Hypersensitivity to noise while sleeping - any suggestions?

Messages
18
Likes
48
Hi folks. I've had this problem for a long time, which started around the beginning of my CFS. Before that I was a fairly heavy sleeper and could sleep through most things. Now, even the slightest of noises - a creaking wall, an airplane passing in the distance, a bird chirping - can rouse me from my slumber, and sometimes it is difficult for me to go back to sleep after.

I use earplugs and white noise and they help a bit, but they don't block out all sounds. I've realized it's nearly impossible for me to find a completely quiet place to sleep (for a while I slept in a basement and even then I was sometimes woken up by sounds), so want to focus for a while on changing my perception of and sensitivity to noise, if that's possible.

For anyone else with this issue, have you found any solutions?
 

bensmith

Senior Member
Messages
1,547
Likes
3,389

Wishful

Senior Member
Messages
4,766
Likes
8,664
Location
Alberta
My guess is that the waking is due to alterations in how certain nerves are functioning, probably from alterations in the glial cells that help neurons function properly. As I posted in another thread, my sleep pattern has shifted from 'go through the different stages of sleep, then repeat from start' to 'go through the stages once, then wake up'. Unfortunately, that doesn't suggest a simple treatment for the malfunction. Finding a way to avoid or block the noises might be faster, while you look for something that might help neurologically (long shot I admit).

You could experiment with random noise (white, pink, brown, or tranquil music). You're likely triggering on changes in acoustic signals, so something fairly constant might mask the random changes in background sounds. There are probably plenty of noise samples on the internet to try.
 

Strawberry

Senior Member
Messages
2,002
Likes
4,736
Location
Seattle, WA USA
I am near the airport. Since I bought this house they now actually fly over my house at times. Not sure how! So yes the noise can be loud. I’m one that prefers my window open year round, but California smoke changed that recently. So I get a fan on medium to high and shove those earplugs in tight. It works.
 

bensmith

Senior Member
Messages
1,547
Likes
3,389
ah yes so my dad said as well, my gpa worked at an air force base so they did fly over head. i like that too, but yeah smoke is te worst i can't even imagien. when i lived in colroad we had big wildfirse but i'm sure nothign like what yall have had lately. hope you guys are ok where yuo live.
 

Strawberry

Senior Member
Messages
2,002
Likes
4,736
Location
Seattle, WA USA
I’m in Seattle, so safe. Thank you. It’s just the winds blowing California and Oregon smoke. Just when you think it’s gone, iiiitttsss baaaaack!

I hope you find something that helps, but I’d say if ear plugs and white noise don’t work, go louder or think of moving.
 
Messages
18
Likes
48
Thank you all for your thoughts. Perhaps I will try combining different frequencies in my white noise. Any louder my body almost starts to vibrate from the sound waves, but maybe I'd get used to it.

My guess is that the waking is due to alterations in how certain nerves are functioning, probably from alterations in the glial cells that help neurons function properly.
This is interesting to me. Do you know more about the mechanics of how CFS causes changes in nerve cells?
 

PatJ

Forum Support Assistant
Messages
5,288
Likes
14,994
Location
Canada
sensitivity to noise
It might be sensitivity to input in general. Here is Dr. Cheney's information about excitatory neurotoxicity (when the seizure threshold is lowered and excess sensory input can cause neuron death).

I've been far more sensitive to sound with ME/CFS. I take taurine powder to help reduce the particularly bad overstimulation effects from rapid and repeating noises, especially higher pitch ones.

For sleep I'm fortunate to live in a quiet area so outside noises usually aren't a problem. Inside though, the biggest regular noise producer is my fridge which is enough to bother me at night (or anytime if it wasn't for taurine). I use the highest NRR ear plugs I could find that are also comfortable (3M Ear) plus melatonin, plus Dr. Christopher's Relax-eze. The combo of those three keeps me asleep for at least 4-5 hours before waking up. I can usually get back to sleep again.
 

