Tinnitus is a ringing in your ears that only you can hear. It can be caused by noise-induced hearing loss, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), aging and other factors. A common issue for those experiencing tinnitus is poor sleep. Tinnitus can interfere with your ability to fall and stay asleep. Try these seven things recommended by an ear specialist to help you fall asleep with tinnitus.
Mask the ringing sound
Background noise such as soft music, lofi beats, white noise, soothing sounds or a fan can help quiet tinnitus. It can help your brain tune out the ringing in your ears. Smartphones have many app options for sleep sounds. Whether you prefer rain or another natural sound, playing some of these at night shifts your focus away from the ringing in your ear and makes falling asleep easier.
Have a bedtime routine
Establishing a bedtime routine can also help. Try and pick the same time to be in bed each night and to wake up each morning. Consistency is key to getting good sleep. Maybe you want to practice meditation, drink a cup of tea or read a chapter in a book each night. No matter what you choose, try and keep it consistent so your body knows when it’s time to rest.
Limit time on electronics
Blue light mimics the sun and prevents your body from producing melatonin, which is needed to fall asleep. Many smartphones have dimming options, such as night shift and dark mode, so if you must check something before bed, use those alternative options. Ditching your phone before bed also disengages your mind from any distractions that might prevent you from falling asleep.
Make your bedroom darker
Ambient light can disrupt your sleep. Whether your neighbor turns on an outside light at night or the sun shines directly in your bedroom window early in the morning, these things can awaken you and make falling back asleep difficult. Try blackout curtains or wearing a sleep mask. If you have any other things in your bedroom with an annoying light, throw something over it to dim the lighting.
Lower your thermostat
The optimal temperature for good sleep is 65 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature promotes deeper sleep and makes it easier to enter REM sleep. In non-REM sleep, it’s easy to be awakened. In the next stage, when you’re in light sleep, it’s a bit harder to be woken up, and you’ll feel disoriented at first. In REM sleep, you begin to experience dreams and deep sleep that’s hard to be awoken from.
Caffeine is a stimulant that is meant to keep you awake. We recommend limiting caffeine intake until after lunchtime. Caffeine is also a tinnitus trigger for some people. Caffeine ignites the nervous system, and it makes it harder for you to fall asleep and stay asleep when you’re experiencing the energy from caffeine.
Try eating a snack
If you find yourself tossing and turning, don’t just lay there. Try getting up and eating a snack. Eating a small snack will force your body to digest, and digestion uses energy, so this can help you feel tired. Go back to bed once you feel tired again.
Visit an ear specialist
If none of these things help, it might be time to visit an ear specialist. An audiologist can assess your tinnitus and come up with a treatment plan that may work better for you. Good sleep is important, but it can be hard to achieve when your tinnitus is keeping you awake. Contact us today to see how we can help!