Can TMJ Affect Sleep?

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders can be a source of chronic pain and discomfort. This can impact various aspects of your life, including your sleep quality. The TMJ is the joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. When it becomes dysfunctional, it can lead to sleep disturbances and other related issues. 

Luckily, your dentist can help reduce your symptoms and lessen your pain.

Can TMJ Affect Sleep?

The Connection between TMJ and Sleep

You may not realize it, but your jaw can greatly impact your sleep health. 

Disrupted Sleep Patterns: TMJ disorders can cause jaw pain, headaches, and facial discomfort. This makes it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. The disrupted sleep patterns can lead to daytime fatigue or irritability. Also, it will cause a reduced overall quality of life.

Teeth Grinding: Many with TMJ disorders also have bruxism. This condition is when a person will grind or clench their teeth during sleep. Bruxism can lead to more issues. For example, you can develop tooth wear and jaw muscle fatigue. 

Sleep Apnea Association: There is a potential correlation between TMJ disorders and sleep apnea. While not all TMJ disorder cases are linked to sleep apnea, some may experience both at the same time. As a result, this can intensify their sleep problems.

How Your Dentist Can Help

Diagnosis and Evaluation: Your dentist can examine your jaw, teeth, and bite to diagnose TMJ disorders. They will evaluate your symptoms and review your medical history. They may request other diagnostic tests, such as dental imaging or jaw tracking.

Mouthguards: Your dentist may suggest a mouthguard to reduce the symptoms of TMJ disorders. These oral appliances are made to fit your mouth and help reposition the jaw to reduce pain. This prevents teeth from grinding during sleep.

Orthodontic Treatment: In some cases, orthodontic treatment may be needed to correct any dental misalignment that causes TMJ disorders. Straightening the teeth can lower stress on the TMJ and improve sleep quality.

Stress Management Techniques: Stress can worsen TMJ symptoms and disrupt sleep. Your dentist may suggest stress management techniques, such as relaxation exercises. Over time, this can reduce the tension in your jaw.

Lifestyle Changes to Improve Sleep

In addition, several lifestyle changes can promote better sleep and reduce TMJ symptoms. It is crucial to develop a good quality sleep pattern. Over time, you can have severe side effects from poor sleep. Therefore, you can try to add several changes to better your sleep. 

Good Sleep Hygiene: Establish a consistent sleep routine, create a comfortable sleep environment, and limit exposure to electronic devices before bed.

Stress Reduction: Use stress reduction techniques into your daily routine. For example, you can try meditation, deep breathing exercises, or relaxing activities before sleep.

Diet and Nutrition: Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and large meals close to bedtime. Opt for a balanced diet rich in nutrients to support overall health and improve sleep quality.

Exercise Regularly: Engaging in regular physical activity can help reduce stress, improve sleep quality, and promote overall well-being.