OBJECTIVE : The aim of this study was to assess the correlation between chronic stress and temporalis muscle activity during four nights. METHODS : Forty-four female subjects were recruited in five dental practices located in different areas of the federal state of Saarland, Germany (dental practice network in Saarland). The following inclusion criteria were used: female, aged between 18 and 65, no somatization or depression, and no pain medication, graded chronic pain status < 3. Both subjects reporting about sleep bruxism and subjects negating sleep bruxism during anamnesis were included. Anamnestic issues, sleep bruxism, anxiety, and chronic stress were assessed using validated questionnaires. Temporalis muscle activity was measured for four nights using a portable electromyographic device. Correlation coefficient was used to assess the correlation (Spearman-correlation) between chronic stress and number of temporalis muscle episodes/hour and between anxiety and the number of episodes/hour. RESULTS : The analysis showed that the factors "work overload" (adulthood chronic stress because of too many demands at work) and "pressure to perform" (necessity to be successful at work) were significantly correlated with the number of temporalis muscle episodes per hour. In contrast, anxiety was not correlated with temporalis muscle episodes per hour. CONCLUSIONS : Work-related chronic stress seems to be associated with an increased level of temporalis muscle activity during sleep. CONCLUSIONS : During anamnesis, work-related aspects should be assessed in females presenting with sleep-bruxism.