Bedtime TV Watching

Nov 28, 2019

Your TV is Terrible at Tucking You In

It’s called Circadian Rhythms. Sounds like an excellent calypso band, no? It’s the body’s natural responses to light and dark that prepare your body for sleep and waking.

Listen to Your Body’s Circadian Rhythms

The gist – when it starts to get dark outside, the retina and the brain play a very effective game of telephone telling your body to create sleep hormones, like melatonin, and to drop your body’s temp for sleep. Once morning light is sensed, the body begins to warm up and produce cortisol, and off you go like one of the seven dwarves.

Dangers of Artificial Light

Except our magical world is filled with more artificial light from screens than ever before. So the game of telephone goes awry, and our bodies are confused.

American Sleep Style

With some studies estimating nearly ⅔ of Americans fall asleep with their TV on, our nighttime habits might be at the core of our poor sleep quality. A recent study found that, “when compared to dim light, exposure to room light during the night suppressed melatonin by around 85%.”

Blue-Light Prevention Methods

So what to do if you can’t kick the habit entirely? Consider a TV light filter. The light from TVs produces blue light, melatonin’s kryptonite. “In terms of light and our brains, there is a spectrum of wavelengths that impacts the human circadian system,” said David Earnest, a professor and circadian rhythms expert. “Blue light is the most sensitive side of the spectrum.”

With more binge-worthy content than ever, it’s hard to stop watching. But if you can give yourself 30-60 minutes of screen-free time before sleeping, your body will thank you.

Or We Could Sleep like LeBron James…

It turns out, LeBron can dunk all over our bedtime routine too. One of our generation’s greatest athletes reportedly gets a whopping 12 hours of sleep per night. And here we assumed he was up late playing NBA Jam.

And he’s in good company – Roger Federer does too, and Usain Bolt and Venus Williams aren’t far behind.

So LeBron isn’t up tweeting, unlike his peers. In one of the most unnecessary studies you could imagine, researchers analyzed the late-night Twitter activity of over 100 current NBA players. The results: “In games following Tweets between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am, NBA players on average scored less, shot poorer from the field, and had fewer assists, rebounds and steals.”

So, next time your favorite athlete is up late tweeting, do them a favor, and tell them to go to bed.

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