How To Sleep With Tinnitus

Tinnitus causes a lot of trouble when trying to sleep. If you’re not sure how to sleep with tinnitus, then let’s look at some tips that might help you out

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Tinnitus is a constant ringing of the ears. It has a number of different causes, but the constant drone of the ringing is what complicates sleeping. Noise isn’t very conducive to sleep, after all. 

Many of the ways you can improve your sleep with tinnitus are the same ways that other folks without the condition improve their sleep. 

Let’s look at some of the researched and proven ways that help folks get to sleep, both with and without tinnitus. 

Use Better Sound Masking

Drowning out the ringing of tinnitus is one of the best strategies to use to sleep. By masking the sound of the ringing with background noise, the ringing is easier to ignore. 

Many tinnitus patients use white noise to mask the ringing. However, you don’t have to get a white noise generator to make the most of this strategy, especially if it’s not working for you. 

Find a background noise that you find soothing or relaxing instead. If you can get yourself to relax while also drowning out the tinnitus, you have a better shot at getting sleep.

Write Down Your Thoughts Before Bed

A common complaint that many people have about falling asleep at night is that their thoughts race while they’re in bed. Folks with tinnitus aren’t immune to this either. If you have trouble sleeping between your thoughts and the ringing in your ears, writing down your thoughts could improve your sleep. 

Writing your thoughts down before bed gives you a chance to engage with those thoughts and get them out of your head. This also gives you a chance to release those thoughts, now knowing that they are on paper and can get revisited later. 

Follow a Relaxing Night-time Routine

Stress is a major factor in sleeping troubles. The feeling of stress causes an elevated heart rate and heightened awareness, neither of which is good for sleep. If anxiety is something keeping you up at night, you might need to change up what you’re doing before bed. 

Find ways that relax your body and mind before going to bed. Meditation, reading, stretching, or taking a hot bath could help reduce your tension. That way, your anxiety diminishes before bed, giving you a chance to fall asleep. 

Don’t Consume Caffeine After Noon

Caffeine is a trigger for tinnitus symptoms in some people. As a stimulant, caffeine can make the ringing in your ears worse as the blood flow and nerves respond faster. If you drink a lot of caffeine in your day, cutting back could help reduce your tinnitus symptoms. 

Also, consuming caffeine in the afternoon can be bad for almost anyone’s sleep. Caffeine stays in your system for a while, so drinking coffee in the afternoon can mean you still have caffeine in your system before bed. 

Avoid Blue Light Before Bed

Our eyes were made to respond to daylight. That’s why you wake up in the mornings. Your eyes detect the sunlight from behind your eyelids, eventually waking you up when enough daylight hits. The component of sunlight that does this is blue light.

Blue light, which is just the blue-colored component of white light, is also given off by electronic screens. Your computer, smartphone, and tablets all give off blue light. This blue light can make you feel awake at night despite the time of day. By cutting back on screen time before bed, you can make yourself feel more tired and ready for bed.

Darken Your Bedroom

Much like with blue light, the extra light from outdoors can keep you awake. Folks that live in cities with bright streetlights or other ambient light might find it hard to sleep when these lights shine through their windows. 

Blackout curtains can help keep this ambient light from coming in from outside. Also, try turning off any electronics that have bright displays. The more light you can remove from your bedroom, the less chance you have of being disturbed by light.  

Lower the Room’s Temperature

Our bodies evolved to sleep under certain conditions. While the light level is one factor for good sleep, the temperature of your bedroom is one many people don’t think about. Studies have shown that the ideal temperature for most folks is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you’ve tried some of the other tips already, it might be worth lowering your thermostat the next time you need to rest. Many of the sleep issues that bother other folks can compound sleeping issues for those with tinnitus.

Get Up When You Toss and Turn

Tossing and turning while trying to sleep is a terrible feeling. The discomfort of not getting comfortable combined with the frustration of not being asleep compound the issue further. 

The next time this happens to you, don’t fight the urge to get up and do something else. Grab a small snack, relax somewhere comfortable, and do something quiet. 

See if you can convince your body to become tired so you can go back to sleep. Tossing and turning moves your body around and keeps you from relaxing enough to fall asleep. 

Set a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Many of the other solutions on this list are quick things you can do to fix your sleeping issues. Changing out a bulb or your curtains is easier to do than changing your sleep schedule. But, if all else fails, you might be failing to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.

Sleeping and waking at different times of the day creates a feeling similar to jet lag. Your body doesn’t have a chance to get used to sleeping in certain conditions it evolved to expect. Set a time for you to wake up and go to bed every night and see if that helps improve your sleep. 

Summary

The unique way that those who suffer from tinnitus can remedy their sleep troubles is by masking the sound of their tinnitus with something relaxing. Otherwise, reducing your exposure to blue light and caffeine, as well as improving your sleep habits, and proven ways to get better sleep, will surely help out when the sun goes down.

Nate Devore
Nate Devore
For over 15 years Nate has been obsessed with solving his own personal and difficult health challenges related to sleep, energy, and fatigue. As one of our sleep experts at sleeping.com, Nate is passionate about helping you get the best night’s sleep possible.

Medical Disclaimer: The content on this page should not be taken as medical advice or used as a recommendation for any specific treatment. Always consult your doctor before making any decisions.

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