While many of us may be under the impression that once we close our eyes and drift off to sleep we remain quietly still in our beds… for others night can in fact be a very active time!
When something unexpected happens in the middle of the night while you are asleep but the activity makes those around you think you are actually awake, it is likely due to a category of sleep disorders called Parasomnias.
Parasomnia is defined by involuntary physical activity while you are asleep, possibly the result of an active automatic nervous system. Although you will be unaware of what you are doing, those who share your bed with you will most definitely have awareness. It is not uncommon to find out about your nocturnal activity through a loved one who may be struggling to sleep due to your unconscious disturbance.
Symptoms of parasomnia can include:
Reduced Cognitive Function
Sleep disorders within this group include sleepwalking, sleep related eating, sleep talking, headbanging/bodyrocking and teeth grinding (Bruxism) which is what I’m going to be talking about today in this blog.
Bruxism is a common parasomnia in which people unconsciously grind their teeth and clench their jaws all night during sleep. Unlike some of the other sleep disorders this cannot be ignored, if left untreated it can ruin your teeth and result in tooth loosening. In addition it can affect your jaw muscles, cause jaw popping, headaches and earaches.
Causes of Bruxism can be physical, psychological and genetic, including:
Stress and Anxiety
Poor lifestyle choices
Abnormal Bite / Missing crooked teeth
Bruxism affects woman more than men and those who are affected by it are commonly more tense and suffer from chronic stress when awake. They also tend to bite items such as pens, fingernails and ends of their hair.
Signs and Symptoms of Bruxism:
Teeth worn down for no obvious reason
Facial, Jaw and Neck Pain
Sleep disruption (you and partner)
Popping or clicking noise in the temporomandibular (TMJ)
Surface teeth are flat
*We advise you always consult your doctor and dentist to establish the cause of your symptoms
It’s important that you seek advice initially from your dentist before considering psychological therapies such as Hypnotherapy or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). They will be able to make an accurate diagnosis and determine if the source of your facial pain is resulting from Bruxism. Once they have established the damage they may recommend you wear a mouth guard/mouth splint to protect your teeth from grinding.
SO HOW CAN HYPNOTHERAPY HELP?
Hypnotherapy provides intervention at a subconscious level and can help identify and address the underlying cause of Bruxism. Like sweating and blushing the grinding is automatic but with the use of hypnosis the habit can be altered by changing the thought pattern.
This can be achieved by:
Identifying unresolved emotions that may be creating and increasing anxiety. It is important to reduce stress and anxiety as both aggravate grinding.
Unresolved anger can also increase Bruxism and such underlying issues can surface at night while asleep in a subconscious state and manifest as teeth grinding.
Self-hypnosis to increase relaxation and deal more effectively with stress.
Reducing habitual clenching and grinding.
Help you make lifestyle changes such as reducing alcohol consumption, caffeine and quit smoking.
If you would like help dealing with Bruxism or any other parasomnias you can contact us here.
Written by Nicole McKendry
#bruxism #hypnosis #sleep #dental
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