How Bad Is Sleeping With The TV On?

For people who have difficulties falling asleep, they might think that sleeping with their TV on will solve their problem. They associate this with the background noise or white noise that is used to put someone to sleep. However, TV is a different case and no way in the world can it be used to produce the background noise you’re looking for. According to doctors, the light and sound from the screens hurt your sleep. That light is said to stimulate a nerve pathway from the eyes to other brain parts that control hormones, temperature and other functions that play a role in making you sleep. Below we discuss the effects of TV on sleep.

Inhibits the Production of Melatonin

Multiple studies have shown how blue light from electronic gadgets affects melatonin, a hormone that regulates your circadian rhythm. Blue light affects the production of this hormone which tells your body when to sleep. If your circadian rhythm is disrupted, you tend to be more alert before bedtime and prevent you from going into the deeper stages of sleep.

According to a medical physician at Harvard, melatonin is secreted right around bedtime and when people go to sleep, the secretion continues and peaks when you get to sleep.

Now, around that time if you try to sleep and you were exposed to blue light, the production of melatonin will be inhibited affecting your ability to fall asleep. However, wearing things like goggles can help filter out the blue light lessening sleep disruption.

Risk Becoming Obese

We’ve mentioned that light from TV definitely affects the quality of your sleep. And as a result, doctors have found a link between artificial light from things like TV and overall weight gain. The results from several studies suggest that exposure to blue light while sleeping may be a risk factor for weight gain, which later leads to obesity. Since your circadian rhythm is messed around with, your body doesn’t get enough sleep and lack of enough sleep is said to encourage weight gain. Further prospective studies are required to help explain this association more and clarify if lowering the exposure to artificial light while sleeping can encourage obesity prevention. Also, you should use other ways to manage your weight like physical activities. Go for runs or enroll for gym sessions to keep off extra weight or lose some.

Unpredictability

This is the primary concern with TV or movie sound while asleep. Any sleeping aid such as white or pink noise should have different audio signatures that provide a constant sound when it comes to volume and pitch. But that doesn’t apply in the case of a TV. You don’t know what to expect, for example, if a movie is playing on your screen, someone could fire a gun or start a car and that sound can trigger arousal in your brain. These arousals shift your EEG (your brain rhythms) and causes disruption while sleeping. You might not wake up from your sleep or remember such things but the negative side effects keep piling up and ultimately, you’re likely to feel the effects.

Trigger Chronic Insomnia

In case you have an underlying or undiagnosed sleep disorder, sleeping with your TV on can worsen the condition. The smallest arousal from this device can trigger the condition, increasing your chance of having chronic insomnia. Normally, when we sleep our bodies go through four or five cycles of sleep. And if you get aroused while you’re transitioning into the deeper stages of sleep, such as REM, your brain will have to start from scratch again. It has to build its way back to that particular point. For those who need help sleeping, it’s important you acquire the right machine to avoiding the negative side effects of leaving the TV on.

Conclusion

If leaving your TV on is what puts you to sleep, we can’t tell you to stop. But if you notice that it’s messing with your sleep, it’s time you consider putting an end to the habit. There is a reason why we go to sleep in a dark and quiet room because it provides great sleep hygiene. Alternatively, you can put your TV on a timer, that is if you insist on leaving it on. That way it will go off after a certain period of time and you minimize the effects of light and sound from it. Otherwise, it’s advisable to avoid using any electronic device including a TV a few hours before bedtime. This prepares your body for deep and undisrupted sleep.

All images by Pixabay

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