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Why You Shouldn’t Sleep With The TV On

Getting a good night’s sleep is the best thing you can do to stay healthy. For many of us, a few things help to put us to sleep faster. For example, some people read before sleeping, some listen to music, while some watch TV. But is it really what you should be doing to yourself? Furthermore, why shouldn’t you sleep with the TV on? 

Many people find that sleeping with the TV on helps them sleep. However, experts agree that this isn’t a good idea. Sleeping with the TV increases your exposure to blue light, which can disturb your circadian rhythm and increase your risk for diabetes, obesity, and other health problems. Sleeping with the TV on could be doing more than just weight gain. So, if you’re someone who loves to binge-watch Netflix shows before diving into a deep sleep, read the article to know whether it’s good for you? 

Is It A Good Idea To Sleep With A Tv On?

There has been a lot of research about how the technology we use affects our sleep, mood, mental state, and overall health. In addition, many studies also examined how the devices we use to view them, like laptops, cell phones, and TVs, impact our health. While detailed research is still ongoing but as per the consensus, if you can avoid any of the mentioned devices before sleeping, you should. According to a National Sleep Foundation poll, 60% of Americans watch TV right before falling asleep. For some, it’s just a nightly ritual, while some claim that the background noises help them fall asleep faster. 

Sleep is not just losing consciousness. Many changes occur within the body to allow sleep and to optimize regeneration during sleep.  Have you wondered why staying up late at night, even if you sleep late into the day, often leaves you feeling tired and groggy? It happens because sleep at night is so much more restful than sleep during the day. Even if you manage to operate out of sync with the sun, doing so may harm you in many ways and age you prematurely. For sleep to be effective, you must time the processes that go along with sleep properly.

Melatonin is a hormone that puts you to sleep, and the brain starts releasing it after three or four hours of darkness. To be more precise, melatonin is released after the blue light and green light have disappeared from the environment. So naturally, green and blue light disappears from the environment after the sunset, but when you look at your phone, turn on your bathroom light, or look at your television, you unknowingly stop the melatonin release by exposing yourself to the blue or green light.  

Watching TV Before Bed Disrupts Hormones

Sitting in front of the television before going to bed can trick our bodies into thinking that it’s still daytime. There has been up to a 22% decrease in melatonin in people who watched television before going to bed. As a result, when your brain thinks it’s still day, it makes falling asleep and staying asleep very difficult for you. 

Watching TV Increases Sleep Debt

As you know, getting 8 hours of sleep a day is crucial for every adult. If you sleep less than 8 hours a day, the situation is known as sleep debt. In simple words, if you sleep 6 hours a day, 2 hours will be a sleep debt. Like any other debt, sleep debt is something you will want to avoid. It can highly impact your ability to think properly and stay focused throughout the day. In addition, if you ignore it, over time, it can cause many physical and mental health problems. When you watch TV before sleeping, you get less sleep than you think. The natural reason is due to less secretion of melatonin. Another reason you are adding to the sleep debt when you stay awake for another episode. 

Watching TV Can Stimulate Your Brain

While trying to sleep, the last thing you want for your brain is stimulation. Your brain stays active when it receives stimulation. And an active brain makes it incredibly hard to fall asleep. According to experts, watching TV or listening to TV provides stimulation to the brain, leading to strange dreams or nightmares. It overall affects the quantity and quality of your sleep. 

Watching TV May Affect Your Health

When you leave the TV on, you get less sleep. Without enough sleep, you are at risk of experiencing the following ill effects:

    • Memory loss
    • Weakened immunity
    • High blood pressure

According to a study published in 2019, sleeping with artificial light is associated with the risk of obesity. So even if you sleep for 8 hours in front of the TV, it could affect your health in the long run. 

Is It Fine To Occasionally Watch TV Before Sleeping? 

If you insist on watching TV before going to bed, use a program on your laptop, TV, or even phone, limiting the blue light coming from the screen. You can either install blue light filtering software on the laptop or phone or wear blue light blocking glasses while watching TV. 

Tips to get better night sleep:

    • Try nighttime showers or baths.
    • Avoid alcohol at least 2 hours before your bedtime. 
    • Don’t eat a heavy dinner. 
    • Use a comfortable pillow and mattress. 
    • Do not consume coffee close to your bedtime. 

The Bottom Line

Many people claim that keeping the TV on during the night helps them sleep faster. But according to the experts, this isn’t the case. Sleeping with the TV can reduce the sleep you get, reduce the melatonin production in your body, and lead to many long-term ill effects. So, you should avoid watching TV before sleeping for an overall healthy sleeping pattern. 


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