This page will provide you with more information about tinnitus and techniques to help you sleep.
Sleep is a matter of habit or routine.
Sleep disturbance affects most of us at some stage. It affects both adults and children, but it is more prevalent in older adults.
There are various reasons for sleep disturbance, including:
Some people with tinnitus may have greater difficulty getting to sleep, feel they aren’t getting enough sleep, experience poor quality sleep or feel less refreshed in the morning.
The bedroom tends to be the quietest room in the house and it is dark so therefore there is no other sensory input, this can then make tinnitus more noticeable.
Other problems that can be associated with tinnitus that can result in sleep disturbance:
- Stiffness, pain and tension in the head, neck and jaw
- Daytime fatigue creating irregular sleep-wake times
- Depression and anxiety which are very commonly associated with insomnia and sleep disorders
Initial sleep problems tend to be due to an identified illness or problem, for example tinnitus.
The act of going to bed can then cause anxiety about having yet another sleepless night.
Anticipatory anxiety is what often leads to the long term sleeping problem, not the tinnitus itself. It is this association that needs to be dealt with, rather than the actual tinnitus.
What can we do about it?
- Limit the amount of caffeine and nicotine, they are both a stimulant.
- Keep active during the day within your capabilities.
- Try to unwind for at least an hour before bedtime – put down phones and tablets!
- Write down any worries and stresses you have and possible solutions and put it to one side.
- Practice relaxation exercises during the day.
- Go to bed when you are sleepy, not just because it is ‘bedtime’.
- Associate the bedroom with sleep and rest only.
- Get up at the same time every day, regardless of how you have slept.
- Get up and do something relaxing if you are not asleep within 30 minutes.
- Consider using gentle sound or light via apps/pillow speaker.
- Use a simple sleep diary to create perspective of sleep problems.
- Speak to GP for short term help.
- Use alcohol to induce sleep. You may feel it helps you to get to sleep, but it will wake you up in the night.
- Watch TV, do work or reports in bed.
- Use tablets and phones before or in bed.
- Take it easy after a bad night’s sleep, but use common sense.
- Cat nap during the day.
- Eat your main meal late at night.
- Exercise just before bed.
- Make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable.
- Too hot or cold? Adjust your blankets.
- Struggle to sleep when light? Use blackout curtains.
- Have a warm bath to aid relaxation before bed.
- Use a pleasant smell, for example lavender to help relaxation – another sensory input.
- Use gentle light – effective with more severe hearing losses.
- Place sound or gentle music in the room prior to bedtime.
- Practice mindfulness – paying more attention to the present moment, to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you. It can improve your mental wellbeing and help focus on the positives.
CBT-i Coach is for people who are engaged in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia with a health provider, or who have experienced symptoms of insomnia and would like to improve their sleep habits.
The app will guide users through the process of learning about sleep, developing positive sleep routines, and improving their sleep environments. It provides a structured program that teaches strategies proven to improve sleep and help alleviate symptoms of insomnia.
Sleepwell is a resource to help people with insomnia get their sleep back without medication and recommends CBTi (cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia) because it has excellent evidence that it works. The challenge for many is getting access to CBTi and this is where Sleepwell comes in.Sleepwell website
Useful information which covers common problems with sleep, simple tips on how to sleep better, and how to decide if you need more help.Sleep Council website
Royal College of Psychiatrists
Offers practical advice and support to help adopt healthier sleep habits. Includes sleep hygiene, common sleep scenarios, 7 steps to sleep and sleep environment.Royal College of Psychiatrists website