You’re trying to fall asleep, but that annoying ringing in your ears just won’t quit.
You toss and turn, but you just can’t nod off—and the distracting noise is starting to drive you nuts.
How can any of the 50 million people who are coping with this problem (which is technically called tinnitus) get their ZZZs through all that racket?
In an unfortunate twist, a new study found that getting poor sleep might actually make tinnitus symptoms even worse.
The good news is that there are tricks that you can use to fall asleep faster when you have tinnitus—and snoozing more at night may lessen your symptoms.
Scientists from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit found that tinnitus patients with insomnia (defined as poor sleep quality stemming from difficulty falling and/or staying asleep) were more likely to rate their tinnitus symptoms worse, compared with tinnitus patients who did not have insomnia.
What the study suggests, according to lead researcher Kathleen Yaremchuk, MD, the hospital’s chair of otolaryngology/head and neck surgery, is that if you suffer from tinnitus and insomnia and you find a way to get more sleep, then your tinnitus symptoms are likely to become less severe. But how do you get your ZZZs when you have tinnitus?
Dr. Yaremchuk suggested several proven methods that help tinnitus sufferers achieve sweet slumber…
1. Put on a fan or white noise machine while you’re trying to fall asleep. Adding background noise can help mask the ringing, buzzing or rushing in your ears. Or fall asleep to soft music.
2. Avoid taking the occasional aspirin, which can make tinnitus symptoms worse, and lay off caffeine (a stimulant that can keep you awake).
3. Ask your doctor whether one of your regular medications might be worsening your tinnitus. More than 200 prescription and nonprescription drugs, including some antibiotics and antidepressants, can make tinnitus worse. If tinnitus is one of your drug’s side effects, then consider switching drugs or using a natural treatment instead.
4. Talk to your doctor about taking a sleep aid, such as melatonin or a prescription medication that will treat the insomnia and lessen the effects of tinnitus.
5. Try cognitive behavioral therapy for the treatment of insomnia.
6. Learn hypnotherapy or other relaxation exercises from a Web site, DVD or trained counselor. (For more information on hypnotherapy, check out this Daily Health News article.)
7. Consider trying Arches Tinnitus Formula (available at www.TinnitusFormula.com or 800-486-1237; $35 for a 100-capsule bottle, a 25-day supply), a supplement incorporating gingko biloba, zinc and garlic. Dr. Yaremchuk recommends it to many of her patients. Some research indicates that this product may ease tinnitus symptoms. Before taking this supplement, check with your doctor to make sure that it’s right for you.
Source: Kathleen Yaremchuk, MD, chair, department of otolaryngology/head and neck surgery, senior staff, division of sleep medicine, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit.