Why do I keep biting my tongue in my sleep?

This blogpost will answer the question: why do I keep biting my tongue in my sleep? And will include the following topics: Tongue biting while sleeping causes

Biting tongue while sleeping symptoms

Tongue biting treatment

Tongue biting in sleep prevention

Treating a bit tongue at home

Why do I keep biting my tongue in my sleep?

Tongue biting is a sign of a variety of illnesses, some of which are more dangerous than others. It’s useful to know what causes biting tongue in sleep in order to figure out the best strategy to avoid it.Additionally, nighttime tongue biting may be a sign of a more serious underlying health condition.

Tongue biting while sleeping causes

You may bite your tongue in your sleep for a variety of reasons. When a person chews their tongue during the day, they are almost certainly aware. At night, though, you’re more prone to unintentionally bite your tongue. Tongue biting during sleep is usually caused by an underlying medical issue.


Teeth grinding and clenching, often known as bruxism, is a common movement disorder that can impact you while you sleep. It usually affects the teeth and jaws, resulting in discomfort, suffering, and damage. Bruxism, on the other hand, can lead a person to bite their mouth and cheeks. Doctors aren’t sure what causes bruxism, but they believe it has to do with dreaming or being aroused when sleeping.

Facial muscle spasms

Tongue biting can be caused by facial and jaw muscular contractions. This disorder is most frequent in youngsters, and it causes the chin to shake uncontrollably as they sleep.

During sleep, people with these spasms are unable to regulate their face and jaw muscles, and they frequently bite their tongues. “Facio mandibular myoclonus” is another name for this disease.

Illicit drug use

MDMA, popularly known as “molly” or “ecstasy,” is a psychoactive substance that generates great euphoria. It also appears to induce bruxism, a condition in which the teeth, cheeks, and tongue are severely damaged.

While specialists aren’t sure what causes bruxism in MDMA users, some speculate that the drug may increase the impulse to bite or chew. MDMA may cause a reduction in the capacity to keep the jaws open.

Lyme disease

Lyme disease is a condition that is not well understood. However, it appears to affect the central nervous system as well as physical reactions. This may cause you to bite your tongue or cheeks unintentionally. Other Lyme disease symptoms include:

abnormal sensitivities to heat and cold


slurred speech

frequent diarrhea

vision changes

generalized pain and tingling

Nighttime seizures

Tongue biting is a typical symptom of nighttime seizures. During a seizure, people with epilepsy lose control of their body. They may subconsciously bite down on their tongue as a result of this. Bite marks are most commonly found on the tongue’s tip and sides. 

Rhythmic movement disorder

When a person is sleepy or sleeping, they have a rhythmic movement problem. It causes a person’s physical motions to be repeated over and over again. This illness primarily affects youngsters. It may lead them to make humming sounds, rocking and head pounding motions, or rolling. These motions may be quick, resulting in tongue biting.

Sleep apnea

Although tongue biting is not caused by sleep apnea, it is frequent in many persons with the condition. This is due to the fact that patients with sleep apnea frequently have huge tongues or mouth muscles that relax unnaturally during sleep.

Relaxed muscles and a large tongue can lead to tongue biting. Other signs of sleep apnea include:

loud snoring

gasping for air during sleep

morning headache

excessive daytime sleepiness


Some people have misalignments, which can lead to a lot of dental problems. Those with overbites or underbites, as well as crowded teeth, are more likely to bite their lips and tongue.

Biting tongue while sleeping symptoms

It’s not always simple to tell whether you’ve been sleeping with your tongue bitten. There are, however, certain indicators that might help you spot midnight tongue biting. These are some of them:

tongue bleeding

redness or swelling of the tongue


cuts or marks on the tongue

ulcer on the tongue

raw, scalloped edges on the tongue

Tongue biting treatment

The underlying problem must be addressed in order to treat tongue biting.

Sleep bruxism or sleep apnea sufferers may benefit from using a mouthguard at night. Consult a dentist or doctor to determine which options are best for you. Treatments for sleep apnea include:

weight loss

quitting smoking (this can be difficult, but a doctor can help find a quit smoking plan right for you)

CPAP machine


If you bite your tongue while sleeping as a result of illicit drug usage, discontinuing the substance typically alleviates the problem. Consult a doctor if you need assistance quitting the medications or if you continue to have health difficulties after quitting.

