Tinnitus refers to hearing different kinds of noise in your head. However, this condition isn’t related to any psychosis like schizophrenia and others. Instead, those noises can be anything from low to high pitched sounds. The noises can be whistling, buzzing, and even ringing. The condition tends to worsen at night when everything gets silent, making falling asleep more difficult.
So, how do you sleep with tinnitus? At first, hearing noises 24 hours a day can be extremely unnerving. So, how do you treat it? Doctors and scientists actively explore the condition, and while many products exist, none offer the scientific confirmation that they can permanently cure the tinnitus. Additionally, the condition is associated with hearing loss but anyone can be diagnosed with it.
In the section below, we’ve highlighted some of the best methods to try out to help you fall asleep and stay asleep with tinnitus. It’s no secret that tinnitus can cause sleep deprivation and fatigue. Additionally, it can have psychological consequences given that patients diagnosed with this condition can be depressed and even asocial.
10 Ways to Help You Sleep With Tinnitus
1. Mask the Sound
Not everyone can mask the noise because it may get uncomfortable for your partner or others in your household. However, one of the best methods to treat tinnitus at night when it gets worse. Ideally, the best way to mask your tinnitus noises would be to play music exactly at the sound frequency of the noise you hear. That can be anything from radio to TV.
Playing it at lower sound could work well too as long as it can distract you from hearing the noise in your head, without compromising your sleep quality.
Another solution would be playing music on your phone if you have earbuds. That way you wouldn’t bother your sleeping partner and other people who live with you.
Given that listening to music for an extended amount of time can be harmful to your hearing, it’d be the best if your smartphone has a timer feature where you could disable the music after 45 minutes to an hour. That way, playing music won’t damage your hearing.
There’s even a research study that finds a link between filtered music and treatment options for tinnitus. In another study, scientists explored tailored and notched music that can help maintain the tinnitus loudness at low levels.
2. Use a White Noise Machine
A white noise machine is effective against a lot of conditions, one of them is tinnitus. The reason for that is because white noise is the best at masking sounds of different frequencies. It emits all hearable frequencies at the same energy which makes it soothing for sleep. It can block out the traffic noise, neighbors, and different kinds of noise.
There are a lot of studies that prove that the sound modulation that comes from white noise machines is beneficial to reducing the effects of tinnitus. White noise can be found in a large specter of home appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, air conditioning devices, and air purifiers.
However, white noise machines offer more comfort and provide some additional sounds added up with pink noise that’s deeper, such as leaves, waves, rain, thunderstorm, crackling fireplace, and more. We reviewed 10 best white noise machines worth checking out here.
3. Make a Sleep Journal
Sleep journal is made for everyone who at some point suffers from insomnia or inability to fall asleep easily. People with tinnitus should also write in a sleep journal because it’ll help them express their emotions and thoughts about how the condition affects their sleep schedule.
Writing down thoughts can also help you rid yourself of nervousness and anxiety induced by everyday stressful situations. Remember, it may not always be the tinnitus that’s slowing you down on your way to sleep, but other stressful situations that could lead to tinnitus intensifying. One study even discovered a close relation between PTSD experience and tinnitus developing at some point in life.
With that in mind, maintaining a detailed journal will certainly be beneficial to sleep easier. If you feel like you can’t sleep at some point, you can easily revisit the things you wrote down in your journal and use it to sleep easier.
4. Keep the Temperature Optimal
As mentioned earlier, tinnitus may not always be the reason why you’re not sleeping. However, other factors that affect sleep can also affect tinnitus. Normally, sleeping on hot temperature, whether it’s the mattress temperature or room temperature is extremely difficult.
If you have a thermostat, we recommend lowering it as the bedtime hours approach. Another way to help you keep the room cool is an air conditioner, as well as bed cooling systems that we reviewed in this article, they’re worth checking out.
Lastly, if you think that the reason you’re up to is the discomfort caused by a hot mattress, we recommend taking a look at some of the mattress with cooling properties, either a latex mattress or gel-infused memory foam mattresses.
Also Read: What Is the Perfect Temperature for Sleep?
