we do and how we prepare, I want chronologically to work on a health clock, I guess you can say. So health starts at 09:00 p.m. The night before with how you fall asleep, and then it ends with how you go to bed. Right.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:33:39]:
The last time that you eat. So my health clock is a little bit different. So yes, health starts at 09:00 p.m. When you go to bed, remember, you’re only in control. We love to control things. We love it. We love it. You’re only in control with how you fall asleep.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:34:00]:
Once you fall asleep, your subconscious is going to take over. I love the people that say, oh yeah, I sleep on my left side, I sleep on my right side. I’m like, okay, what I want you to do is I want you to lie on the couch in the position that you fall asleep on and try to watch a two hour movie without turning. There’s no way. And you laugh because you know you can’t. With that in mind, you’re setting yourself up to toss and turn the entire night. Average person toss and turns 20 to 40 times a night because you’re in pain, because the position you’re falling in is not sustainable. So falling asleep the right way with how you fall asleep is critically important.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:34:41]:
So we start our health clock out falling asleep on our back with a pillow under our neck. Then you’re going to have to have, and this is why we have programs for people, how you manage your airway, how you don’t snore, and what you do to your jar and different things like that, and how you use your covers. So there are many aspects to this, but if you can just start by falling asleep on your back with a pillow underneath your neck, that’s the first health thing that you do during your health clock day.

Nick Urban [00:35:11]:
Just 1 hour per night is enough to make a significant difference.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:35:15]:
It’s enough to get the ball rolling. Yes. And then that 1 hour will turn into 2 hours. That 2 hours will turn into 3 hours eventually. But the habit is, that’s what I’m a specialist in, the ritual of how to fall asleep. Right. And then whatever happens in the middle of night, all other experts can tell you what’s happening and when you’re going in these cycles and what’s happening and then coming out. I am going to give you the best chance to be able to get the best night’s sleep.

Nick Urban [00:35:44]:
I’ve previously read that part of the reason that we toss and turn is because of pressure spots and we get uncomfortable in whatever position. And it’s interesting to reflect on the body even when you’re in REM sleep and temporarily paralyzed, so you don’t enact some of the dreams, the vivid dreams you’re having that you’re still shifting like that. Because it must be very important not to stay stationary in an uncomfortable spot like that for too long, so the.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:36:11]:
Body will toss and turn for three main reasons. First, the body’s in pain, right. Your pain center and your sleep center right next to, to it each other. So when it feels pain, it’s going to toss. That’s why if you have alcohol, which numbs your pain centers, you’ll wake up very stiff. Oh, I slept the wrong way. You didn’t sleep the wrong way. It’s just your body stayed in that position three times longer because it didn’t sense the pain because of your poor sleeping position.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:36:38]:
And then number two, the body doesn’t feel safe. It feels too exposed. And then the third one, everybody knows this. When you have a fever at night, you don’t sleep well. Or if you eat late, you don’t sleep well. It’s body core temperature. Your temperature is running too hot or too cold. So those are the really the three reasons why people will toss and turn.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:36:56]:
Body’s in pain, doesn’t feel safe. Temperature regulation. So if we know those, we can then set the body up in a put place to be able to allow you to put a glass of water in my chest, and it will still be there when I wake up. I do not move at all. Zero. My hands might move, but I don’t move.

Nick Urban [00:37:15]:
Interesting. That’s because you don’t have that same need to move when your body is feeling safe and you’ve taken care of the other two and you’re doing in the position that we just discussed.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:37:26]:
In a normal situation, when you fall asleep on your back, you will not toss and turn. Yeah.

Nick Urban [00:37:33]:
So the safety mechanism you were talking about a second ago, one of the reasons that you would toss and turn is because your body doesn’t feel safe. There’s something, I believe it’s called the first night syndrome, where you’re in a new place and you have trouble sleep initially because your body doesn’t feel safe, per se. Do you have any tips on overcoming that?

Dr. Peter Martone [00:37:54]:
Yeah, take a nap the nest day and try to get better sleep because I travel so much. That first night syndrome, it’s a real thing. We created a supplement that’s called deep sleep. And it’s magnesium, it’s got larginine to help your body cool. But still, even taking that, it helps me a little. Just, it’s tough. That first night is always tough for me.

