Last week I had an awful sinus infection, so ordering the Sleep Guard was a bit of retail therapy that I could look forward to using when I became healthy again. I was impressed with how quickly I received my new Sleep Guard. I ordered it from the stopgrinding.com website on Saturday, December 31, and received it via First Class Mail (the cheapest shipping option) just 3 days later. I also was impressed at the care that a human obviously took in packing the device. Inside the box were two free extra batteries (labeled on a Post-It note), a tiny screwdriver, an instruction manual, a tube of goop in case I need to improve the sensor connection, and the headband itself.
How does the device work? You wear the headband which has two silicone sensor pads that contact the skin at your temples. These sensors detect the electromagnetic signals that your jaw muscles emit when they clench. You can set this threshold to suit your own situation. Once the device detects your jaw clenching, it gives a quiet beep, heard through a metal “sound thingy” against your forehead which gets louder until you get a clue and stop clenching. The idea is that by wearing the device for many nights in a row, you can train yourself to recognize the beep, and relax your jaw before you clench too hard. When you wake up in the morning, you look at the LCD display and take note of two numbers: The amount of your “grinding events,” and the total duration of clenching, shown in seconds.
In order to calibrate the device, and train yourself to relax when you hear the beep, they recommend that you wear it for a few hours during the day. I did this the first day, and got really excited about being the subject of my own scientific study!
They also recommend that you establish a baseline reading for your nightly clenching, by wearing the headband with the volume turned to zero. This way, the device just tallies your grinding events without warning you each time, so you can sleep a full night and have a number to start from as you work to reduce your grinding events.
Last night I wore the headband with the volume off.
I’m sorry to report that I barely slept the entire night! In fact, by 6am, when I finally looked at the clock, it felt like I had been up the entire night. However, I do recall at least 2 dreams, so I must have been sleeping at some point, but not very deeply. During the night, my mind wasn’t racing, but for some reason I just couldn’t fall asleep, which was very frustrating. I think it’s going to take me a little while to get used to this headband. At 6am, I had to take off the headband because I was desperate for sleep. Without it, I slept fine between 6am and 10am.
I’ll be entering all the numbers into Excel, so I can track my progress, but I won’t record the data from last night, because it’s an aberration. It said that I had 9 grinding events, for a total of 12 seconds. On a normal night, where I actually complete several full sleep cycles, I expect the numbers to be much higher.
One other thing I noticed about wearing the headband: Although the volume was off, I did sense some kind of randomly-occurring squeaky/scratchy sound/vibration coming from the sound emitter at my forehead that would last a couple of seconds. This was really weird, because it did not seem related to any clenching, moving, or time element. Maybe that is what was keeping me up? I wonder if this is a product defect.