There are many reasons we should all aim to get a good night's sleep. Not only does sleep help us to wake up refreshed and energetic for the next day, it's also a crucial element in many of our body's restorative processes.
We recently explored the link between our general health and hearing loss, but could sleep also have an influence on the state of our hearing?
The effects of sleep deprivation
Sleep deprivation is a pressing concern here in Australia. As many as 33-45 per cent of adults either don't get enough sleep or sleep poorly most nights, according to the Sleep Health Foundation (SHF)1.
If you've ever woken up from a poor night's sleep, you'll likely be familiar with the side effects, from grogginess and fatigue to difficulties making decisions. This is because even partial sleep deprivation has been found to result in both impaired attention and cognitive performance2.
Cognitive function and our hearing
This can make hearing difficult for those with untreated hearing loss, as they strain to keep up with conversations and even lip read while battling fatigue.
In addition, sleep deprivation is known to impact our working memory, a process that is intrinsically linked to our attention2. One of the key divisions of working memory is our phonological loop, which enables us to temporarily hold acoustic or verbal information.
For those with untreated hearing loss, this suggests sleep deprivation can only add to the difficulty of listening to speech and other everyday sounds.
Getting quality sleep
Fortunately, there are a number of ways that you can try to improve your sleep habits. Firstly, the SHF recommends getting into a regular pattern of going to sleep and waking at a certain time3. Adults should aim for about 8 hours of sleep each night, so make sure you're giving yourself enough time to get that quality shut-eye.
Avoid coffee, alcohol or cigarettes around bed time, as well as watching TV in bed – your bedroom should be a place of rest, rather than entertainment3.
If you've noticed changes in your hearing, or that of a loved one, don't wait for it to get worse. You can request your no cost* hearing test with AudioClinic by clicking here, or to find out more give us a call on 1800 940 984.
1Sleep Health Foundation, Sleepiness Epidemic Hits Nation. Accessed July, 2017
2 Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, Sleep deprivation: Impact on cognitive performance. Accessed July, 2017.
3Sleep Health Foundation, Ten tips for a good night's sleep. Accessed July, 2017