Home / Blog May 14, 2024

6 min read

Is Sleeping With The TV On Bad For Me?

It is common for a lot of us to go to bed with our favorite TV shows or jazz albums playing in the background. While this may be the adult-version of a lullaby, sleeping with your TV on could actually be the reason you wake up feeling groggy despite getting 8 hours of sleep!

sleeping with tv on


Sleeping with your TV on helps to provide a sense of comfort, security, and relaxation.

However, having TV lights and sounds while sleeping can reduce your sleep quality.

To relax before bed, put away screens with blue light and keep your room cool and dark. 

Did you know?
Some studies suggest that the content of what you watch before bed can influence your dreams. Watching exciting or intense content may lead to more vivid dreams, potentially impacting the quality of your sleep

If you struggle with falling asleep, chances are… you may have considered leaving the TV on in the background for comfort. While the soft glow of a television screen can keep us company as we drift off to slumberland, it is essential to understand how napping with the tv on can lower the quality of your nightly rest.

Let’s dive in!

Why Do I Sleep With The TV On?

If you tend to drift off to sleep with some TV chatter in the background, it could be because of the following reasons:

1. Background Noise: The sound of your TV acts as white noise, masking other disruptive sounds and creating a consistent background noise that can help you relax. This is especially useful in urban environments or noisy neighborhoods, like those surrounded by multiple main roads.

2. Comfort and Familiarity: For some people, having the TV on provides a sense of comfort and familiarity. The sound and visuals can create a soothing atmosphere, making it easier for you to relax and fall asleep. This could be you if you tend to sleep with one of your favorite shows in the background, because knowing what happens in the show gives you some sense of predictability and ease.

3. Distraction from Thoughts: Watching TV before bedtime may help distract your mind from anxious or racing thoughts, allowing you to unwind and transition into sleep more easily. While this is a useful coping mechanism for a short period of time, in the long run, it may not be as effective for stress relief.

4. Entertainment and Relaxation: Some people enjoy the routine of watching TV before bedtime as a way to get some laughter and joy as the day ends. TV programs like stand-up comedy shows and animation movies can be an excellent form of entertainment, helping you simply disconnect from the stresses of the day

So, what impact, if any, does this habit have on your sleep quality? Let’s talk about this next!

lady sleeping while watching tv

Is Sleeping With The Tv On Bad For You?

If you’ve heard that having a TV in the bedroom is bad for your health, then it’s usually because of the following reasons:

1. Disruption of Sleep Quality: The light emitted from your TV screen, especially if it’s a bright screen, can interfere with the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Exposure to artificial light, particularly the blue light emitted by screens, can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep.

2. Cognitive Stimulation: Watching TV can be mentally stimulating, and engaging with content that is exciting or emotionally charged may make it more difficult to wind down and fall asleep. This is true for horror or thriller scenes and even comedies.

3. Potential for Sleep Disturbances: TV programs often have sudden loud noises or changes in volume, which can disrupt sleep cycles if they occur during the night. This can cause you to suddenly wake up in the middle of the night, making it harder to fall back asleep.

4. Links to Health Issues: Because having TV noise in the background while sleeping makes it harder for you to get deep sleep, over time, you will find yourself getting sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation has been linked to heart diseases, hypertension, kidney issues, depression, and obesity.

Despite these downsides, if you find that sleeping with a TV on works for you and doesn’t negatively impact your sleep quality, it may simply be due to a personal preference. However, for many people, this habit may cause several adverse effects, such as waking up with a headache. So in the next section, let’s look at the relationship between sleeping with your tv on and morning headaches.

Can Sleeping With The Tv On Cause Headaches?

Yes! This is because having any source of bright artificial light while sleeping can cause headaches, for two main reasons:

Blue Light Exposure: The light emitted by screens like your TV, including the blue light component, interferes with your circadian rhythm and melatonin production. This can steal deep sleep away from you, which is why you wake feeling groggy and with a headache.

Eye Strain: Staring at a bright screen for an extended period of time, especially in a fully-dark room, causes eye strain. Even when your eyes are closed, if your face is towards the TV screen, this could lead to discomfort around the eyes as you sleep… hence the post-nap headache.

If the TV is on while you’re trying to fall asleep, the changing light levels and colors on the screen also mess with your sleep quality. This means that your brain won’t get the rest it deserves, increasing the likelihood of your head hurting when you wake up.

Another way sleeping with the TV on can lead to waking up feeling unrested is due to the relationships between this habit and the dreams you have. Let’s talk about this next!

Does Sleeping With The Tv On Affect Your Dreams?

Yes! Sleeping with the TV on can affect your dreams and overall sleep quality. The impact may vary from person to person, but here are some general considerations:

1. Content and Emotional Stimulation: The content you watch on TV before falling asleep can influence your dreams. If you watch something intense, emotional, or disturbing, it may manifest in your dreams. The brain often incorporates recent experiences into dream content, and emotionally charged content can contribute to more vivid or intense dreaming.

