NBC reports on the health implications of using television as a sleep aid.
Whether you prefer a light 90s comedy or a down and dirty crime show to clear your mind, if you have trouble falling asleep you’re hardly alone: The National Institutes of Health estimates that 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders. According to the National Sleep Foundation, part of a strong sleep hygiene practice is making time for bedtime rituals that relax you into a good night’s sleep. The thing is, experts discourage screen use (including TV) around bedtime because of how they can delay sleep (the blue lit screens of phones and computers, especially). Over time, poor sleep quality can lead to a myriad of health risks: a recent National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) study (part of the National Institutes of Health), linked irregular sleep patterns with a 27 percent greater chance of developing metabolic disorders.
John Sharp, MD, psychiatrist, professor at Harvard Medical School, and author of “The Insight Cure,” says he understands the appeal of winding down with a few familiar faces seen on the small screen. “We are social beings and kind of like the sound of conversation, even if on TV or radio, and even if we are not listening,” he explained. “For many, this offsets loneliness.”