How falling asleep with the TV on might be robbing you of a healthier tomorrow

Jan 08, 2024
Remember: the glow of the screen might be stealing more than just your attention. Source: Getty Images.

Ever found yourself drifting off to dreamland with the comforting glow of your television screen as your nighttime companion?

Well, you might want to think twice before making it a nightly ritual. According to Dr. Joe Whittington, an American emergency doctor, snoozing in front of the tube might not be as harmless as it seems.

Dr. Whittington recently shed light on the potential perils of falling asleep in front of the television, emphasising how it could inadvertently lead to a myriad of health issues such as diabetes, weight gain, and high blood pressure.

“Falling asleep with the TV on may actually shorten your life and negatively affect your health. Here’s why,” the American emergency doctor said.

@drjoe_md Do you sleep with the tv on? Studies have shown this can negatively affect your health! #insomnia #nightlight #medical #helathtips ♬ original sound – Dr. Joe, M.D. 🩺

Supporting his claims is a noteworthy 2022 study conducted by Chicago researchers from Northwestern University School of Medicine. The study involved over 550 participants, ranging from 63 to 84 years old, who wore watches to bed. The purpose? To measure the ambient light exposure during their least active hours of the night and correlate it with their health conditions.

“The study found those that slept with even the slightest amount of ambient lighting in the room were more likely to suffer diabetes, obesity and hypertension,” Dr Whittington said.

“What they found was people who slept with dim lighting, such as from a TV or even a smartphone, the next morning had higher levels of insulin resistance, thereby affecting people’s ability to regulate glucose levels.

“The differences in obesity and diabetes in participants was quite staggering.”

He encouraged everyone to make a simple lifestyle change to “give yourself the best chance of a long and happy life”.

So, what’s the prescription for a healthier sleep routine? Dr. Whittington recommends making the switch to silence and darkness.

If the thought of absolute silence unnerves you, he suggests using a white noise machine as a substitute for ambient noise.

“Black out the lights, put on some white noise and live forever… or maybe just longer,” he said.

Concluding with a strong piece of advice: “Don’t fall asleep with the TV on.”

As you bid farewell to your nightly rendezvous with the TV, remember: the glow of the screen might be stealing more than just your attention. Dr. Joe Whittington’s wake-up call on the potential health risks serves as a gentle nudge to reconsider your bedtime habits. So, dim those lights, embrace the soothing hum of a white noise machine, and embark on a journey to a longer, healthier life—one sleep at a time.

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