Should You Ban the TV From Your Bedroom to Relieve Insomnia?

Stimulation, Conditioning May Cause Sleep to Become Disturbed

Couple watching television in bedroom may experience insomnia
Couple watching television in bedroom may experience insomnia. Erik Von Weber/The Image Bank/Getty Images

You may think it sounds crazy, but should you ban the TV from your bedroom to relieve insomnia? It may be part of your nighttime routine, but perhaps it should not be. Learn how having a television on before bedtime and as you fall asleep may actually make it harder for you to sleep well.

Too Much Stimulation: Light, Noise, and Alertness

It is acceptable to spend the last 30 to 60 minutes before going to sleep doing something relaxing to ease the transition to sleep.

This buffer zone can make it easier to fall asleep. However, these calming activities would ideally occur outside of the bedroom and out of bed. The bed should be reserved as a space for sleep. Time spent watching TV, reading, listening to music, or praying or meditating should occur elsewhere.

For many it is as much a part of the daily routine as a morning cup of coffee: drifting off to sleep to the wisecracks of Jimmy Fallon or Stephen Colbert or Jimmy Kimmel, or another selection from hundreds of channels. But could these late-night television shows be ruining your sleep?

The stimulation from a television in the bedroom can make it hard to fall asleep. An engaging program may keep you awake longer and lead to sleep deprivation. The light from a television screen, especially when it is close to your face, may delay the timing of sleep. Once you fall asleep, if the television stays on the persisting noise may actually provoke you to awaken, fragmenting your sleep.

This may lead to lighter sleep or frequent awakenings and complaints of insomnia.

Improve Sleep By Removing the TV from the Bedroom

Wakefulness should be minimized by going to bed when feeling sleepy. Crawl into bed and turn out the lights simultaneously. If awake for a prolonged period in the night, get up and do something relaxing.

Come back to bed when you feel sleepy. Keep a consistent wake time, no matter how good or bad the night is.

Stimulus control can improve the conditioning associated with sleep. The bed will become a signal for sleep. You will fall asleep faster, sleep more deeply, get back to sleep more easily after awakenings, and wake feeling more refreshed.

For these reasons, it is recommended that the television be removed from the bedroom. This is especially important for children who need adequate sleep for normal growth and development.

If you are having difficulties with daytime sleepiness or insomnia, it may be time to boot the television from the bedroom for good. If you continue to have trouble sleeping, consider participating in a cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTI) program. This treatment can effectively resolve any lingering insomnia.

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