Insomnia can be described as difficulty falling and staying asleep. It can be an isolated episode, typically related to life circumstances, or a chronic condition, happening at least 3 nights per week.

Chronic sleep deprivation can have terrible consequences for life quality and health. It can affect the entire body and lead to mood disturbances, low energy levels and concentration, fatigue and increased risk for several diseases. About 30% of all adults complain about sleep problems, from which 10% report severe effects of sleep deprivation.



Several causes have been associated with insomnia, including:

  • Medical conditions: allergy, digestion problems, asthma, arthritis, chronic pain, sleep apnea, neurological conditions such as Parkinson disease.
  • Medications: several medications can affect sleep as a side effect
  • Psychiatric conditions: depression, anxiety
  • Lifestyle: stress, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, napping, shift work, distractions such as TV, computer and cell phones

With so many possible causes, treatment of insomnia usually focuses on the symptoms, rarely addressing the root cause. Few people know that oral problems can actually influence sleep, which highlights the importance of good oral health.



Accumulation of toxins in the body can cause insomnia; mercury from amalgam dental fillings has been shown to have toxic effects, with the potential to cause neurological problems and affect sleep.

Undiagnosed infections, such as gum disease, can stimulate the production of certain chemicals, which can disturb the sleep cycle.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a medical condition, often caused by bite problems. In many people who suffer from this sleep disorder, lack of space for the tongue leads to blockage of the airway and snoring, causing the person to wake up several times every hour to restore breathing. This can cause insomnia and increase overall risk for heart problems.

Teeth grinding is another oral condition that can disturb sleep. The intense pressure and stress placed on teeth, jaws and joints due to teeth grinding can cause pain, discomfort, soreness and headaches. Teeth grinding can also be linked to sleep apnea.

Oral problems can cause insomnia, which in turn can worsen oral health by decreasing the production of saliva. Fatigue resulting from insomnia can lead to increased consumption of sugary foods and beverages, which can increase the risk for decay when combined with insufficient oral hygiene.



A bad bite can be associated with sleep apnea, snoring, teeth grinding, jaw joint problems and pain in different areas. These conditions can lead to poorer sleep and insomnia.

Orthodontic treatment can expand narrow jaws, reposition the tongue and provide better tooth and jaw alignment. Through bite correction, breathing, sleep disorders, teeth grinding and other problems improve, creating better conditions for a good night sleep.

For people who grind their teeth, the orthodontist can fabricate simple devices to protect teeth and jaws and better distribute the pressure on the muscles, which can indirectly improve sleep.

Bite problems can be fixed through clear aligner therapy. This is a great solution for adults who do not feel like having braces. The aligners are discrete and easy to use, and the fact that they are removable makes treatment even more convenient. They can correct both the bite and the smile.

If you frequently sleep less than 6 hours per night and feel the need to improve your sleep patterns, talk to your dentist.

Improve your bite, restore you oral health and eliminate possible dental factors that can ruin your sleep.