Why Do I Fall Asleep When I Sit Down to Watch TV? And Can It Be Prevented?

Picture this: it’s Friday afternoon, and you can finally unwind with a movie you’ve been dying to watch. You sit down with your glass of wine and bowl of popcorn in tow and finally press play. But the next thing you know, you’re waking up, the movie is long over, the wine is warm, and the popcorn has gone dry.

If you’ve spent one too many Fridays this way, this article is for you. Here’s why you might be falling asleep as soon as you start watching something, as well as how to stop it. Keep reading!

Why Are You Falling Asleep in Front of Your TV So Quickly?

These are some of the most common reasons for falling asleep as soon as you sit down to enjoy some TV.

You’re Tired

Although we tend to look for mysterious and surprising answers to our questions, sometimes the truth is a lot simpler than we expect. In this case, you might simply be too tired to stay up, so your body shuts down as soon as you start watching TV.

The main culprit in this situation is usually a lack of sleep. Namely, the average adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. So, if you’re getting less, and if it happens consistently, your body won’t be able to keep up for too long.

As a result, you’ll find yourself falling asleep at random times, whether you are watching TV or not. The moment your body senses it’s time to relax, it will do so in a way it needs the most: by sleeping.

The sounds coming from the TV may also lull you and make you feel comfortable, helping you fall asleep even quicker. And if you’re watching something that doesn’t require too much thinking and interaction, your brain will likely shut down as soon as you start.

It Becomes a Habit

For most people, an average day goes like this: they get up, ready themselves, and go to either work or school. Once they come back, they eat, do chores, work out, and it’s already close to bedtime.

By this time, they shower, get into bed, and probably turn on some TV to help them relax before bed. In most cases, they fall asleep to the sound of their favorite show, and then they wake up and do this routine all over again.

With time, the brain may start connecting the sound of a TV with sleep. Therefore, you might fall asleep as soon as you turn it on, regardless of what time it is and where you’re watching it.

Breaking this habit can be quite difficult, especially if you do the same ritual every night. In that case, the TV might even become necessary for falling asleep in the first place.

More Severe Underlying Issues

Have you noticed yourself feeling tired and sleepy during the day, even if you aren’t watching TV? In that case, you might be dealing with something more serious than tiredness and bad habits.

Several conditions can cause sleepiness and lethargy during the day, including:

  • Idiopathic hypersomnia
  • Anemia
  • Sleep apnea
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Depression
  • Low blood pressure
  • Chronic fatigue

…and many more. Fortunately, most of these conditions will come with additional symptoms. As such, they will be easier to spot and recognize, especially if you also visit your doctor.

How to Stop Yourself From Falling Asleep While Watching TV

Now that you know the most common causes, let’s discuss the remedies for quickly falling asleep while watching TV.

Fix Your Sleeping Schedule

If you don’t get enough sleep during the night, working on fixing that habit should be your main priority. For one, it will greatly improve your quality of life. Plus, it will help you actually watch TV without falling asleep.

The first step toward this goal is establishing a healthy sleep routine or hygiene. For starters, you should try to go to bed and wake up at approximately the same time every day. In addition, you should avoid working out, drinking alcohol, and eating at least three hours before bedtime.

Next, it will also help to remove any excess noise during the night. To do so, you can try wearing earplugs, using a white noise machine, or soundproofing your room.

Last but not least, try to leave yourself with enough time to actually get enough rest. Seven hours is the minimum, so try to go to bed on time every night to make that possible. If you’re always distracted by your phone, leave it in a different room or turn it off before falling asleep.

All of these habit changes will slowly help you feel more rested and energized. As a result, you will get to actually enjoy watching TV and won’t miss out on any quality time — whether with someone or by yourself.

Form Different Habits

Although this step can be seen as a continuation of the first one, it is aimed at those who have no trouble falling asleep, as they do so while watching TV in bed. As already mentioned, it’s quite easy for your brain to connect these two activities, making you fall asleep whenever you turn on the TV.

The most effective way to break this habit is to stop watching TV in bed. Simply don’t turn it on and find other ways to entertain yourself until you feel sleepy. If you must, you can also remove the TV from your room completely. That way, you won’t be tempted at all.

At first, you will probably find this new arrangement jarring. However, with time, you will get used to it. Even more importantly, your brain will slowly forget about the connection between the TV and sleep. So you’ll be able to enjoy it without fear of falling asleep.

Instead of watching TV, you can try other activities to get ready for bed. From reading and listening to music to turning on a white noise machine, there are numerous healthier and more manageable options to try out.

Get Help

In case you think your sleepiness stems from a deeper underlying issue, visiting your doctor is the best way to go. Most conditions come with a set of symptoms, so fatigue won’t be the only sign your body will give you.

Therefore, if you notice a pattern, it’s best to visit your doctor as soon as possible. They will come up with a checkup plan based on your symptoms, and you’ll get an answer pretty quickly.

Even more importantly, you will get meds and advice that will improve your state and make you more energized. Just be patient during this process, as it will probably take a few weeks until you see the first signs of improvement.

In Summary

If you find yourself falling asleep as soon as you sit down to watch TV, there could be a few possible explanations. For example, you might be too tired, or your brain might associate watching TV with sleep due to an already-formed habit. Alternatively, you might be suffering from an underlying condition that’s causing you to feel tired and lethargic.

In the former cases, making new habits and changing your sleep routine will fix your problem. And in the latter, visiting your doctor is definitely a must. Whatever the root of the issue, it’s pivotal to be patient and to persevere. It will take a bit of effort, but you’ll be enjoying your TV wide awake sooner than you think!

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