The inability to get to sleep, stay asleep, or feel refreshed in the morning is closely associated with how you tolerate pain. If you suffer from jaw pain or chronic facial pain problems, understanding your sleep history is very important.
Though both quality and quantity of sleep are important, the loss of sleep quality is the most critical factor in how you tolerate pain. If your sleep is disrupted on a frequent basis, it is likely your muscles and joints will ache. Not surprisingly, many facial pain patients and those with a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problem report poor sleep quality and or quantity.
When life becomes busy and complicated, sleep can become less of a priority. In spite of eating properly and exercising on a regular basis, you may not be paying sufficient attention to getting adequate sleep. Especially in my female patients with newborn or young children at home, loss of sleep quality is one of the reasons their jaws can ache in the morning.
The goal is to get seven to eight hours of quality sleep every night. This assists the body to maintain muscle and joint comfort. So, for my patients, we start by trying with typical strategies such as regular nighttime routines, late day exercising, etc. to help them improve the quality of their sleep.
If none of the above strategies work for you, we’ll consider at a formal evaluation to determine if a sleep apnea or insomnia condition is upsetting your sleep. A history of snoring is an indication that your airway may be compromised and that can lead a sleep apnea condition. Sleep apnea can often be managed with an oral appliance and I 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 important, I have seen evidence over and over again among my patient population that a loss of either sleep quantity or disruption in sleep quality lowers pain thresholds and is a strong contributing factor to jaw problems, tooth pain, facial pain, and headaches.