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Watching TV Before Bed is Not Beneficial for Sleep

By: Madison Firle, student reporter

Image of a television screen. Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

As someone who likes to relax before bedtime and requires some background noise to fall asleep, I often turn on the TV. However, I must tell you that this is a bad practice. Rebecca Robins, a sleep scientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital states that while Americans learn about nutrition and sex education in school, they never learn about sleep.

The notion that watching TV before bed helps relieve stress is a myth. The primary issue with this habit is that the blue light from TV screens significantly disrupts the production of melatonin, a vital hormone for regulating sleep. This disruption can make falling asleep more difficult and potentially throw off our natural circadian rhythms, tricking our brains into thinking it’s still daytime.

In addition to the blue light issue, TV content is designed to engage and stimulate viewers through complex storylines, emotional content, or suspense. This can keep the mind alert instead of preparing it for sleep, increasing heart rate and adrenaline levels and further hindering the body’s relaxation process. This is especially true if you watch an upsetting program like a nightly news show that can increase stress.

Research also shows that watching shows on a device that produces heat, such as a computer or laptop, can affect your ability to sleep. Robbins says you should keep your body cool before bedtime, and your bedroom should ideally be under 70 degrees. Temperatures that are too warm can disrupt your sleep.

May 13, 2024

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