The Best Way to Sleep if You Suffer from TMD
TMD stands for Temporomandibular Disorders, which refers to problems with jaw movement, as well as pain in and around the jaw joints. Sounds painful, right?!
As you know, sleep is so important for the body to re-energize and repair itself. In addition to making you feel more rested and refreshed, proper sleep is key for lowing the risk of health issues too.
Negative effects of not getting enough sleep:
- Increased pain for those who suffer from chronic illnesses
- Changes in mood (and not in a good way)
- Elevated stress hormones
- Increased risk of obesity
- May raise the risk of Alzheimer’s and other diseases
When suffering from TMD, people often have more difficulty falling asleep…as well as often struggle to get good quality sleep. Something such as being more cognizant of your sleeping position can help a lot.
If you are sleeping in a position that causes strain on your face, jaw, neck, head, or shoulders, this can make your TMD pain worse. People often clench their jaw and grind their teeth when sleeping, which doesn’t help matters either. This is obviously harder to monitor because you can’t control what you do in your sleep.
A good indication that your TMD may be aggravated from the way you are sleeping is if you wake up with pain or a headache.
So what is the best sleeping position if you suffer from TMD or orofacial pain?
The answer is lying on your back! This is because:
- Your head, neck, and shoulders will be properly supported
- You won’t have extra pressure on your jaw
- Your body will be kept in alignment, with your neck, head, and spine in a neutral position
- There will be less chance of grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw
You may have to get into the habit of sleeping on your back, but it can be well worth the effort to relieve your TMD. A small pillow places under your knees or under the arch of your spine can help and make you more comfortable. You may also want to explore reclining beds.