Do sleep disorders cause postural problems?

Different people hold their heads in different positions. Why? The answer is both simple and complex – so lets go for the simple reason – try this ….

Stand upright and look out at the horizon – or where it is even if you can’t see it.

Now you head is as straight as it’s going to be. Tap your teeth which ones hit first? Now tip you head back and tap your teeth again, now where do they touch?

First degree thinking

So your head position and the way your teeth touch are related. You’ve just earned your Dental Degree. (Please don’t ask why dentists adjust fillings when you’re laying down).

So if there was a jaw alignment problem you could imagine it might affect your head, right?

OK, now try this – stand upright like before and breathe in through your nose or mouth, whatever you do naturally. Feel the air going in and out. Now posture your head forward and tip up your chin – and try it again. The air goes in and out more easily doesn’t it?

So you’ve now got another degree. Want one more?

So can you imagine that having difficulty breathing might affect how your jaws grow? Can you imagine that you might try to braethe more easily by holding your head forward. Can you imagine that might cause strain on neck muscles and associated nerves?

Remember much of the structural issues we suffer are related to body dysfunction. Airway issues are a big cause of structural problems such as forward head posture (FHP) – just ask a physiotherapist or a chiropractor!

So there are a few ways forward.

First at least suspect an airway issue – get tested. Then strengthen the muscles – sure its not treating the cause directly but you might not need that much involvement. If you do, then get a dentist qualified in airway management and treatment planning to have a look at you. Never a problem trying easier things first, providing you know what you’re doing (or not doing).



Exercises to stabilise or improve FHP will help greatly of course, but should be done with the correction of the cause in mind – this may likely be related to an airway issue. Together management may give great improvement and benefits.

Remember much of the structural issues we suffer are related to body dysfunction.

While I still recommend that you have a diagnostic sleep test the potential benefits from this easy muscle exercise program may help significantly in this area.

It is usually indicative of an airway obstruction which is the cause of sleep disordered breathing, under which umbrella falls snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. If in doubt ask you health care professional.


Good sleep is crucial to good health and longevity.

Dr. Stephen Bray 2019

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