For the millions of people who have tinnitus, bedtime is often one of the most difficult times of day to cope with the constant ringing, buzzing or chirping they experience. In fact, because of the quiet, many people suspect that their tinnitus is loudest while they are trying to fall asleep. However, the actual loudness of tinnitus does not vary much during the day.
Why Tinnitus Noise Seems Worse at Bedtime
Unfortunately, tinnitus can seem more intense at bedtime because there is less environmental noise to mask or cover up tinnitus. In some cases, it’s also related to your level of tiredness which may mean your ability to suppress or mask the tinnitus is reduced. In addition, sleep may be affected by sound sensitivity conditions. Some people report that external sounds can distract or delay them from falling asleep (snoring, dogs barking, street noise, etc.). As with tinnitus, these sounds may seem more noticeable/bothersome due to a lack of noise to mask them.
Tips for Getting a Better Night’s Sleep
- Set a bedtime and a wake-up time. You should be tired enough to sleep at your set bedtime. Exposure to sunlight may help you wake up.
- Do not nap during the day.
- Get regular exercise during the day to promote sleep and improve relaxation.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol especially several hours before bedtime.
- Caffeine is found in tea, coffee, soda drinks and many chocolates. Try a decaffeinated form of coffee or tea, or substitute your caffeinated beverage with juice or water.
- Alcohol may allow you to fall asleep more easily, but often can disrupt sleep in the second half of the night, and may also increase tinnitus awareness.
- Use sound to prepare for sleep or while awake during the night:
- Select soft, peaceful sounds, such as nature sounds, music, white noise or motor noise (fan, humidifier, etc.).
- Consider a pillow speaker or timer if the sound bothers others.
- Use a sound machine or download a sound therapy app (such as relaxing sounds, white noise, etc.).
Improve Relaxation and Reduce Worrying at Bedtime
- Schedule “worry time” sessions. This is time dedicated solely to thinking about those issues that worry you.
- Keep a pen and paper next to your bed to write down any additional concerns that you may have.
- Consider using relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation, meditation or imagery training.
Improve the Bedroom Arrangement
- Turn the face of the clock away from you so it is not distracting.
- Keep the bedroom cool and dark for sleeping – set the temperature for 58 to 68 degrees.
- Avoid having a mobile phone, television or computer in the bedroom.
For more information about tinnitus, download our free e-book, There is Something You Can Do About Tinnitus.