Though both quality and quantity of sleep are important, the loss of sleep quality is the most critical factor. Therefore if your sleep is disrupted on a frequent basis it is likely that your muscles and joints will ache. Not surprisingly many of our facial pain patients or those with a Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) problems report poor sleep quality and or quantity.
Unfortunately, however, when our lives become busy and complicated, sleep becomes less of a priority for many of us. Though many of us pay attention to eating properly and exercising on a regular basis, we do not pay sufficient attention to receiving adequate sleep. For many of our female patients with newborn or young children at home, loss of sleep quality is a big concern and likely one of the reasons their jaws ache in the morning.
Your goal then is to obtain 7-8 hours of quality sleep, which will assist your body in maintaining muscle and joint comfort. In order to consistently get enough sleep and sleep soundly, the following recommendations may be helpful.
- Reduce noise, light, and temperature extremes in your bedroom
- Try to avoid serious exercise within 2-4 hours of your bedtime
- Keep your overall consumption of nicotine and/or caffeine to a minimum but certainly within 2-3 hours of bedtime
- Try to establish a consistent routine prior to bedtime
- Try to find activities that will disengage you from the busyness of your day
When none of the above solutions works, then it’s time to look at the possibility that you may require a more formal evaluation to determine if a sleep apnea or insomnia condition is upsetting your sleep. Both of these conditions can impact the quality of your sleep and therefore set the stage for muscle and joint pain emerging.
If you have a history of snoring, it may indicate that your airway is compromised while sleeping predisposing you to a sleep apnea condition. Sleep apnea can often be managed with an oral appliance and I certainly can help make this determination when you come to my office for an evaluation.
Research has shown that obtaining a good night sleep on a consistent basis is critical to maintaining health and our ability to function throughout the daytime hours. Most importantly, research has revealed that a loss of either sleep quality or quantity can lead to muscle and joint pain along with tension headaches.