All of us crave a good night’s sleep. We want to go to bed and recover from a busy day, waking up refreshed and ready to face the world. Unfortunately, if you suffer from nighttime teeth grinding, or bruxism, this rejuvenating sleep may be out of your reach. To better understand how teeth grinding can affect your sleep, let’s take a look at how the body actually sleeps and what grinding does to interfere.
Understanding the Stages of SleepWhen it comes to sleep, you have probably heard of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and NREM, or Non-REM sleep. These two distinct parts of sleep are very different, but what you may not know is that Non-REM sleep also has four different stages. Each of these stages is essential and it is here where nighttime teeth grinding can really disrupt sleep. Let’s look closer at each stage and how it affects sleep.
- NREM Stage 1 – This stage occurs within minutes of you drifting off to sleep. During this stage, your brain produces alpha and theta waves and eye movement begins to slow. This is a very light stage of sleep that typically lasts only a few minutes. It is this stage that one enters during brief daytime “cat naps.” During this stage, you are easily startled and easy to wake up.
- NREM Stage 2 – Stage 2 is another stage of light sleep, however, during this stage your brain waves increase suddenly in what is known as sleep spindles. Sleep spindles are sudden bursts of oscillatory brain activity. After these spikes, the brain waves begin to slow down, preparing for the next stages.
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- NREM Stage 3 and 4 – Stages 3 and 4 are the start of deep and restful sleep. The brain shifts to producing slow delta waves, given these stages the name of Delta sleep. Your muscles throughout your body completely relax. You have no eye movement and your body does not typically respond to outside stimulus. Waking up during this stage is the most difficult. This stage is essential for restorative sleep. During this time, your body repairs muscle and tissue, boosts your immune system, stimulates cell growth, and restores energy.
- REM Sleep – During the night, your body enters REM sleep five to six times, typically for an hour at a time. During this stage, your brain becomes active again and you may experience dreams. Heart rate and blood pressure can increase. This phase is important for learning and memory and is when your brain processes the information from the previous day.
How Teeth Grinding Affects Sleep
Now that you understand your sleep stages, you may begin to see how grinding your teeth at night can really disrupt restorative sleep. When you grind or clench your teeth, your muscles jaw muscles tense and produce great amounts of force. As long as the muscles remain tense it is difficult, if not impossible, to enter Stage 3 and 4 of NREM sleep. These stages are essential for restorative sleep, and, even though you may feel like you slept through the night, your body was never really able to rest.
Because of this, you may wake up feeling tired or experience daytime fatigue on a regular basis.
The good news is you don’t have to give up sleep just because you grind your teeth. The most common treatment for nighttime teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a night guard, or teeth grinding guard. These guards are custom fit to your teeth and provide a cushion between your teeth. This helps prevent tooth damage associated with grinding, but it also helps you sleep. This cushion helps the jaw muscles relax, allowing you to enter Stages 3 and 4 of sleep.
If you suspect that you grind your teeth, or your dentist has already mentioned that they are seeing the signs of nighttime grinding (worn teeth edges, changes in jaw muscle, you experience headaches and jaw pain), they will recommend a nightguard. Your dentist can make a mold of your teeth and create a guard for you. Unfortunately, with your dentist, these guards can be costly, ranging from $300 – $1000.
SportingSmiles Can Help You Get Your Zzz’s
SportingSmiles, however, can help reduce that cost and provide you with the same high-quality guard for under $100. When you go to the dentist for a guard, they make a mold and then send it to a dental lab that creates the guard. At SportingSmiles, you use our patented self-impression kit to make your own mold. You return the mold to our dental lab, and we send back the custom guard. All at a fraction of the price. It’s important to note that with proper care, most teeth-grinding guards will last for 2 years before you need a replacement.
If a night of sleep leaves you tired and want to get a good night’s sleep again, visit Teeth Grinding Guards today for more information. Let SportingSmiles help you get your Zzz’s.