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Is it really that bad to watch TV before going to sleep?

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Everybody does it, no matter the time of day or the position you prefer. No, we are not talking about your intimacy here, but about watching TV before going to bed! And with the advent of the of channels that broadcast entire seasons of TV series, the temptation to watch "just one more episode, okay?" is becoming increasingly strong, not to mention the widespread dependence on telephones and screens. Polysleep gives you a description of the situation, on top of giving you advice on how to enjoy a better sleep!

More and more people find it hard not to look at their screens before going to bed, whether it's the TV, the phone, the tablet, the computer... and while it's certainly pleasant to watch the hockey game until the very end or to see how many likes our cat video collected, watching screens before going to bed disrupts sleep, which can end up having a negative impact on your health.


Not watching TV before going to sleep: why?


Why is it not advisable to watch TV before going to bed? For one thing, the artificial lighting on the TV or on your tablet, composed mainly of blue light, interferes with the secretion of melatonin, commonly known as the sleep hormone. So, too much blue light before you go to sleep will invariably upset your biological clock by disrupting your sleep/wake cycles. Instead, read, knit, take a bath or do other soothing activities!


Turn off your screens 90 minutes before!

 

Man playing being exposed to blue light before going to bed

 

With our frantic rhythm of wake-up-screen-breakfast-screen-metro-screen-work-screen-screen-screen-dinner-screen-sleep, we notice that our exposure to blue light is relatively significant in a day, for a large part of the population! That's why specialists recommend turning off all screens (TV, computer, tablet, phone) 60 to 90 minutes before going to sleep. This way, your body can secrete the melatonin it needs to promote sleep, since melatonin is secreted when the amount of light is reduced.


“I can't sleep, which is why I go back to watching TV”…


…And that you end up watching a whole season of your favorite show of the moment! In case of insomnia, specialists suggest getting up after 30 minutes if sleep doesn't come... but not to check your email or watch a movie! Exposing your brain to too much light will only make things worse.

Instead, take the opportunity to drink herbal tea or sit quietly in the dark; your bed will call out to you soon enough!


“I watch TV in bed, it's not as bad…”


Apart from the fact that your bed is probably 100 times more comfortable than your sofa—especially if you own a foam mattress— watching TV in bed won't make you sleep any better! To be sure, you are very likely to fall asleep in the middle of an episode of your favourite show— or after seeing the 46th "Like" on your cat video— and your sleep will still be disturbed by the sound and light of your device.


And the kids in all this?

 

Young boy watching TV before having to go to bed

 

They too are affected by the multiplication of these technologies, and also by the increasing number of hours they spend in front of a screen of any type. Spending 3 to 4 hours a day in front of a screen will have for them a perhaps not immediate, but considerable impact on their number of hours of sleep, and even on their school performance.


To sum up:


  • Turn off your screens—and all source of blue light—60 to 90 minutes before going to sleep;
  • Favour soothing activities like taking a warm bath or reading;
  • In case of insomnia, don’t turn the TV back on!
  • Remove the TV from your bedroom.

 

These simple tips aren't miraculous, but they'll certainly help you have a better night's sleep, by resting your brain and eyes from all that light; after all, the last episode of the season or your cat video can wait until tomorrow, right?


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