Ringing in your ears keeping you awake? It doesn’t have to. Here are a few tips for quieting that annoying, persistent sound so you can sleep better.
Moderate to severe tinnitus can really throw a monkey wrench in your sleeping habits. During the day, tinnitus can be less noticeable because you’re distracted by noise and activity. But at night, when it’s quiet, tinnitus can seem louder and more stressful.
Luckily, there are a few techniques you can use to fall asleep easier.
Below are 5 tips to falling asleep in spite of your tinnitus.
1. Stop Resisting the Noise
While this might seem difficult to impossible, focusing on the noise actually makes it worse. This is in part because for many people a rise in blood pressure can worsen tinnitus symptoms. So the more frustrated you become thinking about it, the worse you are likely to feel. Focusing on something else and using the techniques below can help make the noise seem softer.
2. Establish a Nighttime Routine
Developing good sleep habits such as winding down at least a half hour before bed, dimming the lights and going to bed at the same time every night helps condition your body to be sleepy at the right time. This will make it easier to fall asleep when you’re ready.
Tinnitus has also been linked to stress. Developing habits to lower your stress level before bed can also help, such as:
- Reading a book in a quiet room
- Listening to soft music or relaxing sounds
- Doing a quick meditation or deep breathing
- Focusing on thoughts that make you happy and relaxed
- Stretching or doing yoga
- Taking a bath
- Dimming the lights at least an hour before bedtime
- Avoiding alcohol
- Making your bedroom slightly cooler
- Avoiding eating a few hours before you go to bed
Getting into a predictable routine before bed helps you shift from the stresses of the day into night and trains your body to transition into sleep.
3. Watch What You Eat
There are known triggers to tinnitus like alcohol and artificial sweeteners. If you find, after tracking your diet and symptoms, that certain foods trigger or worsen your tinnitus, make it a practice to avoid them. You may feel like you still need your morning coffee, but avoid caffeine in the afternoon or evening.
4. Avoid Common Causes of Tinnitus
Ringing or other noises in your ears can be caused by many things. Addressing the cause can help prevent tinnitus or make it better. Here are a few things you can do to help:
- Protect your ears
- Evaluate your lifestyle to identify whether you’re exposed to loud noises (and how to limit exposure)
- Don’t use earbuds…use headphones instead and keep the sound level low
- Review your medications with your doctor to see if one may be causing tinnitus symptoms
- Get treated for anxiety or depression
- Go for your annual checkup
- Get help for underlying conditions such as high blood pressure
If you can identify what’s causing the ringing in your ears, you may be able to manage it better.
5. Make an Appointment to See a Hearing Specialist
A professional hearing test can help you identify what’s causing your tinnitus and indicate possible solutions. There are many ways hearing professionals can help you manage your tinnitus including:
- Fitting you for hearing aids designed to cancel out the noise
- Enrolling in therapy to train your brain not to hear the tinnitus
- Suggesting cognitive behavioral therapy to deal with thought patterns shown to make tinnitus worse
Professional help can speed up recovery and help you sleep better at night.