Some people look forward to going to bed at night – they celebrate bedtime, love their cozy bed and maybe read a few more pages before curling up under the covers.
But then there’s the other faction – the ones that can never understand giving up wakefulness voluntarily. As a result, many doze off regularly in front of the television.
However, researchers warn that this can be harmful to health.
Although large numbers of people spend their evenings in bright light, there has been little in-depth research into the effects.
The researchers took this as an opportunity to compare the sleep quality of different evening and bedtime habits.
The result: If you sit in front of the TV, computer or tablet for a long time in the evening and possibly fall asleep temporarily, your melatonin release has been severely slowed down.
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One more episode – who doesn’t know it? If you stay in the artificial light of the screen for hours, the hypothalamus slows down the release of melatonin.
Even when you’re physically exhausted, your brain isn’t primed for sleep.
At the same time, televisions and computers ensure that you don’t get tired and are therefore exposed to harmful light for longer. The result is problems falling asleep, and the quality of sleep is also impaired – frequent waking is the result.
“We shouldn’t expose ourselves to artificial light at all in the evening. Point!” Strong words from Dr. Dianne Augelli of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine told SELF magazine.
Instead of struggling with tiredness in front of the TV every evening, bedtime rituals such as reading or a warm bath can help you fall asleep faster – and wake up more refreshed the next morning.
Gooley, J. et al. (2011): Exposure to Room Light before Bedtime Suppresses Melatonin Onset and Shortens Melatonin Duration in Humans, retrieved on 04/22/2022: https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/96/3/E463/2597236/