Sleep is very important. Without sufficient sleep it is impossible to run at optimal functionality throughout the day, and easy to become tired, drained, and lackadaisical in our activities. For many people, especially light-sleepers, noises in the night can awake you from your slumber and interrupt your vital sleep. For this reason, many people decide that sleeping with earplugs is the best option in regards to drowning out unwanted noise (such as loud snoring, or a busy road). Whilst this will definitely block out unwanted noise, it may have some downsides. Read on to learn more.
Is It Harmful to Sleep with Earplugs?
The main thing to consider when asking this question is the buildup of ear wax. Wax within the ear is essential for protection, lubrication and cleaning of the ear. However, if it builds up it can quite easily trap dirt and possibly lead to an infection. If you use earplugs every night then there is a possibility that a buildup of ear walk may occur. The ear will naturally rid itself of unwanted wax but with the earplug acting as an obstruction, this can be made quite difficult. It is also essential that you ensure your earplugs are cared for properly, and make sure that they are clean before you insert them. Failure to do so can lead to the possibility of an infection occurring from bacteria residing on the earplugs.
Precautions to Take
When sleeping with earplugs, or whenever else you may use them, it is important to take great care with their insertion and extraction. As the ears are extremely delicate (and very important), failure to do so can cause you great distress. If you pull the earplug out too quickly, it can cause the membrane of your eardrum to rupture. This is because the earplug is designed to create a suction within your inner ear, which helps it stay within the ear whilst also assist in blocking out noise, and pulling it out too quickly can pull on the eardrum’s membrane. Similarly, if the earplug is pushed in too far, it can put unwanted pressure on the eardrum and cause damage. Whilst you may not push it in yourself too far (and you should definitely avoid doing so), sleeping on your side can cause the earplug to be pushed in deeper. This can be combatted by sleeping on your back, or acquiring earplugs that are too big to get lodged dangerously deep.
There are further cautions to consider when sleeping with earplugs. The fact that your hearing is blocked is the primary purpose for the use of the earplugs, but can also prove to be dangerous. This is because your ability to hear will be hindered, meaning that you are less likely to be awoken from a deep sleep in case of an emergency, such as the sound of a fire alarm in response to a fire. You may not wake up until it is too late, though this is an unlikely occurrence.
As mentioned, sleep is extremely important. If you are unable to sleep and need to use earplugs, then do not hesitate. Just be sure to follow the advice laid out above, ensuring that the earplugs are clean and safe to use. If possible, try to minimize the amount you use the earplugs, and attempt to only use them on nights that are particularly noisy. Following this advice will ensure that you face no downsides to sleeping with earplugs, and you will be well on your road to a healthy sleeping pattern.