5. Go to Sleep and Wake Up At the Same Time
Maintaining a healthy bedtime routine is essential to healthy sleep hygiene. Going to sleep at the same time every night could potentially reduce the symptoms of your tinnitus condition. Several studies recommend going to sleep from 10 pm to 6 am because it’s the healthiest time for sleep.
More studies recommend that having a properly defined sleep routine can help you reduce the effects of tinnitus and sleep before it gets too silent to control the noises in your head. Sleeping early will also help you get more restorative sleep and wake up refreshed and restored.
Additionally, feeling more rested avoids daytime sleepiness and fatigue, which is extremely important when going through the day to day activities and helps avoid unwanted accidents.
6. Light and Relaxing Exercises
Exercising before bed isn’t always the best idea because it can boost up your metabolism and prevent you from falling asleep easily. However, a light exercise here and there will not harm.
A lot of people who have tinnitus anecdotally reported that exercising pilates, yoga, and tai chi helped them cope with excess buzzing, hissing, and roaring during bedtime. Your body will relax and you’ll hear less disturbing sounds that keep you awake.
7. Less screen time
Less screen time is one of the guarantees to help you sleep and restore. Even with tinnitus, avoiding excess screen time during evening hours can be beneficial for your sleep cycle.
The reason for that is because of the blue color emitted by the laptop, TV, and phone screens contribute to us feeling more awake than usual.
Giving up the screen time a few hours before bed can help you fall asleep easier, even with tinnitus.
8. Use Different Night Lights
Night lights can emit a lot of blue colors which, as mentioned earlier can keep you up at night. Instead, you can use the red light which has lower frequency so going to the bathroom through the night won’t wake you up completely.
That said, replace the blue and yellow bulbs with the red light, at least in the bathroom and you’re guaranteed to sleep easier.
9. Brainwave Entrainment for Sleep
Brainwave entrainment is a technology used to aid sleep. Aside from aiding you to sleep, they trigger changes in the mental state using sound.
It’s usually done with assistance with medical experts who will measure the EEG and see your brain wave activity to measure different mental states. Brainwave entrainment can be achieved by using sound, flashing lights, or even a low-frequency vibration.
It works by synchronizing the brainwave frequencies to the sound or vibration frequencies that will guide you to sleep. It allows you to relax and feel refreshed once waken up.
There are even studies that support this belief, but you will need to visit your doctor to know the science behind how your brain works.
10. Melatonin and Magnesium
It’s no secret that melatonin and magnesium are used for sleep. Doctors often prescribe one of the therapies, but they can often combine them if better results are needed.
Researchers found a significant decrease in buzzing sounds associated with tinnitus after utilizing the melatonin therapy in 61 study participants.
Out of 26 subjects who participated in the magnesium study, 19 completed it with a significant decrease in the symptoms.
Thereby both supplements can enhance sleep quality and help fight off the unnerving noise that intensifies before the bed. We also reviewed which magnesium is the best for sleeping due to its soothing effects on our muscles and central nervous system.
So, What Causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus has a range of causes. The most common ones include damage and rupture of the middle or inner ear. The reason for that is because our middle ear picks the sound waves, and then converts them to electrical impulses sent to our brain.
The brain then translates those signals into the sound that we perceive. However, when the middle and inner ear suffers some kind of damage, which affects our ability to process the sound.
There are other causes of tinnitus as well. For example, if your eardrums suffer a rupture or other type of damage, it can affect your middle ear’s way of perceiving the sound waves. Lastly, tumors in the ear can also affect the auditory nerve can result in ringing and hissing sound in the ears.
It’s worth noting that constant exposure to loud sounds can cause tinnitus, especially in people who work with automotive gear. Some include chainsaws, jackhammers, other types of saws, and so on. People who enjoy listening to strong bass music and loud music, in general, using headphones can experience tinnitus at some point in life, even temporarily.
If you’re diagnosed with tinnitus, your doctor may prescribe you certain medications and hearing aid to cope with tinnitus daily. However, none of these treatments guarantee that you’ll sleep in the night with ease. A lot of people who suffer from tinnitus give in to alcoholism to reduce the symptoms, but that can have a lot of consequences during the day.
While the definitive, scientifically-proven medicine to aid tinnitus for sleep doesn’t exist to this day, we hope that our list helped you sleep easier.