Watching romance before bed is worse for sleep than horror

Kristine Tarbert
·Features and Health Editor
·3-min read

Despite what you might think of how much a good old horror movie can get your heart rate up, it turns out there are worse things you can watch before going to bed if a good night's sleep is your goal.

Sleep Junkie recently completed a study looking at how falling asleep listening to music, TV or podcasts affects overall sleep quality and some of the results might surprise you.

A woman sleeping in bed.
What do you do before going to bed? Photo: Getty

Over 200 participants based in the US were asked to record their sleep using sleep trackers for two weeks, after being split into four activity categories – 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.

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Sleep trackers also analysed how long people were asleep for, and how restless they were throughout the night, with participants told to try and sleep for nine hours.

Woman watching a scary horror movie on tv late at night, she is frightened and hiding under the blanket
Horror is apparently not as bad for your sleep quality as you might think. Photo: Getty

To find out about whether genres specifically played a role, participants were asked to note down what kind 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.

Meaning falling asleep to something romantic – sorry Bridgerton fans – is the worst for sleep quality.

bridgerton kissing scene
Sadly, a Bridgerton binge might not be the best for some shut eye. Photo: Netflix

The study also found that on average 80 per cent of participants who fell asleep to TV in general woke up feeling tired, compared to only 26 per cent of participants who had no electronic engagement before sleeping.

A previous survey had found that out of 3,000 people, the majority (71 per cent) said they watch TV, listen to a podcast or music to help aid sleep.

But this study noted although participants fell asleep faster on average when listening to music, their sleep quality was worse.

“This past year, more so than ever, people have been struggling to sleep and it’s no surprise," Dorothy Chambers, from Sleep Junkie, said.

"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.”

March 19 is World Sleep Day.

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