We’ve all been guilty of this at some point. Whether it’s from dozing off accidentally while binge watching the newest season of whatever show was just released on Netflix, or even intentionally while trying to actually fall asleep, we’ve all gone to bed with the television on. Some people claim it actually helps them to fall asleep, as it provides them with a distraction as they wait for their natural melatonin to kick in.
It might be tempting to queue up a few shows or a movie before you go to bed. You may even look at it as a way of avoiding boredom while trying to fall asleep. That may be understandable, but is it really okay to fall asleep with the television on? The short answer is no, but let’s take a look as to why that is.
First of all, televisions give off light. In case you didn’t know by now, it’s best to sleep in a dark room with the least amount of light possible. Light can be disruptive to your sleep, and can essentially throw a wrench into your actual sleeping cycle’s gears.
Being exposed to light while sleeping can stimulate and disrupt the nerves from your eyes to the part of your brain that tell your body to release melatonin and hormones that regulate your sleep cycle, as well as your actual body temperature itself. The flashing lights and variances in brightness from your television are drastically worse than a mere lamp being left on in the corner.
Cognitive stimulation is a fancy way of saying that your brain is engaged. Whether you are trying to solve a math problem, or are watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones, you are involved in cognitive stimulation.
When your brain is in use like this, it is actually engaged in sending electrical activity back and forth. This may sound well and good, but this is the opposite of what you want your brain to be doing at bedtime. Cognitive stimulation can actually release a hormone called cortisol from your adrenal gland as well. Again, not something you should be doing when trying to sleep. The mere action of paying attention to the television can do this.
Alternatives to Sleeping with Your Television On
If you make sleeping with the TV on a habit, you may find your actual bedtime being pushed back more and more. This is due to you hindering your own sleep cycle from kicking in due to the excessive light and brain activity. You may be going to bed at the same time, but you will begin to fall asleep later and later. Here are a few things you can do instead of having a television on.
Unwind Before Bedtime – Without Screens
Consider giving yourself a transition period from the time you cease looking at any kind of screen to when you lay down to sleep. This not only includes your television, but also your phone, computer, tablet, or whatever else. 30 minutes to an hour is optimal. Spend the time silently sitting, talking to someone in your home, writing in a journal, or simply listening to calm music or soothing sounds.
Disengaging from any kind of lit screen will not only help your brain to settle but also help to keep you away from any stress that comes from a work-related email or any unsavory news going on in the world around you.
Silence Your Phone
If you aren’t using your phone for an alarm, setting your phone on some kind of ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode will not only prevent you from being awoken by sounds, but also keep you from being tempted to pick the phone up and check up on any notifications. Let it wait til the morning.
Calm and Soothing Background Sounds
Some people like to have a television on simply for background noise, as these people tend to be bothered by total silence at night. If this sounds like you, consider purchasing an album full of soothing music, or even an album of calming nature sounds such as waves crashing on a beach, or wind blowing and birds chirping on a mountainside. This provides you with calming and positively distracting background sounds without all the light bouncing around.
Improve Your Sleep With a New Mattress
All of the steps listed above can be helpful for a good night’s sleep, but they can also be rather ineffective if your mattress isn’t comfortable enough. If your mattress is past its prime, or if you want to simply upgrade, be sure to stop by your local DC mattress store to browse their large inventory of name-brand mattresses to find the one that is perfect for you. For any additional questions, please call or contact Tier4 Mattress online for more information.