I used to grind my teeth when I slept. Sqeaking loudly as my pearly whites rubbed against one another. I put in a mouth guard now to prevent this. It has become such a habit that even when I nap, I need to use it.
I don’t know why I like it so much, but I do. I believe it stems from my childhood a bit. After my braces were removed from my teeth, I wore a retainer at night. It was so uncool and ugly- I hated it. So in order for me to use it, I psyched myself out. I played mind tricks on myself. Really, really stupid ones. If I thought the retainer was uncool, sharing this tidbit of info is even more uncool…
I have mentioned before how I had cable tv in my bedroom growing up. I would watch it until the wee hours of the morning constantly. It got to a point that I could only fall asleep with the tv on. But the shows I would watch that kept me up the latest were about alien abductions or “Unsolved Mysteries”. So paranoia would take over, keeping me up later and later.
As a pre-teen, my paranoid adolescent brain would conjure up crazy ways of not getting abducted by aliens. Such as leave the tv on so that they thought I was still awake. Or leave the lights on somewhere in my room. One Christmas I was given a psychedelic light from Radio Shack. I turned it on every night for months until the heat from the bulb finally melted the plastic.
I wouldn’t say I was afraid of the dark. But I was afraid of the unknown. Part of my falling asleep ritual became telling myself that if the lights are on I’d be left alone. The second part was making sure 99.99999% of my body was covered up. And the third was to wear my retainer because it had a metal bar in it. I told myself that this small piece of metal wrapped in a hard plastic, wedged between my upper and lower teeth would prevent the ufos from trying to zap me through my window.
All I can say is that I think it worked. I don’t remember ever being abducted by aliens as a child. Just don’t ask about when I was in my early 20’s… those were some strange times. But now I use my mouth guard regularly. I just don’t have to tell myself that it’s to prevent aliens taking me away. I do it to prevent massive headaches and sore jaw.