Do you think the TV is helping you get to sleep? Think again. In fact, it could keep you from catching ZZZZZZZs.
Leno makes us laugh. The news makes us worry. Our favorite reruns keep us riveted. And yet we tell ourselves we're watching TV to unwind before bed.
"Watching television is the single largest thief of sleep in modern life," writes Norman Ford in The Sleep Rx.
The reasoning is simple: if you use a stimulant as a relaxant, you get results later rather than sooner. You may think the tube helps you fall asleep right around 11:45 p.m. when you start dropping off. But you would have fallen asleep at, say, 11.00 p.m. had the thing not been turned on in the first place.
If you have trouble sleeping, TV is one more distraction to the truly soothing things you could be doing with that time before bed, such as meditation or taking a bath.
The fact is, you happened to fall asleep with the TV blaring, but that doesn't mean you should credit Seinfeld reruns for inducing slumber.
Unless you're suffering from true insomnia, sleep will come eventually. So keep the TV off and you won't miss a thing.