How To Relax Your Jaw When Sleeping?

If you clench and grind your teeth when you sleep (also called bruxism) or know someone who does, it is possible to improve this condition by following a few recommendations. 

Repeated clenching and grinding of the teeth when we sleep can cause wear and softening of the teeth, excessive pain in the jaw joints, and even headache and tiredness due to a poor night's sleep.

The key to a better night's sleep is to relax the jaw and improve sleeping conditions. In this article, we will talk about how you can relax your jaw when you sleep and reduce the effect of excessive grinding of the teeth. 

What Are The Causes Of Jaw Clenching While  Sleeping?

Despite being very common among men and women of different ages, there is no straightforward answer to the causes of jaw-clenching and grinding While Sleeping. However, some explanations can help to understand this condition.

Firstly, it is worth highlighting that bruxism is more common in women due to the hormonal peak. Furthermore, this condition has a relationship with stress, neurological conditions, side effects of certain types of medications, and some breathing disorders such as sleep apnea.

It is also worth highlighting that jaw clenching can be linked to other factors such as a family history of such and TMJ dysfunction (temporomandibular joint, which connects the jaw bone to the skull and allows chewing).

Furthermore, emotional factors, such as depression and anxiety, can also lead to involuntary clenching and grinding of the jaw while sleeping. Everyday habits, such as consuming more caffeine than recommended, smoking and even biting your nails can also cause this disorder.

Side Effects Of Clenching Your Jaw When Sleeping

Clenching your jaw while sleeping can lead to various discomforts when you wake up. Also, clenching your jaw can be damaging to your oral health in general. Here are some side effects of jaw clenching:

  • Pain in the jaw
  • Ear aches
  • Neck pain
  • Back pain 
  • Involuntary muscle contractions
  • Pain in the muscles of the face 
  • Clicking sound in your jaw
  • Restriction of jaw movement

If you wake up with any of the symptoms mentioned above, it may be a sign that you clench your jaw when sleeping. There are several methods to relax your jaw when sleeping. Read further to read about them.

How To Relax Your Jaw When Sleeping

Chew Hard Foods Before Bed

Chewing hard foods like apples or even carrots before bed helps reduce jaw hyperactivity. The movement involved in chewing harder foods helps relax the joint. This is also extremely beneficial for children who suffer from jaw clenching while sleeping.

However, it is essential to choose healthy foods if you want to use this method. This is because eating processed or heavy foods before bed directly affects the quality of sleep.

Do Relaxation Techniques

Because jaw clenching is directly linked to issues such as stress and anxiety, doing some relaxation activities before bed helps to reduce the intensity of the disorder.

Yoga and meditation techniques help reduce stress and calm the body and mind. You can considerably improve the chance of having a relaxed jaw when you sleep.  


Massaging the jaw area can help increase blood flow, reducing muscle tension.

Locate the joint that joins the skull and jaw using your index and middle fingers. Apply light pressure to the area and make clockwise circles, while gently opening and closing your mouth. This will help reduce the hyperactivity of the TMJ.

Try performing this massage several times a day, including before bed.

Avoid Stimulating Foods

Bruxism is also caused by daily habits that, if exaggerated, are harmful to our body and mind. Consuming plenty of caffeine, black tea, and energy drinks, especially at night can predispose you to having clenched jaws while you sleep.

Therefore, avoid consuming these types of drinks or reduce them as much as possible. Furthermore, constantly chewing gum is not healthy for the relaxation of the TMJ. 

Smile stretching

Smiling can help reduce stress and anxiety by relieving tension throughout the body. With this specific stretch, you get to relax your facial muscles, neck, and upper and lower jaw.

Try to smile as wide as you can without causing tension or pain in the area and, while smiling, slowly open your jaw. Inhale deeply through your mouth and exhale as you close your mouth.  Repeat this about 10 times daily.


This is an involuntary stretching that also contributes to improving jaw muscle relaxation. Whenever the urge to yawn arises, open your mouth without restriction, and let the movement happen naturally.

To maximize results, the ideal is for you to practice these exercises daily. Start slowly and increase the number of repetitions as you get the hang of it and the initial discomfort decreases, but don't overdo it.

Excessive stretching of the jaw can lead to a rebound effect, increasing tension in the region, causing increased pain and clicking in your TMJ.

Hot Compress

Another way to relax your jaws before sleeping and, consequently, alleviate jaw clenching is to apply heat to them. The idea is to apply a hot compress to the mandibular region for 15 minutes on each side. Most of the time, this technique brings great comfort and relaxation. 

It is very important to test the hotness of your compress before starting to avoid discomfort.

Furthermore, taking a good hot bath before bed makes it easier to relax your muscles and helps you get a good night's sleep.

Sleep Better with Ego Home products

In addition to knowing how to maintain relaxed jaws while sleeping, sleeping on a comfortable mattress, and having a good pillow and a good bed are essential for relaxation during sleep.  Ego Home has one of the best mattresses as they have up to five comfort zones. This ensures that your head, shoulders, lower back, hips, and legs are perfectly accommodated while you sleep.

Consider Using a Mouthguard

If you still need help stopping your grinding teeth at night, talk to your dentist about using a mouth guard. 

A mouthguard is custom-made upon request from the dentist and helps to restrict involuntary clenching of the jaw while you sleep.


Grinding your teeth can cause a lot of discomfort and pain to your jaw. While doing exercises to prevent jaw clenching, it is important to also treat symptoms of jaw clenching like pain. 

Medications like Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) e.g paracetamol, can help to relieve the pain. This will make your exercises more effective and less painful. If symptoms are very severe, it is advisable to visit a doctor 

How To Prevent Jaw Tension while Sleeping

Some people are predisposed to jaw tension, but preventing tension build up in your jaw is the best solution. If you want to avoid the discomfort and pain in your TMJ, adopt the following measures:

  • reduce stress and anxiety: breathing exercises, meditation, yoga and low-impact activities such as walking and dancing promote muscle relaxation;
  • Have a good night of sleep;
  • avoid foods that require intense chewing, such as caramels, nuts, and meat;
  • Include softer foods in your diet, such as purees, yogurts, and juices. They cause less pressure in the region and help speed up recovery time;
  • avoid chewing gum;
  • Leave the consumption of stimulating drinks, such as taurine and caffeine, only during the day, as they can cause muscle tension.

When Should I Visit the Dentist?

There are several possible causes of tension in the jaws as listed above, so it is important to seek out a specialized professional for the correct diagnosis. The dentist will be able to perform tests that can help define the origin of the inflammation or even abnormalities in the oral region that affect the TMJ.

See your dentist immediately when you experience one of the following symptoms:

  • intense pain in the jaw that worsens when chewing;
  • Clicking followed by a locking sound when opening the mouth; 
  • difficulty opening the mouth, chewing, or swallowing ;
  • pain and heaviness in the cheeks;
  • constant headaches that affect daily activities.

TMJ pain is common and sometimes interferes with speech, chewing, and even sleep. Exercises to reduce jaw tension and simple measures, such as dietary changes, can help resolve the problem.