Aims: To investigate the hypothesis that the presence of transient morning masticatory muscle pain in young, healthy sleep bruxers (SBr) is associated with sex-related differences in sleep electroencephalographic (EEG) activity.
Methods: Data on morning masticatory muscle pain and sleep variables were obtained from visual analog scales and a second night of polysomnographic recordings. Nineteen normal control (CTRL) subjects were age- and sex-matched to 62 tooth-grinding SBr. Differences in sleep macrostructure (stage distribution and duration, number of sleep-stage shifts), number of rhythmic masticatory muscle activity (RMMA) events÷ hour, and EEG activity were analyzed blind to subject status. The influence of pain and gender in SBr and CTRL subjects was assessed with the Fisher's exact test, Mann-Whitney U test, two-sample t test, and analysis of variance (ANOVA).
Results: Low-intensity morning transient orofacial pain was reported by 71% of SBr, with no sex difference. RMMA event frequency was higher in SB than CTRL subjects (4.5÷hour vs 1.3÷hour; P < .001). SBr had fewer sleep-stage shifts, irrespective of sex or pain status. Female SBr had significantly lower theta and alpha EEG activity compared to female CTRL subjects (P = .03), irrespective of pain.
Conclusion: Female SBr had lower theta and alpha EEG activity irrespective of transient morning pain.