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When You Fall Asleep With The TV On, This Is What Happens To Your Brain

You might have a routine for yourself that involves watching television in the evenings. If you regularly snooze while the TV plays, you’re in good company. One study published by the National Library of Medicine found that at least 60 percent of adults use the television as part of their sleeping routine. When you watch TV right before bed, however, sometimes it can be difficult not to fall asleep with it on and that often causes some possible sleep disruptions in your brain.

Although watching a few shows before you hit the hay can give you time to relax and unwind as part of a familiar routine, it’s probably not a great way to develop healthy sleep habits (via Sleep.org). If you turn the TV off before you go to bed, you are better off than if you fall asleep while it still plays. Unfortunately, the artificial light from the device interrupts your circadian rhythm. It prevents your brain from creating the sleep hormone melatonin, which helps you sleep (via the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke). Dianne Augelli, M.D., a fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, told Self, “We’re not supposed to be exposed to any artificial light at night, period.” Unfortunately, that is a nearly impossible feat to achieve.

Here's how to break the habit of falling asleep with the TV on

If you have a habit of falling asleep with the TV on, it can be a difficult one to break. Even if you feel well-rested in the morning when you wake up after dozing all night while the television plays, you should consider trying to stop. Dr. Dianne Augelli told Self, “Sometimes we can get away with something until we can’t.” She advised that, even though the effects of disrupting your circadian rhythm may not be instant, it could have an adverse impact over time, potentially wreaking havoc with your metabolism, hormones, and even body temperature.

Self noted that if you simply must have the TV on as you drift into dreamland, then you should consider putting it on a timer so that it eventually turns off, allowing you some uninterrupted time to sleep. Even if you are using the television as white noise, you can still become alert as a new show comes on (via Sleep.org). Instead, try moving your TV watching to earlier in the evening and stopping it before bed, creating a distinct change. Try reading and listening to white noise from a machine or fan when you go to bed. If you find that you are having sleep problems, be sure you contact your doctor to pinpoint any other potential reasons why your sleep gets disrupted.

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