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Smart Home

Why watching TV at night keeps you up too late (and how to fix it)

Trouble falling asleep at night? Your TV might be to blame.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The screen on your television (and other devices like tablets and phones) radiate blue light, and when you watch it in the dark, it can cause problems. 

Some think, for example, this blue light may damage your eyes. A study by the University of Toledo found that blue light triggers the creation of poisonous molecules in photoreceptor cells of the retinas. These molecules may speed up sight degeneration.

While more research needs to be done on the damaging effects of blue light on the eyes, it is widely agreed upon that this type of light affects your sleep because your body perceives it as daylight. Nighttime TV can disrupt your body's natural circadian rhythm by reducing the amount of melatonin that is produced because your body thinks it is daytime. Melatonin is basically a sleep hormone and without it, you stay awake.

Here's how to save your eyes -- and your sleep -- without getting rid of your nighttime shows.

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Use a blue light filter

Many new televisions have blue light filters that you can turn on. The filter adjusts the tone of the light emitted from the screen to a warmer tone, which is better for your eyes and the chemical production for sleep in your brain.

To turn on the filter go to the Settings menu and choose the Display option. Then look for the blue light filter to activate it. If you can't find the setting, you may want to refer to your owner's manual.

If your TV doesn't have a blue light option, don't worry. You can buy blue light filters that stick to the screen that change the color of the light or block the blue light.

Use a projector

Replacing your TV with a projector may be a good idea. A projector bounces its light off a wall or screen, while a TV directs light right at you. So, projectors expose your eyes to less blue light.  

Here's our list for the best home projectors for 2019

Wear glasses

While the jury is still out, blue-light blocking glasses may also help. They absorb blue light so less of it reaches your eyes, and all you need to do is slip them on before you turn on the television. Here's what you need to know about these types of glasses.