Sleep and Tinnitus : Sleeping at Night
Here are excerpts from an interesting article* published on Northwestern University's website about sounds penetrating deep sleep.
*original article written by Pat Tremmel can be found here.
"They were in a deep sleep, yet sounds, such as a teakettle whistle and a cat's meow, somehow penetrated their slumber. The 25 sounds presented during the nap were reminders of earlier spatial learning, though the Northwestern University research participants were unaware of the sounds as they slept... Research strongly suggests that we don't shut down our minds during deep sleep"
What does this all mean? Simply that our hearing does not 'go to sleep' fully. We continue to process audio as we are falling asleep and, in fact, while we are sleeping. It makes complete sense that we would have evolved with this capability as it is our hearing that would warn us of impending danger in our slumber. Who wouldn't want to awaken when an unusually loud banging noise occurs? This is also one of the reasons Tinnitus (ear ringing) sufferers cannot sleep well. The ringing sets off a self-protection mechanism that might continually arouse the Tinnitus plagued individual. This would be akin to an alarm going off upon each entry into the Delta (deep sleep) state. It is not unusual for tinnitus sufferers to wake up numerous times during the night due to this 'false alarm'. I have first hand experience in this phenomena as I have had tinnitus in both ears for decades.
New research suggests that tinnitus sufferers are literally hearing the electrical impulses that occur in all human brains. In a normal human this audible fodder is cancelled out by the undamaged inner and/or middle ear functions.
Naturally soothing sounds produce relaxing Alpha brainwaves in nearly all humans. This is well known. These sounds also have the ability to cancel out irritating background noise such as ringing ears. Whether it is the sound of rain on a tin roof or the soothing sound of wind , both can cancel out Tinnitus. Until a Tinnitus cure is found this is simply the best way to get a good nights sleep.
We have some free Tinnitus Masking sounds here: