If there's one piece of advice you take from me on TMJ and jaw clenching, it's this:
Get the right pillow.
It's such a simple thing, yet can be literally life-changing for those of us who clench in our sleep.
I've had TMJ problems for as long as I remember, often waking up in the morning feeling like I've been in a fight. Clenching all night leads to tension headaches the next day, limited jaw movement and can even slowly wreck your teeth (I have 3 dental crowns in my mouth because of grinding).
A good orthopaedic pillow can be a game-changer here, and it has been for me.
I've tried several of these and went through several disappointments (wasted money) before landing on the one I love.
My first assumption was that the more money I spent, the better the pillow. This is not necessarily the case, as one orthopaedic pillow I purchased cost several hundred dollars and was promptly discarded after a single night's sleep.
High cost does not equal quality.
So what was the best pillow for TMJ and jaw clenching?
It was a Misiki Cervical Pillow.
I ended up ordering the Misiki pillow for about $49 and it's been a total game-changer.
One of the first impressions you'll get when trying out the Misiki pillow is that it feels "stiff".
People who prefer very soft pillows may struggle with this.
You may also feel too elevated, like it's too high off the ground. This takes getting used to, but it's putting your neck into the correct position.
But let me assure you that this is necessary if you want improve your jaw clenching and TMJ issues at night. Sinking into a soft pillow is actually one of the worst things you can do and will lead to more neck and jaw issues.
After using the Misiki pillow for as long as I have, I couldn't go back to a soft pillow.
The pillow accommodates tummy sleepers, and comes with arm support too so you can comfortably sleep on your side.
Magnesium is one of the best natural remedies for TMJ.
After you check with your doctor, I also recommend a high dosage magnesium supplement (like this one) to help your muscles relax.
Going through your wind down regimen using magnesium and stress-reduction (e.g. some meditation or prayer), relax into your Misiki pillow and see how much better you sleep.
If you're anything like me, you'll wake up feeling refreshed with a relaxed jaw.