Poor sleeping habits can lead to a number of problems, both severe and mild – back pain, snoring, numbness and even wrinkles. If my son’s pain stemmed from his sleep posture, could the chronic pain I was experiencing be linked to my own sleep position?
In November of 2006, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Shortly after my surgery to remove the cancer, I developed excruciating pain in my right shoulder radiating up my neck and down through my fingertips. Lifting a cup of tea was even painful. My endocrinologist told me to “get use to the pain” and shared that his wife had the same cancer, surgery and treatment and “is in pain everyday of her life.” Unfortunately, this is an answer many others learn to accept, but not me! After seeking a second and even a third medical opinion, I knew there had to be a better solution than additional surgery or medication to manage the pain. So, I set out on a holistic journey to resolve my pain.
The first stop was a round of physical therapy. While explaining my situation to the therapist, she grabbed my incision. Although I practically shot through the roof with pain, it was the best thing she could have done. She increased circulation through the scar tissue and recommended exercises to release the muscle tension I created by constantly protecting my incision. By learning to let go, I began feeling better.
However, better still wasn’t good enough for me. Prior to my cancer diagnosis, I had led a very healthy life, minus an underactive thyroid condition that was not related to my cancer. So I continued on my journey to the chiropractor’s office. A series of manipulations combined with deep tissue massage provided greater relief.
Then I met a friend, whose transformation took my breath away. I asked him to share his secret and he told me that he gave up gluten and recommended for me to check it out. By 2014, I was getting regular deep tissue massages and chiropractic treatments, exercising and following a low-inflammatory diet for pain management. I even explored acupuncture! I was fully committed to a healthy lifestyle every day, but still I woke up in pain each morning. After all that, I too, was thinking I might be in pain for the rest of my life.
Then, one day my son Chase woke up with a kink in his neck. I made an appointment for him to see my chiropractor. The doctor attributed his pain to sleeping on his stomach, but said he didn’t know of any products that could help him change his sleep posture. Raised in a solution-driven environment, Chase turned to the Internet, where he found a recommendation to put a tennis ball in the front of a T-shirt pocket to cause pain when he rolled over onto his stomach. However, it didn’t account for my son’s stubbornness, so he just moved the T-shirt over and continued his poor sleeping habit. Frustrated, he then asked me to create a better solution. My father Charlie Tyke, most well-known as the creator of Little Tike Toys and 2/90 Sign Systems, is an accomplished industrial designer (that’s an understatement but I’ll save that for another blog). His philosophy of sustainable design was instilled in me so I shared with my son, “If you shouldn’t be sleeping on your stomach, then maybe somebody else shouldn’t be sleeping on their side or back.” So I set out to design a product that could help him and adapt to address all kinds of ailments caused by sleep positions.
Once Chase experienced success and improved health by maintaining his optimal sleep position, I finally connected the dots for my own situation. If his pain stemmed from his sleep posture, could the chronic pain I was experiencing be linked to my own sleep position? I remembered that I had started sleeping on my right side after surgery to protect my incision. Using an extra prototype of the sleep aid I designed for my son, I adjusted it to encourage back sleeping, and the next morning I was thrilled to find that my pain was noticeably reduced.
Encouraged by these results, I knew I had to share my findings to help others improve their health through better sleep. Poor sleeping habits can lead to a number of problems, both severe and mild—back pain, snoring, numbness and even wrinkles. This needless acceptance of pain and poor health is the reason we at iSleepFit™ are excited to launch our first product this fall. We’re out to create a sleep revolution by providing inspiration and a product that gently reinforces you to maintain your healthiest sleep position. Make the journey with us at iSleepFitSystem.com.