What Happens When You Watch TV Before Bed

December 30, 2015
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I’ve always thought that owning a flat LED TV in my bedroom made me a part of the small, very fortunate percentage of people in the world. For years I found that going through different channels before finding a cool program on National Geographic was the perfect way to relax before dozing off and falling asleep. I made the habit of pressing the sleep/timer button on the remote as I got comfortable in my warm, cozy bed and the fact that the TV was still on as I fell asleep never really bothered me. That’s until I learned about the detrimental effects that watching TV can do to you if done right before catching some Zzz’s.

I’m sure that popping in a film or catching up on your favorite TV show is something that a lot of (if not most) people do as part of their pre-bedtime routine. But scientific research has shown that watching TV doesn’t actually relax our minds – take a 180-degree turn and you’ve got the answer. That’s right, staring at the television screen actually stimulates cognitive activity and causes our neurons to start shooting around like crazy. This is the exact opposite of what should be happening to our brains before sleep.

Oh and the same applies to other electronic devices, so don’t think that switching from the TV to your iPhone or laptop is doing you any favors. Plugging in and writing e-mails before you go to bed is probably the worst thing you can do to your sleeping habits. Electronic devices also rev up the brain, which makes it harder for our minds to power down and go to rest.

Another thing to keep in mind is what you’re doing with those electronic devices. For instance, watching a scary movie instead of an ordinary documentary will enhance the release of cortisol – a stress hormone – in the body, out of excitement. The same goes for writing complicated and stressful e-mails. This will disrupt the quality of your sleep and lower the chances of reaching REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which is a type of deep sleep that actually refuels the brain after a long, hard day.

In case you still don’t know, the effects of insufficient or lack of good quality sleep can do some major damage to your mood, energy levels and overall health. Those who experience sleeping problems or do not get a good amount of sleep on a regular basis are actually more prone to depression, getting heart diseases, memory loss, lowered emotional intelligence and unsurprisingly, even cancer.

Don’t get me wrong – it took quite some time and a lot of inner drive to actually eliminate watching television as part of my pre-sleep schedule. The trick to success with this is to find an equally as good replacement. For me, it’s reading. But for my friend Alice, it’s yoga. Find what works for you and stick with it because the benefits in the long run are extremely worthwhile. If stepping out of your routine is making it too hard for you to fall asleep then you can always grab yourself a natural and healthy sleep aid supplement. A great choice would be Lumonol Luna aka the winner of our 2015 Editors’ Choice Awards.

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