Are TMJ Problems Affecting Your Sleep?

Sleep enables your body and mind to rest and reset, so you can wake up feeling ready to tackle the day. But if you suffer from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, the uncomfortable symptoms can rob you of the quality sleep your body needs, causing you to feel chronically tired.

In this post, Dr. Ivan Stein of the Headache & TMJ Center of New Jersey breaks down exactly how TMJ problems can affect a good night’s rest.

Sleep Apnea

Many people who have TMJ also have obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which breathing pauses multiple times each night due to an obstruction of the airway. If you have sleep apnea, these constant interruptions in sleep disrupt your normal sleep cycle and prevent your body from getting adequate rest. You may feel drowsy, moody or irritable during the day. And if sleep apnea goes undetected or untreated, it can raise your risk of serious health conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease.

There are a few theories about why TMJ problems and obstructive sleep apnea go hand-in-hand. One commonly accepted explanation is the close connection between the airway and the position of the jaw. When the upper and lower teeth do not fit together correctly — which is common in many TMJ cases — the lower jaw can collapse backward during sleep, impeding the airway. Poor jaw alignment can also cause the tongue to block the airway during sleep.

Night Headaches

It’s certainly difficult to doze off to sleep with a pounding headache! A misaligned bite can put strain and tension on the jaw muscles, which causes head pain similar to that of a headache. The pain may radiate from your forehead, the back of your head or down your neck. Obstructive sleep apnea can also cause headache pain due to lack of oxygen.


It’s not just the physical discomfort of TMJ that can interfere with getting a good night’s rest. The stress and anxiety of untreated TMJ problems can make it challenging to fall asleep and stay asleep. Chronic exhaustion from inadequate sleep can negatively affect work or school performance and even interpersonal relationships, compounding stress levels.

Find TMJ Relief and a Better Night’s Sleep

Don’t let TMJ pain and symptoms interfere with the rest your body needs. TMJ is treatable with the help of an experienced team. The Headache & TMJ Center of New Jersey has helped countless patients like you overcome TMJ problems and live happier, healthier lives.

Call or email us today to request an informational consultation with our team.