TEETH GRIND­ING, SLEEP WALK­ING & SLEEP TALK­ING

Dis­cover the nasal link to teeth grind­ing, sleep talk­ing & sleep walk­ing

Great Health Guide - - CONTENTS - Dr David McIn­tosh

When we sleep, it is a time of rest not only for your body but your brain. Sleep it­self is not just some­thing that hap­pens - it is pro­grammed and runs in an or­derly se­quence. Each night our brain goes through a cou­ple of cy­cles of spe­cific events that we call stages. To move through these stages, the en­vi­ron­ment within which the brain func­tions, needs to be just right. You may know what it is like - a busy place. Some­times, teeth grind­ing, sleep walk­ing and sleep talk­ing hap­pen dur­ing sleep and you re­ally strug­gle to get into a good deep sleep. Wake up in the morn­ing af­ter an in­ter­rupted sleep and you just can­not quite func­tion as well as you would like to. Apart from the ob­vi­ous clue that you have had a bad night sleep since you wake up tired, there are other things that can oc­cur through the night, such as teeth grind­ing, sleep walk­ing and sleep talk­ing, that are signs that the sleep cy­cle pro­gram is not go­ing to plan. Now these are things that you won’t be aware of your­self di­rectly, but once you have read this, it will seem a lot clearer.

1. TEETH GRIND­ING:

So, let’s start with teeth grind­ing at night. When we are asleep there are a cou­ple of stages where our mus­cles are all re­laxed and one stage where the mus­cle tone in­creases. Dur­ing this stage of in­creased tonic­ity, if there is some­thing wrong with

the sleep qual­ity, the brain may re­act in such a way that it is in a state of anx­i­ety. One thing some peo­ple do when they are awake if they are stressed, is to clench their teeth or grind them. The same thing can hap­pen in peo­ple who have ‘stressed’ brains at night. The re­search is show­ing that one of the most com­mon causes of a ‘stressed’ brain at night is not anx­i­ety but low oxy­gen lev­els. The rea­sons for low oxy­gen lev­els dur­ing sleep is dis­cussed be­low.

2. SLEEP WALK­ING AND TALK­ING IN SLEEP:

Most of the time with sleep talk­ing this is just an au­di­ble mum­bling of non­sense that oc­curs when the brain is tread­ing the line be­tween awake and asleep with ac­tive dream­ing go­ing on. Some­times the brain gets so ac­tive that peo­ple get up and start walk­ing. They have no idea they are do­ing it and be­mus­ing to some is the ten­dency to want to pee, all be it in places that are not the toi­let!

WHAT HAS ALL OF THIS TO DO WITH THE NOSE?

There is a greater ten­dency for chil­dren to have teeth grind­ing, sleep walk­ing and sleep talk­ing and in ex­treme cases to have

A ‘stressed‘ brain at night is not due to anx­i­ety but low oxy­gen level.

night ter­rors, when their nose is blocked and they can­not breathe prop­erly. It seems that a slight drop in their oxy­gen lev­els is enough to set off a panic alarm with brain spring­ing into ac­tion.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU SUS­PECT TEETH GRIND­ING, SLEEP WALK­ING AND SLEEP TALK­ING?

1. If you or some­one in the house grinds their teeth, sleep walks or sleep talks, re­alise this is not nor­mal.

2. If as­so­ci­ated with snor­ing, sleep ap­noea or mouth breath­ing at night, def­i­nitely get it in­ves­ti­gated by a spe­cial­ist.

3. In den­tistry, teeth grind­ing has changed from be­ing at­trib­uted to anx­i­ety to be­ing con­sid­ered a prime symp­tom of po­ten­tial air­way ob­struc­tion.

4. Some­times spe­cial sleep tests are re­quired for com­plex cases.

5. The treat­ments vary, from surgery, to mouth guards, to breath­ing de­vices. Ap­prox­i­mately 80% of chil­dren that ex­hibit these night time be­hav­iours will stop do­ing them once they can breathe clearly again. The first step to help­ing these chil­dren is to have an ENT check the rea­sons for air­way ob­struc­tion. So, find­ing the un­der­ly­ing cause for teeth grind­ing, sleep walk­ing and sleep talk­ing, needs to be a pri­or­ity.

Dr David McIn­tosh is a Pae­di­atric ENT Spe­cial­ist with a par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est in air­way ob­struc­tion, fa­cial and den­tal de­vel­op­ment and its re­la­tion­ship to ENT air­way prob­lems and mid­dle ear dis­ease. He also spe­cialises in si­nus dis­ease and pro­vides opin­ions on the ben­e­fit of re­vi­sion of pre­vi­ous si­nus op­er­a­tions. Dr McIn­tosh can be con­tacted via this web­site.

Chil­dren with these night time be­hav­iours will stop once they can breathe clearly again.

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