It’s well-known that stress and anxiety can make tinnitus symptoms worse. If you are getting poor sleep which leads to increased stress, that can become a vicious cycle with increased tinnitus symptoms. Research shows in one study that 54% of participating patients reported sleep disorders and found that there was significant links between sleep disorders and tinnitus severity. The whole situation and lack of sleep can greatly impact your quality of life.
Finding the best tips for sleeping with tinnitus can be tricky, but below are the top ways to reduce sleeping problems while experiencing ringing in the ears.
1. Relaxation exercises
Stress management and relaxation techniques can make huge impacts on tinnitus symptoms. By better controlling your stress and practicing a few relaxation exercises before bed, you can minimize your tinnitus sounds and help you fall asleep. These types of techniques could include breathing exercises, meditation, stretching and reading. Whatever helps you feel calm and relaxed can be very helpful.
Relaxation also helps make bedtime more calm and positive. Because many people with tinnitus stress about sleeping, the whole procedure can become stress-inducing and make it difficult to sleep before you even try. You might start to think “Oh no, what if I can’t sleep?” This simple thought can derail a whole evening, and make the individual anxious about getting to sleep. This stress then makes their tinnitus more noticeable. Relaxation can make the whole situation easier.
2. Sound therapy
A very popular way to reduce tinnitus symptoms is through sound therapy. This can be practiced in a variety of ways, such as using a sound generator, tinnitus-specific hearing aids or using a typical mp3 player. However, the best way to use sound therapy for sleeping is through a sound generator, or similar device. These machines can play different sounds, such as white noise, brown noise, life sounds like a fan or air conditioning unit, or even natural sounds like ocean waves.
We know that a quiet or silent environment is a nightmare for people with tinnitus. Therefore, sleeping with tinnitus can be very difficult, stressful and frustrating.
By playing sounds when sleeping, the brain can be trained to ignore the tinnitus sounds. Although there is no cure for tinnitus, this can help teach your brain to push those sounds into the background.
It’s all about finding what’s best for you. Some individuals swear by white noise, while other enjoying watching television and keeping that on while you fall asleep
3. Healthy lifestyle
People who are healthy and active tend to sleep better, even without tinnitus. By ensuring you follow a healthy diet, drink lots of water and regularly exercise, you can help improve your sleep quality at night.
It also helps to be busy during the day, such as being active and exercising, so you can be naturally tired by bedtime.
4. Don’t force it
Often times we head to bed because it’s a certain time, even if we’re not tired. But this can result in laying in bed awake, becoming more and more aware of the tinnitus sounds. Try heading to bed when you’re sleepy. If you don’t fall asleep within 30 minutes, get out of bed and do a relaxing activity instead. If you associate your bed with the frustration of not being able to sleep, it can make the whole situation more difficult. Once you feel tired, try sleeping.
5. Limit your caffeine
Caffeine can impact sleep, even for those without tinnitus. Be aware of how much caffeine you have throughout the day, and reduce it if you find it’s becoming too much. It’s also helpful to avoid caffeine a few hours before bed.
It may be helpful to try certain de-caffeinated drinks before bed, such as certain teas that promote sleeping. Teas like Chamomile are often linked with relaxation and can be very sleep-inducing.
6. Unwind before bed
Many people find it helpful to spend about one hour unwinding before bed in order to sleep better. “Unwinding” could be a variety of things and will be different for each person. It may include wrapping up your work, listening to quiet music, watching a relaxed TV show or reading. Similar to relaxation techniques, these are activities that help you unwind and relax, and are done specifically before bed.
It may also been helpful to follow the same unwinding routine before bed every night. That way, the routine itself can make you sleepy and relaxed.
7. Wake up at the same time
It can be very beneficial to wake up every day around the same time and get your body into a positive routine. Try not to sleep in extremely late every weekend, but set a good sleep schedule to keep your sleep cycle healthy.
If you sleep in too much and too often, you may find increased troubles falling asleep again at night.
8. Utilize aromatherapy or essential oils
While more research is needed between aromatherapy and essential oils on reducing tinnitus symptoms, they certainly can help create a calm and relaxing environment. Certain smells are also reported to help sleep, such as lavender and vanilla. By using these scents for relaxation, and even during your unwinding time, the individual can promote a calm environment before heading to sleep.
9. Fix the underlying issue
If your tinnitus is a side effect of a seperate medical condition, such as an issue with the jaw, hearing loss or compacted ear wax, speak to your doctor about this underlying issue. In most cases, once you fix the other health issue, your tinnitus will reduce and sleeping will become much easier.
10. Mental health therapy
Stress, anxiety and depression can be huge triggers for tinnitus to become worse. If you’re finding that your mental health is declining, which makes your tinnitus worse, which then impacts your mental health, it can be a tough cycle to break out of.
Seeking mental health therapy, whether for stress, anxiety or depression can be extremely important. Once these issues are improved, the tinnitus should also improve, making sleep (and life) a whole lot easier.
Sleeping with tinnitus
The simple act of getting a good night’s sleep can work wonders for tinnitus symptoms, and overall stress and anxiety. While these tips won’t necessarily work for everyone, it’s best to find which ones work best for your individual situation. It’s also extremely helpful to understand the cause of your tinnitus and choose options that fit best with that cause.
If your sleep is becoming severely impacted by your tinnitus, make sure to speak with your doctor. They may be able to recommend other treatment options or provide specific medications to help you sleep.
Quiet Mind is a blog dedicated to turning a critical eye to tinnitus treatments and supplements. So many don’t work and are overhyped, we’re here to shed some light on some of the scams and successful products that claim to stop the ringing.