Trouble Sleeping? Don’t Pop a Pill

If you’re like several of my clients, you’re not sleeping well. You’re tossing and turning throughout your night and you wake up feeling as tired as when you went to bed. And, if you’re like several of my clients, you don’t realize that the reason why you can’t sleep is the same reason why you have hip, knee and back pain. Your posture is compromised, and your sleeplessness is yet another red flag your body is waving to try to get your attention to alert you that “something isn’t right!”

I know many of my clients, and most likely several of you, have resorted to sleeping pills to assist with getting a good night’s rest. I know you’re not planning on making a habit of it, and you’re thinking that taking a pill a few times a week won’t do any damage, but you might want to reconsider that line of thinking.

According to a new study, researchers have discovered that sleeping pills are linked to a more-than four fold risk of premature death! When I read that statistic I immediately assumed they were talking about subjects who take sleeping pills on a nightly basis, or close there to it. However, to my surprise, those suffering from premature deaths weren’t chronic users of the pills. Subjects took between 18 and 132 doses per year. Did that sink in? 18 doses per year. That’s only 1.5 pills per month. 132 doses per year calculates to 11 pills per month. Pretty staggering and eye-opening in my opinion. If you think that taking one sleeping pill every few days “won’t kill you,” as it turns out, it will earlier than anticipated.

Just like there is a natural way to eliminate your pain, there is also a natural way to get you sleeping through the night. The answer to both is Egoscue. When clients aren’t sleeping, I almost always see the same upper-back position. Typically their upper back is rounded/flexed forward and their head is forward of their shoulder (from the side view). This is usually what I see:

The vast majority of the time, when someone complains of insomnia (or just a general restlessness when sleeping) it’s because the muscles of the thoracic spine are “locked” in a flexed position. When it comes time to lay down for the night, the body just can’t relax. The muscles don’t know how to “turn off” because they are so used to working and being “on” that they don’t know any different.

The key to you sleeping well is to get your upper spine muscles to relax. To remind them that they don’t have to work all the time. The remedy? Try these two e-cises shortly before bed. Take them in order and then report back to me in a week and let me know what’s different.




Lie on your back with your legs up over a block or chair. Place your arms out to the sides at 45 degrees from your body with palms up. Relax your upper back and notice if your low back flattens to the floor evenly from left to right.


SETS: 3     REPS: 20

Lie on your back with your legs up over a large block or chair, knees bent at 90 degreesRelax your legs, lower back and stomachReach arms straight up above your chest, elbows locked and hands clasped together. Now lower your hands down to the floor above your head (as seen in the picture above). Do not contract your abdominal muscles, keep the stomach and lower back relaxed. Do not let your arms bend at the elbow, keep them straight throughout the e-cise. If you are unable to lower your hands all the way to the floor behind you, go only as low as you are able while maintaining the straight arm position

Try these every night for a week. I guarantee you will be sleeping better and/or more comfortable when you are lying in bed. Don’t forget to report back to me!

QUESTIONWhat felt different after doing these?