“Good morning. How was your sleep?”. This is what I’m asked every morning when I’m at my favourite B&B in Niagara Falls.
A good night’s rest is important for everyone. It helps the brain and body recuperate and develop. Some benefits include boosting your immune system, improving your memory, strengthening your heart and improving your mood. There are many things that can negatively impact your sleep. Speaking to your doctor to determine if you need a sleep coach to address unhealthy sleep habits or to determine if there is an underlying health issues to address, like sleep apnea, is an important first step for anyone who wakes up feeling tired or feels sleepy during the day.
If you have tinnitus, it can make falling asleep or staying asleep difficult. One reason for this is that it’s quiet at night and there are no distractions. Like a candle light in the night, tinnitus is more noticeable. Some of my patients use a fan to drown out their tinnitus but the most ideal sound source is a tabletop sound generator, like the one in the photo for my blog, as you can control the volume. Some common sounds that are good to use at night are white sounds (or any variation of static noise), heartbeat and nature sounds like ocean waves or rain. However, there are a few important things to remember when enriching your environment with sound at night.
First, it’s important to use a sound that is stable; that is without any erratic fluctuations. I had one patient who reported worse sleep after using her table top sound generator. She was using the rain track. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later that we solved the mystery, when she commented that her husband wanted her to change the sound because the rolling thunder in the background was waking him up. Remember that we cannot turn off our ears at night so any sound source must be stable for your brain to tune it out.
Second, you must set the sound source BEFORE going to your bedroom for the night. We want to avoid having you enter a quiet bedroom space and worry about what sound to use. Most people with tinnitus also have hearing loss and keep their hearing aids in a case or charger on their bedside table. Never the washroom please! Having the sound in the room on before removing the hearing devices is especially important to avoid perceiving your tinnitus as being louder than it really is.
Lastly, it’s important to set the sound to stay on throughout the night. This will ensure that you won’t notice it as much when moving to a lighter stage of the sleep cycle or waking up to use the washroom in the middle of the night and when waking up in the morning. A common question I get is “how do I enrich my bedroom space with sound if my spouse needs the room to be quiet to sleep?” You don’t need to move out. There are solutions that I can explore with you if you need help.
As we say good-bye to 2021, I wish you all good health and happiness … and good sleep is a big part of that!