How I got my good night sleep back – despite my tinnitus
I didn´t even think about it, but I just read an article that tinnitus usullay brings insomia with it. And oh man, have I struggled with my sleep or sould I say with my absent sleep.
I had nights where I barely slept at all, of course if that happens the tinnitus is even worse, because I was so stressed and tired about not being able to sleep….and of course in the absolutly worst mood ever.
Not to forget that nights used to drive me crazy, watching a movie, walking around, reading something, listening to music, trying to close the eyes and count and so on…the feeling of being exhausted but not able to sleep is just so despairing.
I have to add that in my worst tinnitus times I was sick a lot, and was in bed like all the time. Just always feeling depressed and without power to confront life outside my bed.
How that changed?
My tinnitus still is the same, but I changed my life step by step. Nothing happend over night and a lot of times I started something, then got lazy again, didn´t feel a change right away and didn´t believe in it anymore or I had some complete fall backs, when I laid in bed all day again, but I never gave up completly or at least found my way back.
At first I „exercised“ a little at home or when running when I felt like it, it was ok but no real exercise. Six month ago I joined a gym and it totally chaged my workout routine, it made me want to work out more and stick to my routine. Of course I am not motivated every day, but even when I´m not I go as part of my daily routine and afterwards I am always so glad I did!
How does it help with sleep?
Firstly my body gets tired differently since then, if I exercise in the afternoon or evening I could go straight to bed. Secondly exercising regularil decreases overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilizes the mood, which helps to sleep better.
The sleepfoundation.org says: „Of the handful of studies that have been performed, they suggest that exercise significantly improves the sleep of people with chronic insomnia.“
Develop a routine
Since I have my tinnitus and got sleeping problems my sister has always said that I need to establish a routine, that the body needs a routine it can relay on to feel stressfree and to function well.
I never believed her. She said to eat around the same time, to go to bed around the same time and to go to the bathroom around the same time and so on and so on.
She says, and she is a pharmaceutical technician so she should know, when you establish a routine it is like with kids (as I am a social worker I think so wanted to apply to my pedagogical side) after a while they do those things automatically. The same way it works with the body, it then gets hungry everyday at the same time, needs to go to the bathroom at the same time and gets tired at the same time.
I started doing that, and yes….at the beginning I went to bed but didn´t think I could sleep.
Now I get tired around the same time everyday, no matter at what time I got up. If I get off my routine for too long it doesn´t work anymore though.
Healthy eating habits
Many foods I ate affected my health and my stomach, I felt bloated all the time and like I had eaten a stone….that made it harder to fall asleep also.
I had the same problem with rich food at night, now I try to eat light at night and it really makes a difference.
Read more about my new eating habits here: https://thetinnituslife.com/category/soul-food/
A good sleeping environment
For me it is really important that it is as dark as possilble, that the bed is comfortable and that there is water close to my bed, so when I wake up thirsty at night I don´t have to get up. AND that I don´t get cold or too warm. I sometimes sleep with socks on, others say that isn´t good but it makes me feel better.
Oh yeah and of course I usually have something on.
Many people listen to a white noise machine or other types of noise machines, there are also different sounds you can listen to on youtube or download as an app.
I tried it, but that isn´t really for me, music doesn´t really work either…then I don´t want to sleep. I usually put on a tv-show or a movie….just to have some background noise. Some might say, that it isn´t good for your REM sleep and it does happen occationally that I then think about the movie the next day a lot and I think my mind is processing all that info getting in late at night, so I do try to not watch too horrible things.
Not being in bed as much
The body has to be tired, feel ready to go to bed…at least mine does. So when I am in bed all day, because I am depressed and feel just horrible…at the end of the day I can´t really sleep because I have been sleeping on and off the whole day or because my body is rested already, my mind too because I haven´t really been doing anything.
So even if I´m having one of those days and I have the urge to just stay in bed, I force myself to at least do some walking or somthing that my body gets a little tired.
And it might just happen that when I am up that I start to feel better and that I don´t even want to go to bed.
Stop thinking too much at night
Sometime my head is spinning because I am thinking and thinking and rethinking everything. My mind just won´t stop…and I let it enter every vicious cycle.
There are a few things which helped me with that, for one yoga helps me to see life a little differently and to not identify myself with every thought I have, the same for meditation and it also helps me in calming myself down. Journaling is another benefit, to just get my thoughts out. After journaling all those thought keeping me from my sleep are in my diary and no longer bother me. Read more about it here: https://thetinnituslife.com/2017/08/27/writing-about-your-tinnitus-trouble-can-have-a-therapeutic-effect/
I have read many tips and recommendation on how to sleep better and on how to get over insomnia. In the end what really helps, is what you need to find out what feels good for you. Only you know what you can do to sleep better. This is how I no finllay after years sleep pretty well most of the time!