Polysomnographic investigation of sleep and respiratory parameters in women with temporomandibular pain disorders

J Clin Sleep Med. 2014 Feb 15;10(2):195-201. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.3452.


Study objectives: Temporomandibular pain disorders (TMD) and myofascial pain were linked to increased prevalence of insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) on clinical grounds. However, the literature lacks an accurate polysomnographic (PSG) characterization of sleep abnormalities associated with TMD, given that prior studies included small or uncontrolled samples of TMD patients. The present investigation aims to objectively evaluate measures of sleep and respiratory disturbance in a large representative sample of TMD cases in comparison with matched controls.

Methods: Sleep, respiration, and limb movements were measured using a 2-night attended PSG protocol in 170 women-124 TMD cases with myofascial pain and 46 demographically matched controls. The second night data were compared between the groups using ANCOVAs. In TMD cases, the relationship between pain ratings and sleep parameters was analyzed using multiple regressions.

Results: In comparison to healthy controls, TMD cased evidenced a significant increase in stage N1 sleep (12.2% ± 7.6% vs. 9.2% ± 5.0%, p = 0.03), which was only mild relative to normative values. TMD cases also demonstrated mild but significant elevations in arousals associated with all types of respiratory events (6.0/h ± 6.1 vs. 3.5/h ± 3.3 p = 0.02) and in respiratory effort related arousals (RERAs, 4.3/h ± 4.3 vs. 2.6/h ± 2.7, p = 0.02). Myofascial pain predicted a lower sleep efficiency (p = 0.01), more frequent awakenings (p = 0.04), and higher RERA index (p = 0.04) among TMD cases.

Conclusions: Myofascial pain in TMD is associated with mild elevation in sleep fragmentation and increased frequency of RERA events. Further research is required to evaluate the clinical significance of these findings.

Keywords: Temporomandibular disorders; myofascial pain; respiratory effort related arousals; sleep disturbance; upper airway resistance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Polysomnography / methods*
  • Polysomnography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Respiration*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / complications*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome / complications*