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TMJ Pain? Sleep Better and Rest Easier

Deep restorative sleep and REM sleep are vital to waking up refreshed and ready for the day, a more productive, happy day. The importance of sleep is such common knowledge, that it is on my Fitbit. It is a time to rebalance and restore the body and mind. It is during REM sleep when people dream. One of the purposes of REM sleep is to organize the previous day. You can actually use that time to work on solutions to what is causing the stressful events of life rather than restlessly tossing and turning. (

As surprising as it may seem, sleep also relates to dentistry. Clenching and grinding of the teeth frequently happen at night. It isn’t just limited to adults, but many teens grind and have temporomandibular joint pain and clicking. One of the biggest signs of sleep apnea is wearing on the teeth by periods of grinding, followed by snoring throughout the night. The lack of sleep for rebalancing leads to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes to name a few.

Personally, I’ve spent many nights awake worrying and stressing out that it eventually led to high blood pressure and other physical problems, along with clicking of the jaw and nagging pain. On occasion, my physician had discussed the need for getting adequate sleep. But then what? Being reminded of the need for sleep is one thing, but it is a completely different thing to be able to do it consistently.

Here are some habits you can practice to achieve a good night's sleep:

  1. Turn off electronic devices an hour before bedtime

  2. Go to bed at the same time every night

  3. Practice a ritual prior to bedtime that prepares the mind and body for rest

  4. Reduce your alcohol, caffeine, and sugar

  5. Listen to the needs of your body, such as thirst and hunger

For awhile, I was looking for ways to help myself have better health and happiness. You see, my teeth also shifted from constant clenching, and I’m an orthodontist. A long journey led me to study Jungian Psychology in a coaching model for my own interest but found it has relevance to my patients as well, and I am sharing with you:

To work with the mind chatter and get better sleep I practice meta-consciousness

Meta-consciousness is the part of the mind that is the silent observer that is always with us. From that point of view, the thoughts are actually separate from who we really are, and they no longer have the same power over us.

  • Observe the thoughts that have you up at night.

  • Note the thought and then let them go

  • You will begin to see a pattern to the thoughts and recognize it.

  • If more thoughts arise, observe them and let them float away

Did you notice the worries lose their power when the lights are on or when the sun begins to rise. Remember, the thoughts may seem very real but they do not define you. You are so much more.

For more information on how to make your sleep time more productive to work out problems and achieve your goals see my blog at (or

Great TED talks:

Arianna Huffington

Harvard Health

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