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Many people watch TV before bed, even if it’s hard to fall asleep without the noise around them, or if they can’t stand turning on another episode of their favorite show before closing their eyes. If you belong to this group and find that you often wake up feeling unrested, it may be due to your nightly TV habit. , can negatively affect sleep quality by several factors, including melatonin production and effects on rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
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Why people sleep with the TV on
You become more dependent on TV as a sleep aid. “Many people have gotten into the habit of going to sleep with the TV on because they find background noise to be soothing and a much-needed distraction for those who tend to be confused at bedtime. Because of that,” says clinical psychologist Wendy Troxel, PhD. Certified Specialist in Behavioral Sleep Medicine.
In addition to being soothing, the soothing sound of television is simply part of the regimen for some. It is a habit of the hour, and is listed as a daily routine by 52.7% of bedtimers. The same poll found that people who looked at screens before bed had worse sleep quality than those who didn’t.
Effects of TV on sleep quality
Despite being thought to be necessary to fall asleep, leaving the TV on at night can impair the quality of your rest for several reasons.
it decreases melatonin production
Like computers and mobile phones, televisions emit blue light (wavelengths of light comparable to the sun). “This wavelength of light is the most inhibitory to melatonin production,” says her Susan Malone, PhD, a sleep researcher and assistant professor at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. “Our body clocks can’t discern that this is coming from the TV and not the sun, so melatonin levels drop, disrupting our natural circadian rhythms.” Prolonged TV exposure delays melatonin production as it is released after ~4 hours.
Stimulate your brain while you sleep
Your brain continues to process the content you watched before bed while you sleep. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the type of media you’re consuming when watching TV at night. “A show that has harrowing, exciting, or frightening content, or a show that ends on a cliffhanger, can make it very difficult to settle into a good night’s sleep as the brain continues to process that content,” said Troxel. “This kind of emotional activation before bedtime can disrupt sleep quality.” Please make a reservation.
it disrupts the REM cycle
REM sleep occurs about an hour after your sleep cycle and is usually during detailed dreams. “Television on can disrupt all aspects of the sleep-wake cycle, including REM sleep,” says Troxel. “Very disturbing or frightening content can lead to nightmares, and nightmares are common during REM sleep.” This stage is also strongly associated with memory consolidation. Even low levels of sound prevent the brain from entering the restorative phase of sleep necessary for cognitive function.
Alternatives to sleeping with the TV on
It can be difficult to let go of the soothing sounds of your TV while you sleep. Instead of giving up cold turkey, try some alternatives known to help people fall asleep faster.
Use a white noise machine
If you need background noise to help you fall asleep, consider choosing a white noise machine rather than using the TV. With options ranging from soothing waterfalls to rain, these devices provide constant sound without emitting light. “We live in a light-polluted world as it is, and it can seriously affect our circadian rhythms and health, so limiting light exposure at night is critical to sleep. It’s very important not just for health, but for supporting overall health and wellness. It exists,” says Troxel.
set timer on tv
You don’t have to completely ditch the TV before going to bed. вЂњIf TV is unavoidable, set a timer to turn off the TV so the lights and noise aren’t on all night,вЂќ says Malone. This reduces your exposure to blue light and prevents content from interfering with your dreams. We could reduce it,” Malone says.
consume alternative media
Replace nighttime TV rituals with ones that don’t emit light. “Reading a book[as opposed to electronic devices]or listening to a calming podcast are potential alternatives,” Malone says. does not increase exposure to