We all know the importance of getting a good night’s sleep. Sleep is fundamental to our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing; it plays a huge part in improving our memory, concentration, stress levels and even boosting our creativity levels. Given our society’s ever-increasing working hours and use of digital technology, it’s no surprise that we are generally more sleep deprived than ever. While sleep deprivation comes with a host of negative effects, you may not realise that the amount of sleep you are getting can negatively impact your hearing health.
How can a lack of sleep affect your hearing?
According to The National Sleep Foundation, adults should receive between eight and ten hours of sleep each night. According to the foundation’s findings, any less than this can negatively impact your concentration, your mood and the brain functions involved in hearing, known as central auditory processing. Your central auditory processing relies on alertness and concentration, both of which can be hindered by sleep deprivation and subsequently your listening capabilities.
A lack of sleep is also known to negatively affect your body’s blood circulation, including the blood supply to your ears. There are around 20,000 tiny hairs in our hearing organs that help to detect sound waves and translate them into speech and environmental sounds; this process relies on normal blood flow and the supply of vital nutrients to the ear to ensure its proper function. This means that any restrictions with your blood flow can irreparably damage these delicate sensory cells, resulting in a permanent reduction in hearing sensitivity.
How to improve your sleep
Limit your time with technology
It’s no secret that using technology before bed is a bad idea. The artificial blue light emitted from phone and television screens disrupts your internal body clock and can suppress the release of a sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, making it significantly more difficult to fall asleep. To minimise your exposure to blue light, try to make a habit of restricting the use of your mobile phone or watching your television for at least one hour prior to your bedtime.
Clear your mind
Do you have difficulty clearing your mind before bedtime? If so, try keeping a journal by your bed and writing down anything that is preoccupying you. Whether it’s tasks you need to do the next day or feelings relating to an argument with a friend, writing down your thoughts before bed means you don’t have to worry about potentially forgetting things by the next morning and it may help to put your concerns into perspective.
Establish a routine
Establishing a regular sleep routine is one of the most effective ways of improving your sleep. By going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time everyday, you are more likely to wake up feeling more energised and well-rested than if you sleep for the same number of hours per day but at different times. Establishing a good, old-fashioned bedtime may also reduce the amount of time you spend tossing and turning each night, making it more likely that you can wake up naturally each morning.
Organise your next hearing test with The Art of Hearing
Your hearing health relies on a number of factors, many of which you may have never considered. If you’re concerned about the relationship between your hearing loss and sleep or if you’re simply due for your next hearing test, our Perth audiologists at The Art of Hearing are here to offer professional support every step of the way. Contact our experienced audiologists at The Art of Hearing website or call us on 08 9390 8811.