Tinnitus is a ringing or other sensation in the ears that can severely impact a person’s quality of life. People in Indianapolis who struggle with tinnitus experience problems such as stress, anxiety, depression and fatigue. Sleep often proves elusive; it’s difficult to nod off when there is a steady noise keeping you awake. Just ask the spouse of any snorer. Certain tricks can help you overcome the distraction and enjoy a quality night’s sleep.
Learning to Ignore Tinnitus is the Key to a Good Night’s Sleep
About one out of every five people in Indianapolis experiences tinnitus. For some, it’s barely noticeable, coming and going with little warning. Other people struggle with tinnitus constantly. Regardless of its effect on your life, if you have tinnitus, chances are you have had trouble falling asleep at least once in a while.
Tips to Get a Good Nights Rest With Tinnitus
Your Indianapolis doctors would like you to know that there are strategies to help you ensure a restful night. The following tips should help improve your chances of falling (and staying) asleep.
- Masking techniques. Masking techniques such as white noise therapy can help you tune out tinnitus so it is no longer noticeable. By playing another sound at a volume slightly lower than the ringing in your ears, your brain will get used to the tinnitus and learn to focus on the other sound instead. Try a smartphone app, listen to soft music or turn on an air-conditioner or fan.
- Stick to a bedtime routine. Your body will learn that it’s time to go to sleep if you adopt a consistent bedtime schedule. This means going to bed at the same time every night, even on the weekends, and waking up at the same time the next morning.
- Practice relaxation techniques. Tinnitus can lead to stress and anxiety; these in turn can prevent you from falling asleep. In order to break this vicious cycle, try relaxing by taking a hot bath, giving yourself a trigger-point massage, learning progressive muscle relaxation exercises, stretching, meditating, reading a book or listening to soft music.
- Dim the blue light. The artificial blue light that TV, computer and smartphone screens emit tricks your body into believing it’s daytime, a signal to stop producing melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle. Turn off these and other electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime. Alternatively, you can download apps that filter and reduce harmful blue light, or switch your phone to “night mode” to dim the screen before bedtime.
- Darken your bedroom. If you like sleeping with a nightlight on, it’s likely you aren’t actually sleeping as much as you could be. Studies show that a pitch-dark bedroom encourages sleep; put up blackout curtains or wear a sleep mask to cut down on the amount of light in your room.
- Turn down the thermostat. Research shows that a temperature between 60-68 degrees fahrenheit is ideal for sleeping. Your body’s core temperature drops at bedtime in order to induce sleep; if the bedroom is too warm, you may have trouble drifting off. If you’re afraid you’ll be too cold in the middle of the night, put on a pair of cozy socks before climbing beneath the sheets.
- Avoid caffeine. A cup of coffee or hot tea can be the perfect finish to a delicious meal, but the caffeine in these beverages acts as a stimulant that might leave you unable to fall asleep at bedtime. Experts recommend cutting off your caffeine intake at least eight hours before you go to sleep—or switch to decaf.
- Don’t just toss and turn. Lying in bed tossing and turning is pointless. If you find yourself unable to sleep, get up and make yourself a snack. Digestion requires energy, so a light meal might actually make you tired. Afterward, sit in a cozy chair or recliner, put on soft music and read a book. Once you begin yawning or feel tired, go back to bed. Chances are sleep won’t be so elusive this time around.
If you’ve tried these tricks and still have trouble falling asleep on a regular basis, make an appointment with an Indianapolis hearing specialist. You may need to undergo a sleep study in order to rule out a sleep disorder; some of these, such as sleep apnea, commonly occur in people with hearing loss or tinnitus.