Wishful

Senior Member
Messages
4,766
Likes
8,664
Location
Alberta
This is interesting to me. Do you know more about the mechanics of how CFS causes changes in nerve cells?
Nothing definite, just lots of hints from research papers. There's plenty of research indicating that glial cells are active in ME, and plenty of research about how glial cells are important for helping and maintaining neural cell functioning, but most of the papers that try to combine the two use phrases such as "Not much is known about this" or "More research is needed". :grumpy:

Even without knowing the details, I find it easy to accept that immune activation alters glial cells, which in turn will affect their functions in assisting or maintaining neural cells. This wouldn't be consistent across the whole brain, which would explain why we all have unique patterns of sensitivities and symptoms. If the alteration is more severe in the motor control section, you might have more severe muscle problems. Another section might affect overall energy levels. Yet another area might cause sleep disorders. I don't think it would take much of a glial alteration in the aural processing neurons to cause noise hypersensitivity.

An interesting experiment might be to try glial antiinflammatories or immunosuppressants and see if some of the symptoms, such as noise hypersensitivity or visual snow are reduced.
 

xebex

Senior Member
Messages
835
Likes
1,634
i've always been a light sleeper but then once i got ME it got much worse. Things i have found that help are number 1 a weighted blanket - it helps calm your nervous system so you'll be less sensitive to stimuli. Magnesium before bed, no carbs after 6pm. Reduction of glutamate in the diet, and LDN was also helpful but i no longer take that. Another thing that helped was sleeping with the bed on an incline there is a inclined bed therapy group on facebook that might help (it has to be a full incline not just the top half of the bed) BUT it ended up making my back issues worse so I don't recommend if you have spinal compression of any kind.
 

leokitten

Senior Member
Messages
1,484
Likes
3,799
Location
U.S.
Earbuds for me too. Much easier to sleep than external noise canceling headphones.

Also turn on a fan or other white noise machine. This noise doesn’t bother me because it’s constant and not too loud and it drowns out everything else.
 

Wishful

Senior Member
Messages
4,766
Likes
8,664
Location
Alberta
no carbs after 6pm
That's something individuals might have to experiment with to see what works for them. For me, quickly-digested carbs after noon are bad, but they're safe again sometime before bed (haven't bothered to determine the earliest safe time). High-fibre carbs are safe for me. I think it's the rate of glucose rise that's the problem, and I suspect that insulin's effect on TRP transport across the BBB is involved.
 

xebex

Senior Member
Messages
835
Likes
1,634
Ahh yes good point! I think it’s super important to be aware of carb intake and for me it’s not so much how many carbs I eat but rather what type of carb and when. Of course everyone is different but I’m sure adapting carb intake would have some kind of positive impact on most people
 
Messages
18
Likes
48
An interesting experiment might be to try glial antiinflammatories or immunosuppressants and see if some of the symptoms, such as noise hypersensitivity or visual snow are reduced.
Yes, indeed. Would you happen to have a list of such supplements? :)

What do you use for white noise? Maybe it isn’t effective enough?
I use a deep brown noise with extra bass. It blocks most of the more annoying sounds, like car engines and motorcycles, but not everything.

I take taurine powder to help reduce the particularly bad overstimulation effects from rapid and repeating noises, especially higher pitch ones.
Ordered taurine and am going to try it!

Another thing that helped was sleeping with the bed on an incline
Definitely interesting, I'm going to look into this...
 

leokitten

Senior Member
Messages
1,484
Likes
3,799
Location
U.S.
Earbuds for me too. Much easier to sleep than external noise canceling headphones.

Also turn on a fan or other white noise machine. This noise doesn’t bother me because it’s constant and not too loud and it drowns out everything else.
I just realized that fans for example aren’t really white noise at all, but rather pink or brown noise, since a fan running at low doesn’t really produce high frequency noises, which is a plus.
 

Wishful

Senior Member
Messages
4,766
Likes
8,664
Location
Alberta
but they're safe again sometime before bed
Update: I tried a bit of sugar before bedtime last night, and had insomnia ~4AM. The bit of sugar in a cup of hot chocolate isn't enough to trigger my insomnia, but I really should avoid more than that. *sigh*