Lots of people make noises when they sleep. There are the loud breathers, the snorers and the people who talk like it’s three in the afternoon. There the tossers and turners and those who seem to
have jumped from an action movie. It can be difficult to share your bed with people like this, but for the people who sleep alone, they may not even realize they act this way. The important issue to recognize is that all of these may lead to sleep issues. If you’re tossing and turning, you are not getting a good night’s sleep. If you find yourself grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw as you rest you will feel sore and fatigued in the morning. This can go on to affect the rest of your day and even your week. You might be less productive at work or maybe you’re a bit more irritable around your family. The important thing is to take note of your actions and how you behave. You might have a sleep disorder and not even realize it, and sometimes a device like this can help.
There are other disorders that will affect you mainly during the day but also carry over to night time. One of these is the condition that affects your joints between your jaw and skull, known as temporomandibular joint or TMJ. You may have heard of TMJ standing for tooth, mouth and jaw and that’s not wholly correct. TMJ is actually part of a disorder known as temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD. If you suffer from TMD this is going to impact your sleep: a lot. Here are some warning signs:
Here’s what you need to know about this disorder:
- You’re probably grinding your teeth. You can learn to recognize and control daytime habits like clenching teeth, chewing gum and biting your nails.Unfortunately, you can’t stop grinding and clenching during sleep because these are controlled in the brain and happen during deep sleep. In these cases, night guard therapy can reduce muscle overload and save tooth structure, but night guards do not stop the grinding. Some patients with TMD present with morning headaches from grinding or clenching their teeth during the night,” says Dr. Kahn.
- It may run in families. There’s some evidence that grinding is common among family members. Studies have shown a familiar tendency.
- Drugs might play a role. Grinding can also be influenced by certain drugs like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) used to treat depression, as well as alcohol use, smoking and stress.
What you can do
It’s important to be conscious of your daytime habits.
“Your teeth should only come into contact when you swallow, which is only about 17 to 20 minutes a day,” Dr. Kahn says. “We teach patients to practice having their lips together, teeth apart and tongue resting lightly behind the front teeth.” Try saying “N”– this is where your tongue should rest.
To address TMD, you should also:
- Avoid chewing gum and other chewy foods
- Use moist heat to ease facial pain
- Maintain good posture when using a computer
- Try to sleep on your back to help ease TMD pain; avoid stomach sleeping
- Take steps to reduce stress and tension
You know those mouthpieces we’re always telling you about? If you grind your teeth, these are also going to help combat the pressure of your teeth squishing against each other and causing you pain in the morning. You need to make sure you invest in the right one, however. You don’t want to inflict more pain on yourself.