Nick Urban [00:38:22]:
Well, Dr. Martonee, now that we’re talking about this, I’m thinking about some of the supplements that I’ve been using to help me sleep deeper. And I’m wondering if it’s a good idea to be using them. If they are, say, disabling my body’s natural proprioceptive feedback mechanism of not having one of those three components and therefore wanting to shift and turn. And if it’s instead like hitting me over the head, metaphorically with a sledgehammer and just like knocking me out, maybe I’m doing myself a disservice by taking those.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:38:51]:
Well, what are they?

Nick Urban [00:38:54]:
Glycine, taurine, magnesium, some full spectrum hemp. I have like potassium citrates. I’ll sometimes use a variety of different things. I’m not using sleep drugs and medications.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:39:05]:
Yeah, that’s good. So basically what you’re doing is you’re taking like amino acids and vitamins that support in the natural body’s ability to sleep. So I don’t have an issue with those.

Nick Urban [00:39:15]:
Okay, so only be something that’s stronger, like a really powerful gaba agonist or something that’s going to knock me out that then I want to be careful.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:39:22]:
Yes, gaba agonist, that’s a lot of high doses of melatonin, pain medication, nyquil with codeine, stuff like that. What else?

Nick Urban [00:39:31]:
For sleep and posture, maybe not even necessarily sleep, but for general posture, posture, I know you don’t like necessarily things that you do during the day because there are habits that require willpower to execute on every single time you want to go to do them. Are there any other tips or tricks or hacks or quick things that you like?

Dr. Peter Martone [00:39:52]:
Yeah. So remember body posture. Adjust your head position. We can stretch the neck back at night when we sleep, but the neurology is still in control. So what I mean by that is, yeah, you can stretch the tissue back, but then what’s going to solidify the neurology? So the body holds its head in that position and that’s balance work. So I like wobble boards. I like really hard wobble. Not like a bosu ball, that’s not hard enough.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:40:23]:
Like almost like a go fit wobble board on a hard surface where you have to train the brain to get out of pain and you have to train the vermis. I mentioned that before, but you got to train the vermis at such a level that challenges all of the destruction that wearing a shoe is doing onto the ground. Right. Because you have to understand your brain atrophies equal to the amount you don’t use it. So if you don’t read or you don’t write, you don’t talk, the brain atrophies. You sit down all day long, it’s going to atrophy because it’s not getting that vestibular, that sensory sentence to the brain. By challenging your center of gravity that much, you stimulate the brain and you build the prefrontal cortex, which is where your executive function is.

Nick Urban [00:41:11]:
And, of course, there’s a lot of different ways of doing that, some safer than others. Are there any recommendations you have of techniques or tools that someone who’s a bit later in life can do safely? Because last thing you want is for them to be doing this to work on their brain, to fall, to break a fracture, a hip or something, and then be in a lot more serious of a situation.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:41:32]:
Yeah. So theraban makes one where it’s just a disc, like a foam disc, that challenges their balance but doesn’t make them, allow them to fall down. I don’t recommend, like, I have a 92 year old. What you were talking to. He’s, I just can’t seem to do this. And I’m like, tell me how you’re doing. He’s like, I’m holding on to my kitchen table. Well, you have to understand, if you’re holding onto a table, you’re going to be leaning forward.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:41:59]:
Most people are okay forward. They’re not okay backwards. Once he lets his hands off, he’s going to fall backwards. So I told him, instead of doing that, go into a corner of the wall backwards and hold yourself here. Add, then just touch your hands to the wall because you’re going to be fine falling forward because your body will put your foot out. Falling backwards is where you’re going to stumble and fall. So put the wobble board or whatever you have up against a wall, into a corner of a wall. Use your two hands to challenge yourself backwards.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:42:34]:
But I’m not worried about you falling forward.

