What is worse than dealing with ringing in your ears? Having ringing in your ears AND not being able to get a good night’s sleep. This is the unfortunate reality for many tinnitus sufferers. Below, a few professionals explain why sleep deprivation is common among tinnitus sufferers and what they can do about it.
Dr. Sarah Lundstrom
Quiet Makes Tinnitus More Noticeable; Give Your Brain Something Else to Focus on
People with tinnitus commonly report an impact on their ability to fall asleep or go back to sleep during the night. This is because the environment is usually quiet, and your body tries to wind down at the end of the day. During the day, when your brain is more active, it is easier to tune out the tinnitus. At night, it can be difficult to ignore.
Giving your brain something else to focus on can help. You can try to distract yourself with white noise, nature sounds, or instrumental music. There are a lot of good apps out there for different sounds or try a fan or radio. Play the sound at a just audible level, and consider setting a timer for 15-30 minutes. Avoid anything with words, singing, or talking, as this typically is too distracting. Try different options until you find one that masks your sound or is most comfortable for you to listen to.
Find ways to stimulate your brain during the day as well. If your tinnitus is a symptom of hearing loss, consider wearing hearing devices designed to manage your tinnitus. Find ways to relax before bed. Meditation and breathing exercises can reduce the intensity of your tinnitus.
You can also consider anxiety or sleep medication if you are struggling to relax, but see a physician before beginning any medication. Other factors impacting your tinnitus are hydration, illness, diet, and exercise. Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol, and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Pay attention to your sodium intake and consider vitamins to ensure you get enough nutrients like potassium.
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