The most popular post on my blog is one with information on how to stop sleeping with the tv on, and I wanted to let you know how I managed to learn how to fall asleep without the television on.
I wonder if the sleep timer function on televisions was the biggest detriment to ideal sleep hygiene until smartphones came along! That is probably when I started sleeping with the television on, in high school sometime when I had a tv with a sleep timer. (Yes I’m fairly old so I actually remember when tvs didn’t have sleep timers, or in fact remotes!). Anyway, I slept with the television on until probably around 5 years ago, and let’s just say that was quite a bit of years of not knowing how to fall asleep unless a tv was on in the room. Even when my newborns were sleeping in the room I would have the tv on. My husband pointed out that it probably wasn’t the greatest thing since even with eyes closed you could see the bright lights flickering.
So what did it? How did I stop leaving the tv on? I actually started doing some meditation, and with meditation you start concentrating on your breathing. Also my husband started going to sleep earlier than I did and so I didn’t want to come to bed and turn on the tv when he was already asleep!! So that pushed me into learning how to fall asleep without noise, and that’s when I turned to meditation. Well really just concentrating on my breathing. When I had something to focus on, it was easier to fall asleep. And really that’s what the tv was doing for me. It was giving me something to focus on when I was trying to fall asleep. I also now sleep with paper and pen next to my bed so if I do start thinking of something I can write it down. (Like last night I started thinking about writing this post) This makes it easier for me to fall asleep too. And the last thing is we now sleep with white noise on. Again, the white noise just gives my brain something to focus on while I’m trying to fall asleep.
It’s not always easy and there are times when I think about turning the tv back on. But then I also know that I will ultimately be up later since it’s probably I’ll find something I actually want to start watching. Plus now I know that the light from the television can cause my body to stop producing melatonin, a calming hormone that helps us fall asleep. So I’ll definitely be up later than if I just concentrated on my breathing and worked on falling asleep.
One other thing I do before going to sleep is think of 5 things I am thankful for. This ends my day on a positive note, and helps me be in a more positive mood to fall asleep.
Do you sleep with the tv on or did you used to? I’d love to hear what worked for you, or if you are still working on turning it off.
And here are some other links to posts that may interest you:
Review of Marpac Dohm White noise machine – a great way to replace noise from the tv
Sleeping with the tv on – the original post I wrote about this topic
Adult Sleep Tips – Tips to help you sleep