Antiseizure medicine is the most effective treatment for epilepsy-related nighttime seizures. According to researchersTrusted Source, those who have muscular spasms in their face and jaw at night may benefit from antiseizure medicine.

Most children grow out of rhythmic movement disorder. However, if your child has injured themselves during sleep, you should speak to their pediatrician.

Those with Lyme disease should stick to their doctor’s treatment plan. Usually this involves a mix of antibiotic and supportive therapies that help reduce symptoms.

Tongue injuries normally heal on their own without the need for medical attention. However, you should get medical help if you observe an ulcer, redness, profuse bleeding, pus, or lacerations.

Tongue biting in sleep prevention

If you’ve experienced tongue biting during sleep in the past, there are some things you can do to prevent it from happening in the future.

Sleep study

To cure tongue biting, you must first address any underlying issues that are causing it. One option to get to the bottom of your problem is to ask your doctor for a referral to a specialist who can do a sleep study.

This includes staying at a sleep institution for one to two nights. A sleep specialist will use electrodes and monitors to capture some of your physiological processes.

Your doctor may be able to figure out what’s causing you to bite your tongue by listening to recordings of your brainwave activity, eye movement, muscular tone, heart rhythm, and breathing rate. They can then suggest a therapy that is right for you.


Wearing a mouthguard helps avoid future injuries for many persons who bite their tongue. Because each person’s mouth is unique, see a dentist or doctor to determine which type of mouthguard is right for you. You might wish to obtain a personalised mouthguard that fits your teeth exactly. You may also go with a less priced, non-customized option.

Reduce stress

Stress is a common cause of nightly bruxism, which leads to tongue biting. Lower your stress levels over the day to reduce your chances of tongue biting. If you’re not feeling as relaxed as you’d like, try some relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.

Don’t use illegal drugs

Avoid using illegal substances like MDMA, which might make you more prone to bruxism. The more you take MDMA and the more often you use it, the more likely you are to have unfavourable side effects.


If you’re taking antiseizure medication, ensuring you take it as directed will help you avoid seizures and tongue biting. If you’re still having seizures or biting your tongue while taking medicine, talk to your doctor about changing your dose.

Treating a bit tongue at home

If the tongue bite is minor, you can treat it at home. Follow these steps to minimize pain and ensure the injury heals properly:

Wear latex gloves or wash your hands with soap and water.

Rinse your mouth with water to help you view the damage better.

Stop the bleeding by applying pressure to the wound with gauze or a cloth.

If there is any swelling, use ice or a cold compress wrapped in a small towel to the outside of the lips or mouth.

If bleeding persists or you discover a noticeable deformity, evidence of infection, or fresh bleeding, see a doctor.

If the injury is severe, make sure to follow a doctor’s advice as well as the home remedies listed below.

Soft, easy-to-swallow meals are recommended.

Reduce discomfort and swelling using an over-the-counter pain treatment such acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil).

Several times a day, apply a cold compress to the afflicted region for five minutes. You may also eat an ice cube or a fruit-flavored ice pop.

To relieve discomfort and keep the incision clean, rinse your mouth with a saltwater solution after eating. 1 teaspoon non-iodized salt to 1 cup warm water to produce a saltwater solution

When to see your doctor

If a tongue bite does not stop bleeding or exhibits indications of infection, additional bleeding, or deformity, see your doctor.

When the margins of a tongue damage don’t come together when the tongue is still in adulthood, it’s a good idea to get medical help.

Seek immediate medical care for a child if you notice:

a wide laceration on their tongue, lips, or inside of their mouth severe pain that does not go away after two hours of taking over-the-counter pain relievers

inability to fully open or shut the mouth indications of illness and fever trouble swallowing drinks or spitting

Every day, look for changes in the appearance or feel of any tongue injuries. Clean and healthy mouth wounds can range from pale pink to white in colour.

Contact your doctor right away if you notice any signs of infection, such as:



pain that’s getting worse instead of better

Other FAQs about Tongue Health that you may be interested in.

How Long Does It Take For Your Tongue To Grow Back?

Can your tongue grow back?

Why did I wake up with a black tongue?

Can Your Tongue Get Sunburned?

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!