Sleep and Tinnitus - The Sound of Silence
Ahh, the sound of silence and going to sleep easily. I remember it quite well. But that was before I acquired Tinnitus playing in a blues-rock band without ear protection. These days I live with constant ringing in my ears. I say ears plural as I have two different constant high pitched tones. One for each ear. Yes, my old buddy tinnitus is here to stay. The worst side effect of my tinnitus is, and will always be, the accompanying sleep issues. It seems we humans evolved a defense mechanism that is now working against me. The last sense that succumbs to sleep is our hearing. It is also the first sense to arouse us. Darwinian theory suggests that those humans who did not arouse easily if a Saber-tooth tiger or Grizzly were near (and making noise) soon became a midnight snack for hungry prehistoric predators. Those humans who's hearing functioned as an early warning system survived. Evolution at it's most basic level.
Sound arouses us, warns us and keeps us alive. Unless, of course, that particular sound is user generated... like my tinnitus. My subconscious does not seem to have the capability to differentiate between a tiger's growl, a fire alarm, or my ringing ears. Ergo, my sleep problem. Tinnitus is an alarm sounding 24/7. During the day it simply becomes background noise. There are times while awake that my tinnitus is barely perceptible. But at night, when the television goes silent, the lights dim and all background noises disappear, my ringing ears start screaming... YOU ARE IN DANGER! TIGER IN THE CAVE! GET UP OR DIE!
So I got up, over and over again.
...until I got sick of it. That is one of the reasons this site was started. I was tired of being tired. I knew decades ago that the sound of rain, fans, wind, music, waves, crickets or almost anything else that makes a constant sound, drowns out tinnitus. I also knew that deep meditation and visualization helps with generic insomnia. You see, it seems I received a double dose of insomnia as I have a mind that occasionally will not shut down for the night. Is the oven off? Did I lock the door? What's up with my pin-headed boss? What if the company loses that contract? Will there be layoffs? Is there a tiger in the cave? Thinking, thinking, thinking...
Learning how to relax is not as easy as it sounds. I eventually discovered visualization. Visualizing a pleasant scenario - a beach vacation, riding a train, hiking to a cabin - really did help me to sleep. Virtual Dreamer combines naturally relaxing sounds with virtually real audio scenarios... scenarios that can be visualized. It is the combination of the two that has worked miracles for me. So, will I ever hear the sound of silence again in my lifetime? One can hope for tinnitus cures but for tonight I will settle for, hmmmm, lets see... how about rain on a tin roof with distant thunder? That's the ticket.
Anyhow, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
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Insomnia can be an indication of a serious underlying health condition. Our opinions are in no way intended to be taken as medical advice. If you feel your insomnia issue warrants it please seek the advice of a qualified physician.