Struggling to Sleep while Suffering from Tinnitus
Sleep is very important for the health of your mind and body. If you have tinnitus - the sensation of hearing a ringing, whistling, or similar sound when no external noise is actually present - the noise is always present. As a result, the ability to sleep becomes a huge struggle which can affect your daily life.
Your anxiety from it makes it difficult to fall asleep, and being deprived of sleep makes the tinnitus worse, thus a vicious cycle begins.
Using the right methods can help you quickly fall into a deep, restful sleep.
Here are 12 tips to help you quickly fall asleep, stay asleep longer, and improve your sleeping conditions each night.
1. Reduce the amount of caffeine that you consume
Tinnitus is frequently caused by consuming too much caffeine. In instances when it does not trigger tinnitus symptoms, it still makes it difficult to sleep if you drink it in the afternoon or evening. It diminishes your quality of rest.
It may be a good idea to completely remove caffeine from your diet because it activates your nervous system. If you are already irritated by tinnitus, your nervous system is worked up, and caffeine tends to increase your stress and feelings of restlessness.
If you do not want to completely take out the caffeine from your diet, the best thing you can do is cut down on your overall caffeine consumption and avoid it for at least eight hours before going to bed at night.
2. Reduce screen-time with your devices
Everyone has an internal day and night cycle. This is called the circadian rhythm. Being awake during the daytime causes our bodies to release what are known as daytime hormones. At night, when the sunlight is gone, your brain releases melatonin - a hormone indicates that it is nighttime, and that you should sleep.
The bright blue light the comes from our phones, computers, TVs or any other screens with light will send a signal to your brain to stop releasing melatonin. Falling asleep becomes a bigger struggle after exposing yourself to this blue light.
It is recommended that you refrain from looking at any electronics with blue light for at least 90 minutes before going to sleep.
You may also use blue light blocking technology if you do not want or cannot give up your screen time. A simple option is to get a pair of glasses that can block out the blue light.
Another option is to download an app onto your smartphone and computer that will make the screen dimmer and add a filter that is tinted in red, which will remove most of the blue light spectrum.
Apple and Android phones have a setting that will allow you to filter out the blue light from your screens.
3. Mask the sounds
If you still have partial hearing abilities, sound masking is a simple way to improve your sleep if you have tinnitus. You can do this by playing background noise (it’s best to play it at a volume level that is just under the volume of your tinnitus) to drain out the perceived volume of sound, and it should help you ignore it so that you can sleep.
Masking the volume of your tinnitus isn’t completely possible for everyone, but it can still be useful. Masking forms a barrier of sound that obstructs quiet sounds that may wake you. It also prevents you from waking up in total silence, which is generally a difficult environment for most who suffer from tinnitus.
You may use any sounds that are relaxing to you. This can include anything from ambient music to nature sounds.
4. Write down your thoughts
Another reason why people struggle to sleep is due to thoughts running through your mind. Consciously, and subconsciously, we think about random thoughts that we want to remember, making it harder to get a good night’s rest. When tinnitus is thrown into the mix, your endless thoughts and feelings of anxiety make the tinnitus worse.
You can calm your thoughts and ease your mind by writing down what ever is that is keeping you up. By doing this, you are freeing up your mind and should fall asleep better.
It may also be useful to create a to-do-list for the following day, along with any thoughts you have about your tinnitus. This could help take it off of your mind.
5. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day
Although this is not a fast way to improve your sleep if you have tinnitus, it is a good idea to improve the consistency of your sleeping routine. Go to bed and set your alarm to wake up at the same time each day. If you end up waking up earlier than you had planned, due to your tinnitus, that does not mean you are doing it incorrectly. This is mainly a way to train your body to fall asleep at a certain time each night.
If you go to sleep and wake up at a different time every day, this can cause your body to experience a physiological state that is akin to jet lag. As a result, this will most likely prevent you from getting a restful night’s sleep.
6. Create a relaxing routine in the evening
A very helpful way to quickly fall asleep is to have a relaxation routine every evening before going to sleep.
Watching TV, using your smartphone, or computer before bedtime makes it more difficult to fall asleep. Develop a routine that helps you relax, so that you will be able to better manage your tinnitus.
Physical relaxation Tips: Take a hot bath, engage in trigger point self-massage with a tennis ball, stretch, and engage in progressive muscle relaxation techniques.
Mental relaxation Tips: Read a book (an actual, physical book, not an e-book), meditate, listen to relaxing music, spend your time with a loved one or pet, and practice breathing techniques.
Select any of these relaxation techniques, and be consistent by doing the same routine every evening. Your brain will begin to make the connection between your routine and going to sleep.
7. Darken your bedroom to make it pitch black
Having a bedroom that is pitch-black can make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep longer.
A simple and inexpensive way to do this to wear a sleep mask to cover your eyes. You may also use blackout curtains over your windows, or use blankets and black electrical tape to cover any light sources emanating from electronics.
8. Replace your night lights
Night lights tend to use white or blue light, which can make it more difficult to sleep. There is a red light option that won’t disturb your sleep. If you use nightlights, replace blue, white, or clear bulbs with the red night light bulbs. This will obstruct the blue light spectrum, or you can purchase red night lights.
9. Turn down the thermostat
Some studies have indicated that the best room temperature for a good night’s rest is between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
Author and sleep expert, Shawn Stevenson, explained in his best-selling book “Sleep Smarter” that when it is time for your body to rest, your core body temperature drops to help initiate sleep. If the temperature remains too high, it can be a physiological challenge for your body to get into the best condition for a restful night’s sleep.
To feel comfortable with a blanket over you, it would be a good idea to wear socks if you tend to get cold feet.
You don’t need to turn your thermostat to 60 degrees if you have difficulty sleeping with tinnitus. You can just try to turn the temperature down a few degrees.
10. Brainwave entrainment
Brainwave entrainment is a technology that helps you sleep faster, generates shifts in your mental state, and how you feel, by only using sound.
You can alter your mental state, and how you feel, by influencing your brainwave pattern to change by using external stimulation. The effect is called brainwave entrainment. This can be accomplished by using a flashing light, sounds, and vibrations.
You may synchronize your brainwave frequencies to the frequencies that complement with falling asleep. As a result, you will begin to feel more relaxed, sedated, and sleepy in minutes. All you need to do is push a play button.
11. It is not advised to toss and turn
If you haven’t been able to fall asleep, whether you haven’t gotten any sleep or you woke up at night and struggled to fall back asleep, do not simply toss and turn with the0 hope that the buzzing or ringing will stop.
What you can do instead is get up, and make yourself a light snack. Digestion requires physiological energy, and eating a small snack normally makes you feel tired. After eating, sit down on a comfortable chair or couch. You can play music to cover up the tinnitus and read an actual physical book, not an eBook.
When you begin to yawn or feel tired, go back into your bed. This change in routine makes it easier to fall back asleep.
12. Get help for your tinnitus
There is hope for those who struggle with tinnitus. The first step is to improve your quality of sleep. Hearing aids can also be used to help drown out the noise, in addition to taking your focus away from the tinnitus.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation from one of our hearing instrument specialists.