As athletes, we often think of mouthguards specifically as utilities worn on the field or court to help protect our teeth and keep us focused on the game. But you might be overlooking one important place where the mouthguard should be worn — the bedroom. But it’s not to protect your teeth from the same kind of impact you’re used to during gameplay.
If you grind or clench your teeth when you sleep, you probably have the condition known as bruxism. According to the Sleep Research Society, about 8 percent of the general population experiences sleep bruxism, which can trigger headaches, muscle pain, joint disorders and fracturing, loosening and loss of teeth. Most importantly, though, bruxism can lead to loss of sleep, which is a big roadblock for athletes looking to enhance performance.
Whether you’re an elite, pro or amateur, wearing a custom mouthguard to bed will help you wake up feeling well-rested so you can crush it during training and competition the next day. Here are some specific ways sleeping with a mouthguard can help with recovery:
1. More Energy – Sleep is critical to boosting your energy reserves so you have what it takes to excel on the mat, court or field the next day. When we sleep well, our bodies release key chemicals that help us store energy, including glycogen and adenosine. When you lose sleep because of bruxism or jaw pain, your body is unable to build up its stash of those chemicals, which causes us to feel slow and sleepy throughout the day. This results in less power, force and speed in competition and training sessions.
2. Less Pain – We all know that to bring 100% to the game, we need to feel our best physically. The right guard can help keep your jaw in the right place and protect the top and bottom teeth from touching each other. This helps ensure that you don’t grind and wake up with a sore jaw or serious damage to your teeth. Chronic grinding and clenching can also lead to permanent damage to the teeth, which can cause you to feel self-conscious or require expensive repairs.
3. Improved Focus – Physical wellness is only one component of being a top-level performer in your sport. Mental clarity and focus are also important to performance, and you’ll only feel like you can focus if you get a good night’s rest. Wearing a soft mouthguard for teeth grinding at night will help you sink into a deeper sleep state so you can focus at your best in the morning.
4. Quicker Muscle Recovery – If you had a particularly hard-hitting training session or practice during the day, quality sleep is one of the best ways to ensure that you don’t wake up feeling it too hard in the morning. Studies show that a sleep deficit can lead to loss of muscle mass and hindered muscle recovery. On the other hand, getting enough sleep facilitates protein synthesis and the release of human growth hormones to help keep muscles happy and healthy.
5. Better Weight Management – Regardless whether you’re on a cut trying to stay in the right weight class or are clean bulking during training in the off-season, you shouldn’t overlook sleep as a critical component in your weight management toolkit. Not getting enough sleep has serious metabolic consequences and can lead you to gain weight. Those with poor sleep habits are at a higher risk of developing diabetes and obesity due to sleep’s influence on glucose metabolism, the regulation of appetite and energy expenditure.
6. Improved Heart Health – Since the cardiovascular system delivers key nutrients and oxygen to the muscles, a massive part of any athlete’s training regimen must focus on heart conditioning. Sleep allows the heart to rest and gives it a chance to repair tissues and cells so it remains in great shape for training and competition.
7. Immune System Support – When we snooze through the night, our bodies are facilitating tons of core functions that help keep us happy and healthy. During sleep, the body produces hormones called cytokines, which help equip it with the tools required to ward off illness and inflammation. When we don’t sleep enough, the body decreases its protection of these protective hormones, which can lead to infections and inflammation.
Whether you’re looking for a long-lasting hard mouthguard or something softer to help you get comfortable with sleeping with a guard, GuardLab has the perfect solution for you. Our RECOVERY Sleep Mouthguards are designed specifically for athletes looking to boost recovery for better sport performance. Enjoy total comfort and ease of use every single night so you wake up feeling refreshed with less jaw pain and ready to crush your athletic goals.