Sleeping with the Television on Can Impact Your Rest
It’s very tempting to watch your favorite late night show from the comfort of your own bed, enjoying the antics of a talk-show host before you sink into slumber. It’s enjoyable – but is it good for you?
According to Dr. Guy Meadows, Co-Founder and Clinical Director of The Sleep School:
"We're designed to sleep in the dark. When the sun comes up, the light receptors in the retina at the back of the eye tell us it's time to wake up by inhibiting the release of melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleepy."
This sleep science indicates that the bright lights of your Netflix binge can inhibit your body’s natural ability to sleep. The light and noise enter your subconscious brain and not only interfere with the release of melatonin, but interfere with your dreams.
What Can I Do?
Don’t have the television on if you’re sleepy, especially in bed. As relaxing as it may be curling up on your comfortable mattress, snuggled in your covers and watching the latest episode of Stranger Things, the TV is compromising your sleep hygiene and preventing you from getting a full night’s sleep. Turn off the boob tube and close your eyes, allowing sleep to overtake you into a good night’s rest.
I Find the Television Soothing
Many people claim that they use the television to sleep because of its soothing background noise. This is seen in people with active minds, ones who are addicted to TV, and people for whom silence is perceived as uncomfortable. This is ingrained into us in our turned-on society, where we are bombarded with the unhealthy blue light of smartphones and television, which tell us to stay awake. Some people have become so accustomed to this that instead of finding it stimulating, their brain translates it into a concept that restful sleep is found in the arms of the television.
What if I Need Noise to Sleep?
Some people believe they need background noise to quiet the activity in their mind. Because of the light and its interference with your dreaming, the television is a bad choice. Audio tracks, such as recorded books, podcasts, natural sounds, or white noise, can soothe a restless sleeper without the screen glare.
I Fall Asleep Better with the TV On
If you’re one of those unique individuals that truly believes that the television helps you fall asleep, you may have created a neural relay in your brain that indicates that is the case. This is seen in many individuals with a busy mind, citing the complaint that they can’t turn off their brain and the television gives them something else on which to focus. Consider conducting an experiment. Go to sleep without the television for 66 days, the amount of time needed to create a habit (unlike the suburban myth that it takes 21 days) as stated by James Clear, author of the health blog James Clear.com and of the Huffington Post in his article How Long Does it Take to Form a New Habit?. You may discover your sleep is sounder and more relaxing than it was prior when you used the television to lull you to rest.
Finally, you have everything you need for a good night’s sleep. Your mattress is comfortable, your pillows support you, your sheets and comforter are both cozy. Now, without the light of the TV to interfere, your slumber should be exquisite.