Falling asleep with the TV on – hindrance or help?


Many people fall asleep with the TV on, offering a comforting background noise that lulls them into slumber. However, this seemingly harmless routine has sparked debate among sleep experts and researchers, leading to a deeper exploration of its impacts on sleep quality and overall health. This blog post aims to shed light on the benefits and drawbacks of this practice.

On the upside, individuals who struggle with falling asleep due to anxiety or a racing mind might find the background noise of a television soothing. The familiar sounds or gentle buzz from a TV can act as a form of white noise, potentially drowning out other disruptive sounds and creating a more controlled environment for sleep. This effect can be particularly beneficial for those living in noisy urban areas where external sounds are a constant disturbance.

However, the drawbacks of this habit cannot be overlooked. One significant concern highlighted by the National Sleep Foundation is the impact of blue light emitted by television screens. This type of light can interfere with the body’s natural circadian rhythm, suppressing the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleep, and consequently, disrupting sleep patterns. Furthermore, engaging with content on TV right before sleep can stimulate the brain rather than relax it, potentially leading to poorer sleep quality and shorter sleep duration. Another critical aspect to consider is the content being watched. Content that is violent or unsettling can inadvertently contribute to restlessness or nightmares.

In conclusion, while falling asleep with the TV on might offer temporary comfort and aid for some, it is essential to weigh these benefits against the potential long-term effects on sleep quality and overall health. For those who choose to continue this practice, experts recommend using a sleep timer to avoid prolonged exposure, limiting the consumption of disruptive content, and considering using blue light filters. As the research continues to evolve, individuals are encouraged to stay informed and prioritize sleep hygiene, exploring other relaxation techniques that might offer a healthier route to a good night’s sleep.


Blue Light: What it is and how it affects sleep, National Sleep Foundation, January 12, 2024