Is it safe to sleep with earplugs? How much better will the quality of sleep be? These questions are of interest to many people who have ever used them or want to start.
Earplugs are useful for protecting your ears from loud noises, but many people also use them for sleeping. They can make a huge difference for easy awakeners or people who live in a noisy neighborhood. However, there is some debate about whether it is safe to sleep with earplugs every night?
What are the benefits?
Resting with earplugs can greatly improve the quality of your sleep. For many people, earplugs are the only way to block out sounds during sleep, such as noise from the nearby freeway or a snoring partner.
This is important because the quality of your sleep is important. Loud noises can bring you out of a deep sleep. It has a lasting effect, even if you only wake up for a few seconds. It takes time for your body to return to the deep sleep phase that your body needs after a full day.
Speaking about my personal experience, the benefits of using earplugs are obvious: my sleep has become calmer, stronger and more refreshing. I sleep better now.
I have been experimenting with earplugs for a long time, on different days, intermittently. I tried to find out if they affected my sleep.
As you know, not only the quantity of sleep is important, but also its quality. With earplugs, I felt a cool effect. Why is that? When we sleep, most people have extraneous noise (sound of cars, motorcycles, wind and so on). And even if you don’t hear anything during sleep, your brain can’t go into a deep phase for long periods of time.
As we know, the deep phase of sleep is the most restorative. If you’re not in this phase for long, your brain is less rested. And even if you sleep longer, there is little effect.
That’s why if you sleep with earplugs (along with a sleep mask for total absence of light), you sleep more effectively. Can you imagine that not only work can be effective, but also sleep.
When used properly, earplugs block out most environmental sounds, from car noise and paper rustling to outside conversations and barking dogs (for highly sensitive people, these are full-fledged irritants). At the same time, most earplugs allow you to hear the sound of the alarm clock, telephone or alarm system, so that the risk of oversleeping on an early wake-up or missing an important call is not increased.
Of course, sleeping with earplugs will be unusual at first. In the first days, devices made of foam, silicone or polyurethane seem frankly uncomfortable, but once you get used to them, you can work without distraction and fall asleep faster. Nevertheless, for the sake of your own safety, it is important to consider the risks of this method.
Are there any side effects?
Earplugs are generally safe. However, they do have a few potential side effects, especially if you use them regularly.
Over time, earplugs can push earwax back into your ear, causing a buildup. This can cause several problems, including temporary hearing loss and tinnitus. In this case, you will either have to use special ear drops or see your doctor to clear the ear.
Earplugs can also cause ear infections. Although they can occur due to a buildup of earwax. Bacteria growing on earplugs can also cause them.
Unlike swimming or shooting earplugs, sleeping plugs have minimal pressure on the ears and can be used for long periods of time, but carelessness in doing so can result in damage to the inner ear, the development of infection or skin irritation.
You should not place earplugs too deep in the ear canal: it should be possible to remove them with your fingers without problems, and if you have to use tweezers to do so (a sign that you have gone too far). In that case during sleep, when we are not controlling the position of the earplugs, they can move even further and injure the eardrum.
The probability of such a situation is not very high, because the earplugs have to go a solid way to do that, but not all manufacturers are equally conscious in designing the shape of these devices, so it is better to be cautious.
It is important not to forget the vacuum effect that earplugs create. By pulling them out too quickly we risk damaging the inner ear.
The earplugs suck some air into the ear canal and create a partial “vacuum” in the ear canal: this both blocks sound and prevents the earplugs from falling out. If they are pulled out too quickly, the eardrum can become stretched and damaged by the air, which not only leads to pain or increased susceptibility to infection, but also to a partial loss of hearing. That is why earplugs should be pulled out slowly, twisting them gently to loosen the conditional “vacuum” in the ear canal.
If used frequently, earplugs can also irritate the skin, but the main danger is infection. Our ears collect dust and dead skin particles, and sometimes plant pollen or even the remains of dead insects. Natural cleansing is provided by earwax, which removes impurities from the passage, but earplugs get in the way of this process.
Minimizing the risks of sleeping with earplugs is very simple – it is a matter of measure and hygiene:
- Clean your earplugs thoroughly after use: wash them with soap and warm water and dry them with a towel;
- Touch the earplugs only before use and for the rest of the time keep them in their designated case;
- Do not use earplugs until they are completely dry or place them in wet ears: water retention inside the ear canal increases the risk of infection.
Be that as it may, doctors recommend sleeping without earplugs from time to time, if at all possible, so as not to subject the ear canal to a permanent “blockage” and develop a dependence on such soundproofing.
What is the best type of earplug for sleeping?
Earplugs are generally divided into ventilated and non-ventilated types.
Ventilated earplugs have a small opening and a valve to help equalize the pressure in the ear. These are e.g. earplugs for flying. Or, for example, swimming earplugs, which allow sound waves (i.e. all surrounding sound) to pass through, but prevent water from entering the ear. But unventilated earplugs are worse for your ears than unventilated ones when it comes to sleep.
Non-ventilated earplugs are usually classified by their material:
- Wax earplugs for sleeping. They are made of wax, they are very flexible, and they easily adjust to the size of your ear. They are a good choice for sleeping;
- Silicone earplugs for sleeping or swimming. Soft silicone earplugs work in the same way as wax earplugs and provide a comfortable fit in the ear;
- Polymeric earplugs for sleeping. Foam earplugs are also soft, making them a good choice for sleeping. However, their porous material makes them a good environment for bacteria, so you will need to change them more often than wax or silicone earplugs.
You can choose the right earplugs for sleep here: https://www.amazon.com/earplugs/s?k=earplugs.