Sleep is a crucial part of growth and development for children of all ages. Though your child may be getting the proper amount of sleep each night, they may not be getting enough rest. Studies have confirmed a link between nightmares and snoring, leading to health problems for children down the line. 

Why do nightmares cause headaches? 

Nightmares are inevitable for both children and adults. We can try to prevent them by de-stressing before bed, avoiding scary movies or images, etc. However, you can never fully prevent them. For children, nightmares can cause a condition called “bruxism.” This is a condition where children and adults grind their teeth at night, resulting in headaches the next day. 

With bruxism, you are involuntarily grinding your teeth throughout the night. This is damaging to  your teeth, jaw and overall well-being. Diagnosing sooner rather than later ensures a quicker solution. 

Can you prevent bruxism?

Nightmares and snoring are two factors that may play a role in a child’s diagnosis of bruxism. If we find what is causing these nightmares, we may be on the path to a solution! Nightmares are caused by anxiety and stress. It is important to take note of your children’s routine. Pay attention to what may be causing them this unneeded or extra stress. Eliminate all factors that may be contributing to their stress level. Even the slightest change will be a relief! 

How are nightmares connected to bruxism?

When we sleep, our mind has the opportunity to run rampant. We cannot control what our mind chooses to dream about, so sometimes this leads to not so pleasant dreams–nightmares. Nightmares and snoring alike have been found to cause tension in the jaw, facial muscles, head, and neck. When we have bad dreams, our body tends to hold this tension, mostly in the jaw. Clenching and grinding is what leads to the diagnosis of bruxism. A constant clenching of the jaw inevitably leads to headaches and migraines the following morning.  

Moving forward with bruxism

Once diagnosed, there are a couple options for solving the problem. First, as mentioned above, try to pinpoint what is causing your child’s nightmares. Perhaps a major change in their life, a move, the loss of a loved one. All of these things can be detrimental to a child’s mental state. Talk to your child!

There are also mouth guards that are custom-made for your child’s mouth to prevent grinding and clenching. Worn at night, your child will be able to protect their teeth and jaw from pain! No matter the cause, there is always a solution. 

Contact us at AZ Sleep & TMJ Solutions to learn more about how we can help you and your child prevent bruxism.