Do you grind your teeth in your sleep?
Most people learn that they do this from a dentist who sees wear and tear on the teeth. Grinding at night can wear down enamel and make teeth more prone to cavities.
It can also crack molars, creating the need for a lot of expensive and uncomfortable dental work.
Not many people have told me that they stopped this habit. It’s hard to change a habit that occurs when you’re asleep.
However, it definitely can happen! Here’s what I’ve heard or read that may help you.
Meditation may help.
I recently talked with someone who came to me years ago for TMJ relief. (I’ve been doing these sessions since 2013.)
She mentioned that she was completely over her grinding issues and had been for a while.
I asked her what she thought helped her stop the habit, and she replied, “Meditation.”
She said that when she started a regular practice, she noticed that her grinding gradually diminished.
Eventually she realized she hadn’t done it for a while.
This confirms what seems obvious to me: stress contributes to the behaviors that create and maintain jaw tension and pain.
Meditation reduces stress, which reduces and eventually ends the behavior.
There are many kinds of meditation. I recommend observing your breath and paying attention to what you’re experiencing.
Notice when your focus on your breath and body wanders and bring it back. This part of meditation strengthens your ability to focus and become at home in your body.
It’s a great alternative to stress.
There’s an online Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course, taught by Jon Kabat-Zinn, for $198. It would make a great investment in your well-being. He also has a Master Class.
There are several apps as well. I enjoy using Insight Timer.
Hypnotherapy may help.
Another remedy I can point to is hypnosis or hypnotherapy.
A couple of people who told me they successfully stopped grinding their teeth in their sleep said that hypnosis helped a lot.
I recommend a video on YouTube, Sleep Hypnosis for Jaw Relaxation and Teeth Grinding (Bruxism / TMJ / TMD. It’s by Michael Sealey, a professional hypnotherapist who has 1.5 million followers on YouTube and speaks with a lovely English accent.
It’s audio only. Listen to it before you go to sleep. It’s 44:17 long.
I’d love to hear if it works for you.
You may also prefer to see a local hypnotherapist, who can customize a session and recording for you.
Some say grinding in your sleep (aka sleep bruxism) happens because you’re not getting enough air.
Others say it’s due to parasites.
I don’t know. Stress has a lot to do with it — and both those things are stressful on your system.
The only practical science about sleep bruxism that I’ve seen to date is neurologists speculating that night-time grinding may occur due to a dopamine deficiency, and that it’s similar to restless leg syndrome — another repetitive motion occurring during sleep.
There’s been no follow-up to that 2013 study.
If you’re motivated to stop your bruxism, you can try supplementing with tyrosine, an amino acid precursor to dopamine.
(If you’d like to save 30% on supplements, create a Wellevate account (no charge) and look at my protocol for sleep bruxism.)
You might even try all three methods: meditation, the hypnosis video at bedtime, and supplementing with tyrosine.
I’d love to hear what works for you.