We’ve all turned on a film only to find ourselves asleep on the sofa as the credits roll two hours later.
After a long day at work, it can be tough to stay awake when we’re chilling out in front of the television. But it turns out that it could actually be really bad for us to nod off halfway through EastEnders. And not only because we might end up dribbling on our cushions.
According to The Sleep School’s Dr. Guy Meadows, the faint TV light flickering in front of our eyes could be seriously disrupting our sleep and hormone levels.
He says: ‘We’re designed to sleep in the dark. When the sun comes up, the light receptors in the retina at the back of the eye tell us it’s time to wake up by inhibiting the release of melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleepy.’
Not only that, but it could also be affecting our moods.
Dr. Guy continues: ‘Tiredness dampens down the effect of the pre-frontal cortex in the brain, which is responsible for more rational thought and causes us to use the part of the brain responsible for emotion called the amygdale.’
This isn’t the only evidence that we should be making our way to the bedroom before falling asleep.
A study from Ohio State University has examined the relationship between light and depression, by dividing hamsters into groups of two and exposing them to bright lights for 16 hours of the day.
For the next eight hours, half of the hamsters were left in ‘true darkness’, while the other half experienced dim light (like a television).
According to the report, the hamsters subjected to dim light scored ‘significantly lower’ on a series of mood tests after eight weeks.
It sounds like it may be time to switch off that box, eh?