3203 HWY 9 E, Unit B, 
Little River, SC 29566

Insomnia | Little River, SC

There are more than 3 million cases of insomnia yearly in the U.S. alone and likely just as many that are unreported or untreated. Most people have experienced sleeplessness at one time or another for many different reasons; however, we differentiate insomnia as the persistent inability to sleep.

You are likely well aware of the importance of sleep in maintaining physical and mental health. But what happens when you can't sleep? It can be the start of a downward trend in your health and vitality. In people who experience difficulty sleeping we see a higher incidence of chronic conditions. About 40% of those suffering from insomnia are also diagnosed with a psychological disorder.

So, what is the cause of your inability to sleep and how is it best treated? Traditional treatments include different forms of therapy, medications, and devices designed to aid healthy sleep. If you have not previously tried these methods, you would need to consult your medical provider to explore these avenues.

I want to take the time to really focus on some healthy suggestions that might help you achieve more and better sleep naturally. These are not major secrets but you may be surprised how often people overlook these factors in achieving better sleep. The big idea behind these suggestions is that you need to make an investment in better sleep by making small changes that will promote a healthier lifestyle.

  • Unplug yourself from technology a minimum of one hour before you would like to fall asleep. The influence of light on your brain signals your body to maintain a wakeful state. This means that staring at an illuminated screen whether it's the TV, your phone, or laptop; can influence your ability to fall asleep.
  • Along the same note, moving electrical items out of the room you sleep in can help. Electronics emit light and signals that interfere with sleep.
  • Cut back on your usage of stimulants. Caffeine contained in energy drinks, coffee, tea, and certain supplements takes time for the body to metabolize. Nicotine is another commonly used stimulant. Using these substances within three to four hours of bedtime can reduce the amount and quality of sleep you achieve.
  • Regular exercise especially done outdoors can expose you to healthy levels of sunlight that can help your body maintain a healthy circadian rhythm. Besides for promoting general health, exercise can reduce stress and promote sleep quality. On the other end of the spectrum, if you exercise vigorously every day you may want to cut back especially if you are not achieving an adequate quantity and quality of sleep. It is wise to avoid exercise in the evenings before you go to bed.

If you have tried these suggestions, let's take a second to consider the part of the body that controls the sleep and wake cycles. It's called the brainstem or the medulla oblongata to be precise. Some of you may remember the medulla oblongata from science class or from the Adam Sandler movie The Waterboy. According to the professor, the medulla oblongata was "what makes alligators ornery" instead of Bobby Boucher's answer that alligators were ornery because they had "all them teeth and no toothbrush." Anyway, your brainstem is all about your ability to sleep and much more as well.

Gottesmann (1) produced a paper that discussed the role of the brainstem/medulla as it pertains to sleep and being awake. Briefly, he concluded that the medulla oblongata affects both the quantity and quality of sleep. He also goes on to say that not only does the medulla induce sleep but that its functional ability is affected by sleep deprivation. This is particularly meaningful when you consider how much the medulla and brainstem is in charge of: mediating all neurological signals between the brain/body, breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, consciousness, and more. Basically, the brainstem is critical to maintaining life.

Anatomically the medulla oblongata is located where the head and neck meet. It descends from a large hole in the bottom of the skull known as foramen magnum and further descends through the atlas (C1) and axis (C2) vertebrae at the upper cervical region of the spine. Here we have a weak point in the body that can adversely affect the function of the brainstem. Atlas and axis are shaped vastly different than the other bones in the spine which gives them a wider range of motion than the rest of the spine and the ability to turn your head to either side. There is also no disc between these bones but rather two moving capsules between the skull/atlas and two moving capsules between atlas/axis. It is for these reasons that slight misalignment or subluxation can occur and introduce abnormal stress on the brainstem. Does it stand to reason that stress on your medulla could interfere with your ability to achieve good sleep and even with your body's ability to function normally?

Upper cervical care is about correcting the subluxation that is causing stress on the brainstem. Many people with sleep troubles and other conditions related to the brainstem have received great benefit from upper cervical care including the ability to sleep normally. Upper cervical procedures are safe, non-invasive solutions to promote an individual's greatest health potential. Analysis of the problem-causing subluxation is done through neurological testing and x-ray study. During the care period, an adjustment or series of adjustments are administered to the upper neck to realign the upper cervical spine and free the brainstem from insult. Adjustment procedures do not involve twisting the neck forcefully or manipulating any other region of the spine.

The first step to initiating the care process is by scheduling a consultation with the doctor. The consultation does not cost anything but is a valuable meeting to determine if you qualify for care and if you are a good fit for this office. If you struggle with insomnia as many do and have tried other treatments without success, upper cervical care has helped people just like you. Call now to schedule your consultation or to find a provider in your area: (843) 399-0182.

  • 1. Gottesmann, C. The neurophysiology of sleep and waking: intracerebral connections, functioning and ascending influences of the medulla oblongata. Prog Neurobiol. 1999 Sep;59(1):1-54.

The medulla oblongata of the brainstem as it descends through the foramen magnum of the skull.

The atlas (C1) vertebra as it relates to the skull and surrounds the medulla oblongata. Subluxation at this region is common and is a detriment to normal brainstem and bodily function.

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