Should you have a television set in your bedroom?

Some say TVs in the bedroom make it harder to go to sleep, others say it unwinds them.
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Some say TVs in the bedroom make it harder to go to sleep, others say it unwinds them.

It's cold. The nights seem never-ending and for many, cuddling up in a cosy bed to watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones is an alluring prospect. 

But is it a good idea - for your body, your relationships or even the aesthetics of your home - to have a TV in the bedroom?

Professional horse rider and trainer, Gary Lung, says a resounding "yes".  Watching TV at night helps him de-stress and catch up on the day's news, he says.

"After a full day of taking care of everyone's problems, I like something to entertain me so that I don't have to think."

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However, his partner disagreed, and the couple recently took the television out of their room. 

"My partner put his foot down and said no. He thinks that the bedroom should be a haven and doesn't like to have the TV on at night as the sound and light keeps him awake."

Allie-Rae Williams is another fan. She says in her house they "always put on the TV at night, not so much to watch it, but because the sound puts me to sleep."

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Another woman said that having a TV in her room was the only way she could "escape from the kids for a little while to watch my favourite, albeit child-inappropriate, shows." 

Heading up the "no" camp are the sleep experts such as Dr Alex Bartle, the head practitioner at Sleep Well Clinic, who says exposing yourself to technological devices before you go to sleep could be keeping you awake.

"The blue light that these devices emit can make you more alert at night."

Bartle encourages people to maintain their sleep hygiene by ensuring they keep a regular sleep and wake pattern throughout the week and not to go to sleep feeling too anxious.

 He also warns against activities that disassociate your bed with rest, for example, watching TV or using your mobile phone, and recommends you stay away from these technological devices for up to an hour before you go to sleep.

"Ideally, you shouldn't have screens in the bedroom at all as it should only be a place for rest or sex."

Steven Dromgool, a relationship counsellor from Relate Counselling, says using technological devices in bed rather than conversing with each other has the potential to be harmful to relationships when it starts to impact on a couple's ability to connect to each other.
"When couples spend too much time using their devices their increased levels of tiredness can lead to them becoming less emotionally connected, which can affect their sex lives and how they relate to each other."
However he understands that many couples enjoy spending time together watching TV in bed and says there is nothing wrong with it when it is limited.
"I suggest you turn it off before you are completely exhausted and that you are touching, for example cuddling or spooning, whilst watching."
Additionally, he recommends that couples engage in "appreciation dialogue" each night so the last thing they hear before they go to sleep is not the sound of the TV, but their partner telling them about their day and how much they mean to them.

Debbie Omond from Compose Interiors, who was a finalist in the bedroom category of NZ House & Garden's Interior of the Year 2015, says she doesn't personally have a TV in her bedroom.

For those who feel they need to, she suggests you could stylishly disguise the black screen in a bookcase or behind cupboard doors; or take the eye away from it by surrounding it with vases or books.

But there's no doubt that the most resounding "no" to TV in the bedroom question comes from the other side of the bed: from sleep-deprived partners who are sick of being woken up to their other half watching the UEFA football championships at three in the morning.

 - Stuff

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