Should You Have a TV in Your Bedroom?
I first got a TV in my bedroom when I was a teenager, and I've never looked back. This allowed me to finally watch Gilmore Girls without being interrupted by my dad coming into the kitchen for a snack or my mom yelling at my sister for not finishing her homework.
When I moved into my current apartment with my boyfriend four years ago, we agreed that having a TV in the bedroom was the best option for us. Because we have different interests, having two TVs would allow each of us to watch whatever we wanted, when we wanted—that means I never have to miss a new episode of This Is Us because there's a Nets game on. (In case you couldn't guess, I'm a big Milo Ventimiglia fan.)
Depending on who you ask, putting a TV in your bedroom is either the best or worst decision you could make. So why are some people proponents of TVs in the bedroom while others are completely against it? Here are the top reasons.
Depending on who you ask, putting a TV in your bedroom is either the best or worst decision you could make for your sleep. (The passion is matched only by the fervid debate over whether or not to use a top sheet.) Why are some people proponents of TVs in the bedroom while others are completely against it? Here are the top reasons.
Pros of having a TV in the bedroom
Having a TV in the bedroom doesn't work for everyone—but it certainly has been beneficial to my life. Here are some of the biggest pros of having a TV in the bedroom.
It helps you unwind after a long day. Some people like to take a bath before bed to help them relax. I like to watch TV. There's one show in particular that helps me fall asleep: Shark Tank. Not only do I find it comforting to watch Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner battle it out to invest in a business that may or may not become successful, but I have also found some of my favorite products through the show. (Believe me, the Scrub Daddy hype is legit.)
It prevents arguments with your partner. Like I said, my boyfriend and I have different interests when it comes to TV. Setting up a TV in our bedroom—in addition to a TV in the living room—was a great move because we never have to fight over the remote. He can settle in on the couch for a three-hour baseball game and I can binge-watch Pen15 without an argument ever taking place. (And in case you thought a TV would kill all the romance in your relationship, a 2014 survey even found that couples with TVs in the bedroom have more sex than couples sans TVs.)
It's more comfortable to watch TV from bed than on the couch. Personally, I find it much more enjoyable to watch TV from my bed than from my less-than-cozy couch. I love getting under the covers and wrapping myself in my comforter, then turning on the TV and getting sucked into a good show. This is particularly enjoyable when it's rainy outside and I don't feel like leaving my apartment.
Cons of having a TV in the bedroom
People who are anti-TV in the bedroom have very valid reasons. Here's what they say are the biggest drawbacks.
It keeps you up later. Having consistent bedtimes and wake times is a key component of good "sleep hygiene." A TV in the bedroom makes it far too easy to stay up late watching old Law & Order reruns, even if you've seen the same episode a dozen times before.
It messes with your circadian rhythms. Exposure to light from a TV (or any electronic device, really) increases brain activity, making you feel more alert. The light suppresses production of melatonin, the hormone your body releases at night to help you drift off, and changes your circadian rhythm. What's more, if you watch something scary before bed, that could lead to nightmares that disturb your sleep. (Here are the top causes of vivid dreams.)
It prevents you from clearing your mind. Preparing for bed, both physically and mentally, can improve the quality and quantity of your sleep. Unless you have the discipline to switch off the TV in time to unwind, it's tough to quiet your mind in preparation for sleep.
It wrecks your relationship. While I've found that a TV in the bedroom has been good for my relationship, not everyone sees it that way. Having a TV in the bedroom could lead to less conversation between you and your partner. If you're apart all day, that leaves limited time to catch up when you are both at home. If you spend your off-the-clock hours watching TV, that doesn't leave much time for talking—or any other activities.
It's isolating. Catching up on the final season of Game of Thrones might be your idea of a fun Friday night (raises hand), but it turns out that this could actually have some negative effects on your mental health. A 2015 study from the International Communication Association found a link between depression and loneliness and the amount of TV someone views: Participants who reported more feelings of depression and loneliness tended to watch more TV.
So, should you have a TV in your bedroom?
Who's right? There's no definitive answer—it all comes down to personal preference. Now excuse me while I get back to watching Shark Tank.
Having trouble sleeping? A professional sleep coach might be able to help. Here's what happened when I hired a sleep coach to get my nighttime habits on track.