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Advice - Sleeping with TV and radio on - a problem?

Sleeping with the TV and radio on - a problem?

I (m, 62) regularly fall asleep in front of the television and only go to bed when I wake up. And in the morning I sometimes go to sleep while the clock radio is still on. I actually feel rested in the morning. Does the TV / radio irrigation in sleep still have negative effects in the long run?

Watching TV can be a wonderful sleep aid. Many know the calming effect of watching TV after work. During the day we run at full speed, we are challenged and in constant tension.

In the evening we can finally relax. Nobody expects anything from us anymore. If anything, we're just getting in our own way.

You fall into sleep mode on the sofa

Television can help to create distance from one's own thoughts, demands and worries. Since we usually sit quietly on the sofa or sometimes lie down, the muscles also relax. Mental and physical rest are the best prerequisites for the body to switch to sleep mode.

If we fall asleep in front of the television without wanting to, however, it can make it difficult to fall asleep again in bed after waking up on the sofa. Sleeping before bed or before actually going to bed reduces the sleep pressure that we have built up during the day. If the sleep pressure is not high enough, we only fall asleep with a delay, and longer periods of waking at night can result, which ultimately shorten the sleep time.

A running television can also be a source of light and sound and thus impair the quality of sleep. In addition, falling asleep unintentionally in front of the television can be a sign of reduced sleep quality due to, for example, nocturnal breathing pauses (sleep apnea syndrome). Regular unintentional falling asleep outside of bedtime should therefore be clarified.

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Cell phones, tablets and laptops can also be a nuisance

Caution is also advised with cell phones, tablets and laptops, which are also used to watch TV and movies. The higher proportion of blue light can suppress the release of melatonin and delay falling asleep. This can reduce the overall sleep time and result in a lack of sleep, which manifests itself, among other things, in the form of daytime sleepiness and a restricted daytime well-being.

It's best to sleep until the alarm goes off

There is nothing wrong with listening to the radio in the morning while you sleep. For reasons of sleep hygiene, however, it is still advisable to only listen to the radio after getting up and actually use the time until the alarm goes off to sleep. This will save you valuable sleep time.

If the sleeper suffers from unwanted early waking, there are effective treatment options. Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnias (difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep) can be approached on an outpatient basis or, in the case of a chronic course, inpatient.

* Federally recognized psychotherapist and somnologist, Seeklinik Brunnen, www.seeklinik-brunnen.ch