Sleep is critical for every person; however, a new study indicates that it may be especially important to people who endure chronic pain. Unfortunately, lingering discomfort can promote sleeping difficulties that can make pain even worse in the long-term.

Increasing Tolerance

A new study suggests that sleep could help reduce the intensity of pain; however, for people who suffer from TMJ disorder, this knowledge creates a veritable no-win situation.

Appearing in a recent issue of the journal SLEEP, the research took a handful of healthy participants and separated them into groups of “extended sleepers,” who slept almost two hours longer than they normally would, and a group of so-called “normal sleepers,” who slept as long as they usually did.

The next morning, researchers told each subject to place their fingers on a heat source meant to inflict pain. Amazingly, subjects in the normal sleepers group had to pull their hands away 25 percent sooner than did subjects in the extended group: a clear indication that sleep somehow enhanced pain tolerance – at least in this study.

Practical in the Real World?

While this new research is certainly fascinating; it isn’t likely to provide any real-world help for people who have TMJ disorder. Typically, TMJ pain is so intense; sufferers aren’t able to get much sleep on a consistent basis. Furthermore, even if they could, demanding schedules and job requirements wouldn’t allow them to attain two extra hours of sleep each night.

If you suffer from TMJ pain, don’t look for ways to better tolerate your discomfort; seek a treatment that will effectively relieve your pain, so you can sleep better at night and enjoy fun, productive days.

Dr. Berry offers his patients reliable TMJ pain relief by providing a bite splint which corrects the source of the problem: a bad bite. To learn more, email his office today or call the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado at (303) 691-0267 to schedule your consultation.

Related article: