Two Types of Insomnia

Doctors often divide insomnia into two types: onset insomnia and maintenance insomnia. In onset insomnia, you have trouble falling asleep. In maintenance insomnia, you might fall asleep, but tend to wake up frequently, and then you may have trouble falling back asleep. 

TMJ tends to be associated with onset insomnia, while sleep apnea is more often linked to maintenance insomnia. However, both conditions can be associated with both types. 

TMJ and Insomnia

People with TMJ often experience excessive muscle tension. This can make their jaw. With the tension and soreness in their jaw, it can be very hard to find a comfortable position for sleeping. Plus, tension in the jaw can lead to clenching and grinding, which also makes it hard to sleep. 

In addition, the jaw problems can have a reciprocal relationship with stress. As you become more stressed, you might experience more jaw tension. However, it’s also possible to experience the reverse phenomenon. If you have jaw tension, it creates the physical sensation of stress, which can make you feel stressed, even if you don’t know the cause, which is itself stressful. 

The pain of clenching and grinding can wake you up. Or perhaps the sound of it might disturb your cosleeper, and they might wake you up. 

Sleep Apnea and Insomnia

Sleep apnea is a form of sleep disordered breathing in which you stop breathing at night. When you stop breathing, your brain has to awaken enough to restart your breathing. Often, people just stay asleep and don’t know they’re waking up. However, you might also wake up fully and find you have a hard time falling back asleep. 

Sleep apnea is commonly undiagnosed. Perhaps 80% of people with the condition don’t know they have it. You might think you are waking up for other reasons. Many people with sleep apnea have frequent nighttime urination. You might also think you are having nightmares because you wake up gasping for breath with your heart racing. 

Sleep apnea can also be associated with onset insomnia because your breathing might be interrupted just as you become relaxed and are about to fall asleep. Plus, snoring is common in sleep apnea, and your snoring might wake you–or your partner might wake you because you’re snoring. 

Help with Sleep Apnea in Fort Atkinson

If you are suffering with insomnia that you think might be linked to TMJ or sleep apnea, we can help. We will diagnose your condition or conditions and help you get the rest you need. 

To learn whether TMJ or sleep apnea is causing your insomnia, please call (920) 563-7323 today for an appointment with Dr. Stafford at Bite Align, serving Jefferson County from our office in Fort Atkinson, WI.