TV Zaps Americans' Sleep Time

Nearly half watch TV before bed
By Sarah Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2009 12:33 PM CDT
Conan O'Brien makes his debut as the host of NBC's "The Tonight Show" on June 1, 2009.   (AP Photo/Paul Drinkwater/NBC)
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(Newser) – Feeling sleepy? Blame the glowing screen in your bedroom. Researchers studying sleep deprivation in the US say the boob tube is a likely cause, HealthDay News reports. Almost half of Americans say they watch TV right before bed, and that means natural sleep signals, like the dark sky and fatigue, are being ignored. "Many Americans are chronically under-sleeping due to lifestyle choices," said the co-author of a new study.

Not getting enough sleep—seven to eight hours is recommended, and 40% of Americans get less—can have serious health consequences, including impaired alertness and higher rates of obesity, illness, and death. So what should we do? The study's authors say "giving up some TV viewing in the evening should be possible to promote adequate sleep." And, ideally, go to work later in the morning.