2. Mental Engagement: The visual and auditory stimulation from the TV can keep your brain active and engaged, even as you transition into sleep. This increased cognitive activity may influence the content and vividness of your dreams.

3. Interrupted Sleep Cycles: The noise from the TV or sudden changes in volume can disrupt your sleep cycles, particularly the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage, which is associated with vivid dreaming. Interruptions in REM sleep may alter the usual patterns and content of your dreams.

In the next section, we share some tips on how to rest well if you have a TV on while sleeping.

How Can I Sleep Deeply With The TV On?

If you find the TV soothing or have trouble sleeping in complete silence, here are some tips to help you get a more restful night’s rest with the TV on:

Set a Timer

Use your TV’s sleep timer feature to automatically turn it off after a set amount of time. This ensures that you don’t sleep with the TV on all night, which disturbs your sleep cycles.

Adjust the Brightness

Lower the brightness and contrast settings on your TV to minimize the impact of the light on your sleep. Some TVs also have a “night mode” option that reduces blue light emission, which can be less disruptive to sleep.

Choose Relaxing Content

Avoid watching stimulating or emotionally charged shows before bed. Opt for calming or soothing content such as nature documentaries, gentle music, or meditation programs. This is especially helpful if you’re sleeping with the TV on for anxiety relief.

Use Closed Captions

If you have trouble falling asleep with the noise from the TV, consider using closed captions instead of turning up the volume. This allows you to follow the dialogue without disturbing your sleep with loud sounds.

Position the TV Wisely

Place the TV at a comfortable distance from your bed and ensure it’s not directly facing you. Position it in a way that minimizes glare and reflections, which can be distracting when trying to fall asleep.

Use White Noise

If the TV noise is too distracting, consider using a white noise machine or a phone application to mask the TV sounds. White noise can help drown out background sounds and create a more soothing sleep environment.

Invest in Sleep Accessories

Consider using sleep accessories such as an eye mask or earplugs to block out light and noise from the TV, allowing you to sleep more soundly. Our Dreamer eye mask, for instance, is a gently weighted sleep mask that cradles your eyes and blocks out light to help you drift off into dreamland.

Monitor Your Sleep Quality

Pay attention to how you feel in the morning after sleeping with the TV on. If you consistently wake up feeling tired or unrested, it may be worth reevaluating your sleep environment and habits to ensure you’re getting the best possible rest.

When weighing what habits to incorporate into your pre-bedtime routine, consider the options we discuss in the next section!

sleeping with black napper while watching TV

Natural Ways To Unwind Before Sleeping

Creating a relaxing pre-bed routine involves creating a calming sleep environment and practicing good sleep hygiene. Here are some ways you can do that:

1. Establish a Consistent Sleep Schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps regulate your body’s internal clock and improves the quality of your sleep.

2. Create a Calming Bedtime Routine: Engage in activities such as reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing relaxation techniques. Avoid stimulating activities, including intense workouts before bed and exposure to screens, at least an hour before bedtime.

3. Optimize Your Sleep Environment: Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool. Consider using blackout curtains to block external light and invest in a comfortable mattress and sensory pillows.

4. Minimize Screen Time: Reduce exposure to screens, including TVs, computers, and smartphones, at least an hour before bedtime. The blue light emitted by screens can suppress melatonin production, affecting your ability to fall asleep.

5. Limit Caffeine and Nicotine Intake: Avoid consuming caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime, as these substances can interfere with sleep. If you want to have a cup of coffee, for instance, the cutoff is before 3 pm in the afternoon.

6. Get Regular Exercise: Engage in regular physical activity, but try to finish exercising at least a few hours before bedtime. Exercise can promote better sleep, but vigorous activity too close to bedtime may have the opposite effect.

7. Manage Stress and Anxiety: Practice stress-reducing techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or mindfulness, to help calm your mind before bedtime. Another way to help your body relax is by using sleep aids like weighted blankets. Our Cotton Napper is a chunky-knit evenly-weighted blanket that feels like being gently squeezed in a tight hug. This promotes a sense of security, which can help you relax and fall asleep easily.

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8. Use a Sleep-Friendly Alarm Clock: Choose an alarm clock with dim lighting or one that gradually increases in brightness to simulate a natural sunrise, helping you wake up more gently.

9. Limit Naps: If you need to take a power nap with your TV on in the background, keep the nap short (20-30 minutes) and avoid sleeping too close to bedtime.

By incorporating these sleep hygiene tips into your routine, you can create a conducive environment for better sleep without relying on a TV. Experiment with these suggestions to find a combination that works best for you and promotes restful, quality sleep.


While sleeping with the TV on may offer some comfort, it comes with drawbacks like increased anxiety and disrupting your sleep quality. The most common way to know if this habit is interfering with your sleep is when you start to wake up with morning headaches or simply feeling groggy. To foster better sleep hygiene, limit screen time before bedtime, create a relaxing bedtime routine, and keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet. By following these tips, you can establish healthy sleep habits that contribute to a more restful and rejuvenating night’s rest