Our culture of Google searching for advice often leads us to generic “one size fits all” responses. The question of whether one should watch TV before bed seems almost rhetorical at this point. Publications have sufficiently stressed the point that blue light from TVs, smartphones and laptops inhibits the release of melatonin, and therefore negatively impacts sleep.
And yet, millions of people fall asleep with the television on every night! For many, it’s an integral part of their sleep routine with no negative impact to report. So, what’s the conclusion?
Happsy has delved into the research to help you understand the pros and cons, and to outline the target strategies to achieve your Happy and Healthy Sleep.
- Studies on the effects of TV before bed have all focused specifically on the effects of light on circadian rhythm, not the effects of television on sleep.
- For many people, the calming effects of the TV viewing experience overrides the harmful effects of light exposure.
- More important than exposure to blue light, however, is whether the content you are exposing yourself to stimulates you or calms you. Watching your favorite sitcom has a very different effect than watching disturbing news or a fast-paced thriller that can cause stress, anxiety and overall increased alertness.
Let these fundamental goals guide you to your Happy and Healthy Sleep:
- The objective is to get 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Rejuvenating sleep is so important for your overall health and well-being, with direct effects on attention, memory and metabolism. If watching TV makes you go to sleep later than you otherwise would, or makes it more difficult for you to fall asleep and stay asleep, then it’s not the right bedtime routine for you!
- If you enjoy watching TV as part of your wind down routine, make a conscious effort to surround yourself with content that is not too mentally stimulating.
- You can also lower the brightness and volume of your TV for a more calming experience.
- Try putting your TV on a timer to help you fall asleep without further interruptions from your TV once you drift into sleepy bliss.
- These guidelines apply to smartphones and laptops too. While it may be relaxing to read a chapter of a book on your device in bed, you should stay clear of reading work emails and exposing yourself to content that will call your brain to action.