Nick Urban [00:42:36]:
It seems that the body also really prefers small, incremental changes over a longer time span rather than like, a quick, hard hitting therapy or session or something. In order to make lasting, persistent changes. Are there any other things that we can do? So we say we’re sleeping with the neck distraction that we discussed previously. We’re doing a little bit of balance work, say, a few minutes per day. Are there any other ways of soothing the nervous system into accepting these changes?

Dr. Peter Martone [00:43:06]:
Nick, you’re a shop tack. You’ve done your homework. Yeah. Whenever you make a decision, always take your decisions to the extremes to be able to figure out where the middle is. So, for instance, what’s better for the muscle? If you needed to get a certain, let’s say you need to get down into a split, would putting yourself into a split in 2 seconds. Would that be better or going into a long stretch over five minutes. Right. And allow the tissue to relax.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:43:42]:
So tissue does better over a long period of time. If you do it too quick, it’s going to break. So always take your decisions to the end ranges. What causes a joint to degeneration is adaptation. So arthritis, what causes arthritis? Oh, my mother had it, my father had. Oh, I have it in my back. Listen, that’s all garbage. It’s not hereditary.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:44:04]:
What causes arthritis is adaptation. The body, by law does not make mistakes. It’s adapting to stress. So tell me what’s better. I’m going to ask you a question. Let’s say, right, there’s no issue right now. If I want to degenerate my joint, would I move it around or would I cast it?

Nick Urban [00:44:25]:
Oh, you’d cast it.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:44:27]:
That makes sense to you? Makes sense to me. But I can tell you, millions and millions of people in the medical field believe that it’s hypomobility, not hypermobility, that causes degeneration. It’s not the way the body adapts in a hypomobile segment like in the spine where there’s 25 joint creating one range of motion. If you make some hypomobile, you’re going to have hypermobility above and below. But it’s not the hypermobility that’s causing the degeneration. That’s what I mean. When you start to think about how the body works, take it to extremes. So in order for you to think and calm down and get into this high rate variability state, or this parasympathetic state, are you going to run from a tiger or you’re going to sit down and meditate? You’re going to meditate.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:45:20]:
So what is the best way to stimulate calmness and relaxation and body healing? Meditate and then get yourself into a high heat situation. So if you put yourself in a high health situation, it stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system. If you’re sleeping and you use pressure over your eyes or pressure over your head, like with the sleep mask, that stimulates safety, just like the ostrich sticking its head in the ground when it’s in trouble. If you want to sleep better and more soundly, you can use pressure over your eyes and you’ll get 20% to 30% improvement in deep sleep just by using pressure, because you are simulating safety.

Nick Urban [00:46:04]:
Oh, that’s really cool. I was going to also ask you about your thoughts on weighted blankets. And it sounds like you can get the benefits of weighted blankets. Without even a blanket, you just pop an eye mask on.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:46:14]:
There you go. Remember, pain, safety, temperature, right? If we know those are the reasons and airway problems, but if we know those are the reasons why we don’t sleep well, we can take those to the extremes and then nurture it. So I know if anybody that has a sleep problem in, let’s say, one of our programs, you’ll go through it. It’s not me that’s going to help you. It’s just the understanding of knowing how the body adapts. You give me a lot. I shall not kill. I don’t have to go to 1000 people add, say, can I kill this person? Can I kill this person? Can I kill this person? No.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:46:53]:
I have an overriding law that defines my actions. So if we know these specific things, and I can teach you those laws, you can start build a sleeping plan or a health 24 hours health plan that starts to work into your rituals.

Nick Urban [00:47:12]:
We’ll start to wind down. Before we do, what’s your take on foam rolling or like very light stretching, say, for a few minutes a day to get some mobility back in the spine or the cervical vertebrae?

Dr. Peter Martone [00:47:25]:
I love it. Anytime you stress the tissue, part of the aging process is scar tissue in specific tissue. So if you do gentle stretching to help reposition that scar tissue in the line of the fibers, scar tissue is like, picture the grains of wood going one way. Scar tissue is tissue that goes the opposite way. You can stretch that tissue into the grain of the wood. Even though the scar tissue is there, it’s not going to be as much of an issue. So foam rolling, light stretching, I love that stuff.

