7) Sleep Environment

Another way to alter the sensory signals which are being sent to your brain while you sleep (and thus potentially act as a pattern interrupt for bruxism) is to alter your sleep environment. While hanging nice paintings on your wall won’t have any direct effect on your sensory system while you’re asleep, changing your sleep surface, pillow, and the audio environment of your bedroom will all have a direct effect and can act as pattern interrupts for sleep bruxism.

Some people report a reduction or elimination of bruxism from switching to a new pillow. There are pillows marketed on the Internet which claim to have the benefit of reducing bruxism for many people. If you can buy one of these with a money-back guarantee, that might be an inexpensive experiment to try.

Some people report a reduction or elimination of bruxism from buying a better mattress. Of course, buying a good mattress is not cheap, and if you are comfortable on the mattress you already have, and would like to try a sleep-surface-alteration experiment that is significantly cheaper than buying a new mattress, you might want to try buying a mattress-topper pad. Virtually all mattress topper pads purchased at retail stores carry a 30 day money-back guarantee, so this is a great risk-free thing to try.

Mattress topper pads vary from inexpensive (such as the one inch thick “egg crate” foam pads available at Wal-Mart), too much higher-quality four inch thick composite foam pads which include a layer of “memory foam”, and a thinner layer of regular polyurethane foam on top of that. This type of high quality mattress topper pad is available at Costco.

There are a number of ways to alter the audio aspects of your sleep environment, any of which may act as a pattern interrupt for sleep bruxism for some people. Alterations of audio sleep environment can be thought of as falling into two categories: alterations which mask or reduce the loudness of undesired sounds which are already present in your sleep environment, and alterations which produce helpful sounds in your sleep environment.

For many people, undesirable sounds already in your sleep environment may include sounds of people talking, sounds of car horns (quite common in environments such as New York City), etc.. What sounds various people find to be soothing or beneficial vary from person to person. Soothing sound machines such as those sold at stores such as Brookstone and the Sharper Image are usually capable of producing a variety of sounds which different people have found to be beneficial or soothing. Like trying a different pillow or a mattress-topper pad, trying a soothing sound machine as a possible way to reduce bruxism is financially risk-free, because you can always return it if it doesn’t help you.

If you already have a sound system in your bedroom, you might prefer to purchase high-fidelity CDs of soothing sounds rather than purchase a soothing sound machine. The advantage of CDs is that the sound quality is definitely better than the sound quality from a sound machine. The disadvantage is that you may have to purchase a variety of CDs if you want to try various soothing sounds, and you probably won’t be able to return the CDs if you decide they don’t help you.

While it was mentioned earlier in this article that you don’t have to have a hypnotist in your bedroom in order to get the benefits of hypnosis while you’re asleep, some people find that playing spoken audio tracks containing helpful hypnotic suggestions during sleep is helpful in reducing bruxism. Some hypnosis soundtracks contains soothing sounds such as ocean surf or rain in the background.

An additional option (for those who are willing to learn to use their home computer as a recording studio) is to record in your own spoken hypnotic suggestions which you believe may be helpful (or have already found to be helpful), and mix that recording on top of a background recorded soothing soundtrack which you are experimenting with or have already found to be helpful.

If you believe that part of the circumstances contributing to your recurring bruxism habit come from undesired sounds in your sleep environment, and you feel that a really quiet sleep environment is what you need as a pattern interrupt to get the best results, then adding more background sounds won’t be the solution for you. To experiment and find out what effect a silent sleep environment might have on your bruxism, you might try spending a few days at a bed and breakfast in a very quiet location. If you find that having a quiet environment makes a big difference for you, and you don’t want to change where you are living, it is possible to do architectural changes to your bedroom walls, windows, and door so that the sound level in your bedroom is significantly reduced.

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