The cozy glow and familiar comfort of your favorite shows can be just the thing to take the sting off a stressful day. However, if you’re watching TV at night and tuning into Netflix too close to bedtime it can actually do great harm to your sleep schedule.
We’ve all nodded off to the gentle lull of the TV every now and then, but it’s not really conducive to a good night’s rest. Not to worry! We’ve got the information and know-how you need to stay informed to make the best decisions for your own slumber habits.
If you’ve been googling, “Does watching TV before bed affect sleep?” we’ve got the answers for you. Read on to find out.
3 Effects of Watching TV Before Bed
Lessened Melatonin Production
Here’s a newsflash: your body is an incredible, complex machine. Like a computer, your body has an internal clock that helps to regulate the inner workings for activity and rest. The thing that makes this mechanism so effective is the daily rising and setting of the sun. When it starts to get dark out, our bodies create a hormone called melatonin that induces those lovely tired, heavy feelings. However, artificial light wreaks havoc on that system, especially the blue light emitted by those favorite nighttime activities: TVs, phones, and computers.
All that blue light emulates the color temperature of actual sunlight, and, although our bodies are smart, they’re not smart enough to tell the difference. This is the one of the worst effects of watching TV before bed. The result isn’t hard to guess: too much blue light in the evening leads to less melatonin production, leading to less sleepy feelings, leading to less sleep. It can also do longer-term damage to your sleep schedule, pushing those cues continually forward in time. Eye-strain is also a problem, especially if you watch TV in an otherwise dark room.
TV comes at you fast, and it does a lot of the thinking for you. That’s why we like it. It’s fun and easy to veg out to at the end of the day. However, watching TV before bed can also lead to some bad effects when it gets to be bedtime (or way past, in some cases!). The breakneck-pace of TV, even gentler shows, tends to put our minds into overdrive at a time when we should be winding down with our own thoughts and reflections.
Between multiple narratives, bickering co-hosts, and rapid-fire ads, watching TV at night can really do a lot of harm to our brains. Similarly, it can be tempting to curl up into bed and scroll Instagram for ten minutes (or 60). But in addition to the blue light getting beamed directly into your brain, the relentless pace of social media is the exact opposite of a restful bedtime routine.
Negative Sleep Associations
You might connect that term, “sleep associations,” with a baby needing it’s mother or a pacifier to fall asleep. Similar comforts can be applied to adults too, though, and studies have shown that prolonged TV use before bed can create permanent connections in the brain associating TV with sleep. That can have some bad consequences regarding blue light, as we’ve just discussed.
Now, we’re not suggesting abstaining from TV altogether. We like a good Netflix binge as well as the next fellow! But it is a good idea, however, to give yourself an hour or two of screen-free time before going to sleep.
A paper book or e-reader is a great, blue light-free way to slide gently into bedtime. Some e-readers have built-in lights, which you may be wary of, but you needn’t worry. Most of those lights are a much warmer tone that won’t interfere with melatonin production. Other gentle activities like guided meditation or audio ASMR are excellent, positive ways to slide seamlessly into sleep without completely abstaining from electronics.
How Does a Blue Light Filter on Your TV Help?
In addition to developing a healthy, consistent bedtime routine, a blue light filter for your TV can do wonders to restore and maintain normal melatonin production, even if you’ve developed a habit of watching TV before bed. A blue light filter does exactly what it sounds like: reduces or eliminates the blue wavelengths your TV produces. You might have seen (or even use) phone apps that filter blue light. Light-filtering glasses for computer use have also become popular in recent years.
Our blue light-filtering TV screen protectors take a similar approach. By filtering out those waves, we can effectively keep our melatonin production active and our body clock right on the tick. While the color of your screen is affected slightly by this filtering, we’ve found that the brain does a pretty good job of adapting to the changed tones within a day or two of use. While we still recommend a healthy sleep routine, a blue light filter can be a great way to get a head start on your healthy slumber schedule schedule.
We hope we’ve given you some knowledge on why watching TV before bed can be harmful. Be sure to check out our shop for a whole range of blue light-filtering TV screen protectors. In addition to saving your sleep, these protectors also shield against dings, spills, dust, and scratches that come with everyday use of a TV, especially with kids and pets around! Also have a browse around for more great protection products, from cases to screen protectors and so much more (just don’t do it at night!)