Nick Urban [00:47:58]:
Well, Dr. Martone, if people want to connect with you to grab a neck nest to join one of your programs, how do they go about that?

Dr. Peter Martone [00:48:07]:
They can go to neck nest. Neck nest. If they use the code Nick ten. Right? Nick ten. They’ll save 10% off of anything that we have at Neck nest if they’re interested in the education, which is really what I think. I’m not in the sleep industry to sell pillows. I’m in the sleep industry to change lives, because the why behind the pillow is more important to me than a pillow itself. They can go to d r sleep,

Dr. Peter Martone [00:48:42]:
They can take a quick sleep risk assessment, see how their sleep habits are affecting them, and they can choose a couple of different programs that we have, low cost programs that they can put themselves in just to continue their education.

Nick Urban [00:48:56]:
All right, if there was a worldwide burning of the books, and all knowledge on earth is lost. But you get to save the works of three teachers. Who would you choose and why?

Dr. Peter Martone [00:49:06]:
First, the Bible. Right. I’d save that one. And one thing that really had been a game changer for me, which I really loved, is breaking the habit of being yourself by Joe Dispenza. I just really think know the understanding, how we work and how the brain works. And then another book that’s been transformational in my world is driven to distraction by Ned Hallowell. It’s a book on add. And it’s not so much that add is a disease.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:49:38]:
It’s more of a gift. So understanding how your brain works, understanding when you react viscerally to something or you’re angry about something, it’s an old program that’s running in your mind. So figuring out how to clear all that stuff and how you can become a stronger human with education and education in a direction of purpose really has been a game changer for me. And those three books combined really has helped me quite a bit.

Nick Urban [00:50:06]:
Well, thank you for that, and thank you for joining me on the podcast today. I have one final question for you. What is one thing that your tribe does not know about you?

Dr. Peter Martone [00:50:15]:
I got surrounded by sharks on a scuba event. So I was down deep in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and we were going for lobsters, and I had a lobster in my bag. We were doing a night dive. So it was right before it was night. So we’re doing an orientation dive, and we look up, and there’s 15 shocks circling us. So me and my buddy are going back to back, and they’re coming in at us, and we’re poking them with the stick, right? I had a knife. He had like a poker stick. And you’re down there, you think you’re going to get eaten alive.

Dr. Peter Martone [00:50:52]:
And we looked down, and our lobsters were floating. So they were after our lobsters. So we dumped the lobsters. And then once we had, like, 15 lobsters. So once we let the lobsters go, the shocks let us go, and we were out of it.

Nick Urban [00:51:06]:
I’m sure that affected your sleep that night, too. It did, and it’s still affecting my sleep, yeah. Well, Dr. Martonee, thank you again for joining me on the podcast. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you today and understanding more about this really important topic that has not been addressed in nearly the depth and breadth it needs to be. Until next time, I’m Nick Urban here with Dr. Peter Martone, signing out from Have a great week and be an outlier.

Nick Urban [00:51:34]:
I hope that this has been helpful for you. If you enjoyed it, subscribe and hit the thumbs up. I love knowing who’s in the 1% committed to reaching their full potential. Comment 1% below so that I know who you are. For all the resources and links, meet me on my website at I appreciate you and look forward to connecting with you. As a reminder, please tell your primary health professional.

Connect with Dr. Peter Martone @ Neck Nest

This Podcast Is Brought to You By

Nick Urban is a Biohacker, Data Scientist, Athlete, Founder of Outliyr, and the Host of the Mind Body Peak Performance Podcast. He is a Certified CHEK Practitioner, a Personal Trainer, and a Performance Health Coach. Nick is driven by curiosity which has led him to study ancient medical systems (Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Hermetic Principles, German New Medicine, etc), and modern science.

Nick Urban

Music by Luke Hall

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2 thoughts on “Cracking the Sleep Code: Decoding sleep Posture & overall health”

  1. Super informative. This episode got me looking into my sleep posture. I’ve always just let myself get comfy rather than making sure that Im giving my body the right kind of recovery at night. So thanks for this!
    PS. I made my own little neck nest out of the pillows I have. I don’t wake up to dry mouth now.


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