You’ve probably heard that getting a good night’s sleep is essential for your body as a whole, but did you know that rest is also essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums? It’s true! The Osaka School of Dental Medicine conducted a study on 200 workers. Their lifestyles were assessed and factors like diet, exercise, and stress were measured against signs of periodontitis (gum disease). Using periodontal probes, researchers monitored the changes in the subjects’ oral health over time. Results showed that workers with 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep proved less lightly to suffer from gum disease. So why is this? It’s thought that sleep deprivation increases the production of hormones that can cause increased inflammation on the gums. This aids the onset of gingivitis (the first stages and a milder form of gum disease) which can if not dealt with lead to periodontal problems. Unfortunately this in itself can also be a trigger point for other systemic problems such as strokes or heart disease. The good news is that while sleep is important we actually have much more control over the quality of our sleep than we might first realize. So if you want to maintain healthy gums and teeth and get a good night’s sleep, here’s what you need to do… Keep in sync with the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle Known as your circadian rhythm it’s your 24 hour body clock that runs internally in the background. It cycles between sleepiness and alertness and is better known as your sleep-wake cycle. By keeping regular sleeping patterns even during weekends, you’re more inclined to be awake when your circadian rhythm is at it’s most alert and be asleep when it sends out sleep signals. As a result, sleeping becomes easier. Make your bedroom a restful place If you want a good night’s sleep, try ditching the gadgets. TV’s, Play Stations and cell phones all distract from sleep. The bright lights make it difficult for the body to go into a restful mode, so try to avoid looking at them for at least one hour before you go to bed. Instead experiment with softer lighting, some tranquil mood music, and ensure the room temperature is neither too hot or too cold. Exercise during the day It’s well known that those who exercise during the day feel less sleepy during daytime and have better sleep at night. But did you know that regular exercise also increases the amount of time we spend in deep, restorative sleep? This is important because this is the time when the body repairs itself. Even simply walking just 10 minutes a day is known to improve sleep quality. Remember it’s not the amount of time that you’re in bed, but the quality of the sleep that counts! So there you have it…. 3 simple tips for ensuring you get a good night’s sleep and how it can help promote healthy teeth and gums. If you’re still concerned about gum problems or feel that it’s about time you had a dental check-up, then the team at Chesterfield Dentistry are here to assist. Call us on 314–786–3360 today and talk to our friendly, experienced team.