Why you shouldn’t have a TV in your bedroom
Falling asleep in front of the television is something millions of Americans do every night. Sleep medicine specialist Antoinette Rutherford, MD, said that’s a habit we need to break.
“If you have a TV in your bedroom, turn it off,” she said. Better yet, don’t have a TV in your bedroom at all. “The light and noise are very disruptive to your sleep.”
She explained other ways you might be sabotaging a good night’s sleep and offered tips on how to do better.
What are some common reasons for a bad night’s sleep?
- Caffeine. Caffeinated drinks should be avoided after midday.
- Exercising late. Avoid exercising right before bedtime. Exercising should be done at least three hours before bedtime because it gives you energy, gets you revved up and makes it more difficult to fall asleep.
- Nicotine. Smoking can interfere with sleep, whether it’s near bedtime or during the day. Nicotine is a stimulant that activates the nervous system.
- Long naps. Naps should be about 15 to 30 minutes. If you’re taking a two-hour nap during the day, you’re going to have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep.
What should I do if I’m having difficulty sleeping?
Just like kids, adults should have a routine.
“You should have a set time, even on the weekends, and have a routine,” said Dr. Rutherford. It can include any of these relaxation methods:
- Take a warm bath – the drop in temperature when you go to bed can help you sleep
- Do bedtime yoga
- Listen to music or a podcast
- Use a relaxation app on your phone, such as a “sleepcast” (audio content that helps you fall asleep)
- Ask Alexa to read you a bedtime story
When should I seek help from a doctor?
If poor sleep is interfering with your life, you need to seek help.
“If you’ve tried different relaxation activities and you’re having trouble with falling asleep or staying asleep and it is consistently interfering with your daytime activities – meaning the next day you can’t get up and go to work or you fall asleep at work or while driving – if you’re not able to do the things you would like to do, you should seek help,” said Dr. Rutherford.
What is involved in having a sleep study?
There are two types of sleep studies for adults.
- A home sleep study can be done in your own bed. It involves attaching a few devices, such as a pulse oximeter, a belt around your chest, and a nasal cannula around the nose. “If you qualify for doing the home study, it is a good option,” said Dr. Rutherford.
- A lab sleep study is done when more information is needed. It involves going to a sleep lab at about eight o’clock at night. The tech applies several leads and EKGs to you, turns on the cameras, and then you go to bed. “Some people have a difficult time going to sleep in that environment,” Dr. Rutherford said. “There’s a camera so patients know they’re being watched, and some have a hard time falling asleep.” Usually, the sleep study ends at about five o’clock in the morning.
Dr. Rutherford said the information from the sleep study can help prompt changes that improve your sleep, which is critical for your health. “If you don’t sleep well, your blood pressure and blood sugar won’t be well controlled,” she explained.
So, try using the tips. If you’re still having issues, ask your doctor if a sleep study is right for you.
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