I Cannot Fall Asleep Without the TV On!

This used to be me –  for probably 15 years I HAD to have the TV on to fall asleep.  If it wasn’t on, I couldn’t’ fall asleep because the thoughts in my head would take over!

Then about a year or so ago, I figured out I could fall asleep without the TV on and once I figured out how to, I stopped sleeping with it on, which my husband is very glad about!


So what is so bad about sleeping with the TV on anyway?

The answer is the light that comes from it.  Our bodies produce melatonin when we are getting ready for sleep.  Darkness is a signal to the body to begin producing that melatonin.  When we have the TV on, or are looking at electronics, the production of melatonin is inhibited.

Why did I need it?

Once I learned I could sleep without the TV on, I began to wonder why I needed it in the first place.  I began to think about how I would sleep with it on and I realized I would often turn the volume down so I could barely even hear it.  How could that keep my mind from racing?  I got my answer recently when doing research on helping adults sleep better.  I learned that white noise could help adults, as well as children.  It helps adults by giving the mind something to concentrate on, besides to-do lists and such.  This made perfect sense to me – even though I could barely understand the words that were coming from the TV, there must have been enough sounds to give my mind something to concentrate on.

How do I sleep without it?

It was not white noise however that made me start sleeping without the TV on.  I bought a course on mediation, and that’s when I started sleeping with the TV off.  I was not constantly meditating or anything, but now when I am trying to fall asleep and my mind starts wandering, I just concentrate on my breathing.   It does not always work – sometimes I have to jot down some notes in a notepad to really fall asleep, but usually I can fall asleep without too much trouble.

Are you used to sleeping with the TV on?  It’s worth a shot to try turning it off and seeing what happens.

Good luck!


UPDATE 10/2/2014 – Although I typically work with children, I am currently putting together a 30 day program to help adults with sleep as well.  One of the things we will work on is falling asleep without the tv on!  Send me an email at michelle@sleepwellsleepsolutions.com with the subject 30 day program and I will put you a mailing list to get more information!

by Michelle Winters

8 thoughts on “I Cannot Fall Asleep Without the TV On!”

  1. I’ve been opting to let the tv in low brightness and volume when going to sleep. I know it is still bad for me, but whenever I fall asleep without it, the creepy nightmares disrupt my sleep. Leaving the tv on a silly sitcom always help with that.

  2. I’m really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a nice blog like this one nowadays..

  3. Hi Joanne,

    Our body makes melatonin when conditions are right for sleep – darkness being one. So anything that emits light can inhibit our bodies from creating the melatonin.

    Thanks for reading and commenting!


  4. I have tinnitus and they have a pillow with speakers in them so you can listen to white noise while you sleep. Just something I thought about when reading why you slept with the TV on.

    I didn’t know that TV light could burn them melatonin thought it was just the sun. Interesting.

  5. First, I confess that I regard falling asleep in a recliner in front of a TV playing some sweet, funny movie that I have seen before (so there is no need to stay awake to see what happens) as a lovely luxury.
    That said, there is no TV in my bedroom. Usually I go to bed and (a) let thoughts drift through my mind, (b) meditate, (c) pray, (d) reflect on my blessings, or (e) listen to peaceful music.

  6. I don’t even have a television in my sleeping room, and I love it!

    When my mind is racing at bed time, I sometimes use a meditation for the same reason you mention: to have my mind focus on something. So the meditation will help me fall asleep.

    I used to do this with calls on coachings skills as well. The calls were interesting and I really wanted to listen, but the guy who did them had a dark, soothing voice… :)

  7. I no longer sleep with the TV on, but I can’t fall asleep without the fan going. I think I will the sound of it.

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