Want A Good Night's Sleep? Experts Want You To Watch These TV Shows Before Bed

That's us scrapping You, Eastenders, Succession and more of our favourite shows before shut eye.
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There’s nothing like getting into bed and cuddling up in your duvet while watching your favourite TV show.

If you’re like me and struggle to fall asleep quickly, you’ll understand that watching a show before bed can help fill the time between us getting into bed and actually feeling ready to drop off.

Even though we should really avoid any screen time before bed, some of us can’t help ourselves. Eight in ten Brits watch television within an hour of going to bed, with 50% usually doing so immediately before going to sleep according to a 2022 YouGov Sleep Study.

But how does this affect our sleep quality? Well, it turns out that watching some TV shows might make it harder for us to fall asleep. Mattress Online has teamed up with sleep expert James Wilson to explain why.

“Lots of us watch television before bed as an important part of our pre-sleep routine, both in the bedroom itself and somewhere downstairs,” Wilson says.

“It can actually help us relax by creating an effective distraction from daily concerns in the hours before bed - but picking the wrong programme is where you may encounter problems with getting to sleep,” he adds.

Any television show that involves suspenseful endings or cliffhangers is a no-go before bed, according to Wilson.

“TV programmes with unresolved endings after each episode will lead us to hitting the ‘Next Episode’ button, and choosing to watch television over getting a decent sleep,” he explains.

Wilson continues: “Those suspenseful thrillers or crime dramas with cliffhangers stimulate our brains and leave us wanting more - and thanks to many platforms such as Netflix having the autoplay function, we don’t even have to lift a finger to carry on watching.”

TV shows with regular cliffhangers, such as the Netflix thriller ‘You’ and even BBC’s Eastenders, can have an adverse effect on sleep quality if watched too close to bedtime.

This doesn’t mean you should avoid watching TV before bed altogether. Instead, you should opt for television shows that have a repetitive element.

A good example of this would be the Great British Bake Off or The Great Pottery Throw Down which both have predictable formats that result in easy viewing that doesn’t require much thinking or brain power to watch. This kind of content is simple and easy to consume and may even promote relaxation at bedtime.

Wilson also recommends funny shows and reality TV as types of content suitable for watching before drifting off. “Watch a couple of episodes of your favourite sitcom or shows such as Love Island or Celebs Go Dating to revel in the easy-to-consume content that won’t get you too stimulated before heading to bed,” he adds.

“The bedroom is first and foremost a place to sleep, so the environment should reflect a calming environment to help us achieve good quality sleep each night,” Steve Adams CEO at Mattress Online adds.

“For some, watching TV in the bedroom immediately before sleep can help them unwind, whilst for others it may be too stimulating,” Adams says.