young adult man laying in bed unable to sleepThere could be many reasons you struggle to get a good night’s sleep, but the good news is that many of the causes of poor sleep can be treated in a non-invasive way. This means that you won’t have to undergo any surgery, and you typically won’t have to deal with much pain or interruption of your daily life. If you’re struggling with sleep in Des Moines, Iowa, or if you suffer from TMJ in Des Moines, Iowa, please know that there is treatment available to you that’s just a phone call away.

Temporomandibular joint disorder, referred to as TMJ or TMD, is a painful condition characterized by a variety of TMJ symptoms that often seem unrelated:

  • Pain in the jaw
  • Shoulder pain
  • Neck pain
  • Clicking popping sounds in the jaw
  • Headache
  • Fullness in the ears
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Clenching of the teeth
  • Grinding of the teeth

A temporomandibular joint disorder occurs when the joint (the TMJ) is damaged or not functioning properly. The temporomandibular joint connects your lower jaw known as your “mandible”) to your upper jaw. The TMJ should open and close with ease; people with TMD have trouble opening and closing their mouths to eat and talk, and the jaw often makes clicking or popping noises when opening and closing. Pain caused by TMJ usually starts at the joint but spreads to other areas like the neck, shoulders, face, and even the upper extremities, including the fingers.

If the temporomandibular joint is damaged, the problems listed above will likely occur. You may suffer from only one or two of those symptoms, or you may suffer from several of those symptoms. Poor sleep in Des Moines is very closely tied to TMJ, so, yes, TMJ does affect sleep, and sleep does affect TMJ.

Sleep Positions and TMJ

Certain positions can exacerbate the painful symptoms associated with TMJ. Sleeping on your side is probably the worst thing you can do when it comes to sleep and TMJ in Des Moines, Iowa. When you sleep on your side, you do not have proper head and neck support; the lack of support may lead to stiffness, headaches, and pain.

People who suffer from TMD in Des Moines should sleep on their back in order to:

  • Reduce or eliminate the pressure placed on the temporomandibular joint
  • Provide proper support for the head, shoulders, and neck
  • Keep the body properly aligned
  • Keep the spine in a neutral position
  • Reduce the likelihood of bruxism (clenching, grinding, gnashing of the teeth either consciously or unconsciously)

Bruxism is also very closely tied to TMJ. Some people clench and grind their teeth during the day while stressed or working (awake bruxism) while others only clench and grind their teeth while they sleep (sleep bruxism).

Other Factors that Affect Sleep and TMJ in Des Moines

The quality of pillows and mattresses people use is also very important when it comes to sleep and TMJ in Des Moines. Cervical pillows have been known to work wonders in keeping the spine aligned properly and reducing the painful symptoms of TMJ.
The position of your arms while you sleep will also affect TMJ. People who have TMJ should sleep with their arms by their side as that is the optimal position for minimizing the painful symptoms of TMD. Putting your arms above your head while you sleep may increase the strain you put on the affected areas of temporomandibular joint disorder.
Everyone has experienced a bad night’s sleep, but not getting restful sleep on a regular basis can be very detrimental to your health. Consistent bad sleep may cause problems related to:

  • Thinking clearly
  • Concentration
  • Mood swings
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Weight gain
  • Weakened immune system
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Fatigue

Get a Sleep and TMJ Evaluation in Des Moines, Iowa

Yes, sleep and TMJ are related. If you have any of the painful symptoms listed above, there’s a very good chance your TMJ needs to be evaluated. If you’re diagnosed with TMD in Des Moines, you may be a great candidate for oral appliance therapy, a TENS unit, or some combination of treatments that could change your life by providing you with restful sleep on a regular basis.
If you have questions about sleep and TMJ treatment in Des Moines, please call (515) 222-0505 so Dr. Douglas Pick and Iowa Sleep and TMJ can perform a thorough evaluation. If you prefer, please fill out our online contact form and one of our team members will reach out to you soon.