World Sleep Day: Don’t watch TV before bed for proper rest!

Research from a sleep science platform to mark World Sleep Day has
found that on average 80% of participants who fall asleep to TV wake up feeling tired, compared to 26% of those who don’t have any electronic engagement before sleeping.

The survey showed the majority (71%) of us watch TV, listen to a podcast or music to help aid sleep. It also revealed that falling asleep to romance TV is worse for sleep quality than watching horror or thriller content before bed. 

Sleep Junkie studied how falling asleep listening to music, TV or podcasts affects overall sleep quality, based on how long it took participants to fall asleep, their sleep quality and how they felt when they woke up.

Participants who watched TV before falling asleep were three times as likely to wake up feeling tired than those who did not engage with any media before sleep. It was also noted that although participants fell asleep faster on average when listening to music, their sleep quality was worse. 

The study found that those who watched the horror/thriller genre before bed slept on average 1 hour and 5 minutes longer than those who watched romance TV/films. 

As part of the research, two hundred and four remote participants were asked to record their sleep using sleep trackers for two weeks. The participants were split into four activity categories before sleep; watching TV, listening to a podcast, listening to music or having no technological engagement for two hours before sleep. 

The participants then tracked their sleep quality and answered questions about how rested they felt every morning. Each participant was told to try and sleep for nine hours a night.

The sleep trackers analysed how long people were asleep for and also how restless they were throughout the night. 

Says Dorothy Chambers of Sleep Junkie:

“This past year, more so than ever, people have been struggling to sleep and it’s no surprise. There is a lot of information online about the best ways to fall asleep, and it seems many people are still turning to technology or audio aids when in fact they might not be the best method.

“We wanted to carry out this study to delve deeper into how such things really affect our sleep. We hope that the research provides some insight for people, and can help people make more informed decisions when it comes to their sleep.”

To view the full results of the study visit:

Average sleep amount & average time to fall asleep 

  • No electronic engagement – 7 hours 47 mins / 17 mins
  • Podcasts – 7 hours 3 mins / 23 mins
  • Music – 6 hours 55 mins / 10 mins
  • TV – 6 hours 30 mins / 34 mins

To find out a little more about how much watching TV affects sleep in particular, Sleep Junkie asked participants to note the genre of TV or film they were watching before sleeping. According to the results, those who watched reality TV before bed slept on average 32 minutes longer than those who watched romance films. Surprisingly, those who watched thrillers or horror slept the most on average, at 7 hours 50 mins, although it took them around 44 minutes to fall asleep. 

Average amount of sleep per genre  

  • Romance – 6 hours 45 mins
  • Comedy – 6 hours 55 mins
  • Reality – 7 hours 17 mins
  • Action – 7 hours 30 mins
  • Thriller / Horror – 7 hours 50 mins

SleepJunkie recommends not using any electronics at least two hours before sleeping, due to the impact of blue light. Blue light stimulates the brain and makes people feel alert, elevates body temperature and heart rate. So, if people are looking at screens before they sleep, they will be interfering with their circadian rhythm, and ultimately negatively impacting their sleep quality. Other activities to try instead of screens before sleeping could be deep breathing or reading a book. 


Chris Price