Is Teeth Grinding Causing Your Insomnia?

Your Unknown Habit Could Prevent Deep Sleep

If you believe that you have been sleeping enough at night but still always wake up tired, there could be a rather easy explanation for it. There is a big difference between sleeping and getting restful sleep. While you may be in bed long enough, a habit you may have – teeth grinding, also called bruxism – may be preventing you from getting the deep sleep you need every night. 



Feeling like you have been experiencing insomnia lately and cannot find out why? There may be a rather simple explanation you should look into. The solution can enable you to get real restful sleep.


Stages of Sleep

Every night, the average person goes through five different stages of sleep. While it may vary a little, the average person takes about 100 minutes to cycle through all five stages. Once the five stages are completed, the cycles start over again. 


Relaxation and Sleep

In order to get rest during sleep, it is necessary to become relaxed. Only when you are completely relaxed can you get the sleep that truly refreshes. This phase is the fourth phase of sleep and it is where deep sleep occurs. 

In the fifth stage, called the REM stage for Rapid Eye Movement, is when you will dream. At the same time, you will be completely relaxed and unable to move. Although you will experience increased brain activity during this stage, your voluntary muscles will actually become paralyzed. You are completely unable to move your arms or legs during this stage. 


Teeth Grinding

Grinding your teeth at night is a habit that many people engage in. Some people are completely unaware that they are doing it. The problem is that there is often a constant grinding of teeth, which means that the jaw is not relaxed. Clenching your teeth is similar because it places constant pressure on the jaws and teeth. 

Not only does this grinding and clenching cause sleep problems, but it can also cause dental problems. The teeth can be ground down until they are short, or they may chip or crack. Fillings may be lost, veneers damaged, teeth may become loose. It can also damage or cause pain in your jaw joint. 


Tense Jaw Muscles

Because of the constant pressure on your teeth, it means that you are not relaxing. You need to be relaxed in order to go into the stages where you obtain restful sleep. This habit could very well be the reason why you are not getting the restful sleep you want. 

Many people grind their teeth and are not aware of it. The dentist can tell quickly by looking at your teeth whether or not you have this habit. 


The Cause of Teeth Grinding

There is often a direct connection between the stress you feel on a daily basis and how much you grind your teeth. It can come in the form of anxiety, frustration, or anger. Generally, the more stress you feel, the more you will grind your teeth. Not taking time to relax can cause stress to build. Substances such as alcohol can make the problem worse. 


Sleep Apnea

Researchers have concluded that another major reason for not getting restful sleep is sleep apnea. Teeth grinding is often a symptom of it. This health problem is experienced by many people and it leads to breathing problems with some serious complications.  


People at Risk for Sleep Apnea

Although the list of people who are most at risk of sleep apnea has been rather set in the past, some new groups of people have recently been added. Those with the highest risk factors include:

  • Being overweight
  • People with long or thicker necks
  • Males – have twice the risk as females
  • Older adults
  • Family history
  • Smokers have three times the risk

Recent additions to the list of risk factors include:

  • Petite women
  • People who did not breastfeed when an infant
  • Children who have ADHD. 


Tips for Reducing Stress

There are many ways to de-stress and cope with anger issues, frustration, or anxiety. One of the best ways is to develop a regular exercise program. Other ways include taking a warm bath, listening to music, or taking a walk. 


Complications of Sleep Apnea

Besides being fatigued most of the day and grinding your teeth, sleep apnea has some potentially serious and even potentially fatal complications. This is caused by incorrect breathing which means that body parts are not getting all the oxygen they need. They include:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes
  • Liver problems
  • Heart attacks
  • Stroke
  • Depression


Getting a Diagnosis

Most people are unaware that they grind their teeth at night until their dentist tells them that they do. In order to get a diagnosis of sleep apnea, a sleep study is necessary, which the dentist can recommend for you. Once you are diagnosed, the dentist can help you with teeth grinding and sleep apnea. 


If you have insomnia and are looking for sleep apnea treatment, you can contact Tooth HQ Board Certified Periodontists. We can  provide you with various treatments to help you stop grinding teeth, and give you a customized mouth guard to protect your teeth. We have offices in the Carrollton, Cedar Hill, Mockingbird/SMU and Grapevine, TX areas. For a consultation with a TMJ specialist, you can contact out ToothHQ office today at 214-731-0123