Limiting Television Time is Good for Your Health

March 13, 2017

Home nurse talking to senior couple 78768320

We hear so often about limiting television time for children. Some studies have even tied too much TV time with ADHD and other issues. Experts say watching too much television is bad for anyone, including elderly persons, and can even shorten your lifespan.

A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association finds that Americans who watch at least three hours of television per day double their risk of dying a premature death, compared to people who watch TV an hour or less per day. Researchers followed 13,284 over a course of eight years to track their TV watching habits and found that people who sit watching TV longer are more likely to indulge in mindless snacking and overeating. The hours you sit and eat can negatively impact your body weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and more. An 18-year study of 86,024 people found that people between the ages of 40 and 59 who watch more than five hours of television per day are six times more likely to die of a fatal blood clot than those in the same age group who watch TV for 2.5 hours or less per day.

Further, studies show that people who watch TV late into the night have disrupted sleep. Reports indicate that keep a television on in your bedroom shaves off sleep time. Violence and drama on television can stimulate the body’s nervous system and interrupt restful sleep. A 2013 Sleep in America survey looked at the sleep habits of 1,000 adults’ ages 23 to 60 and found that sitting while watching television promotes poor sleep quality and early waking in the morning hours, and also increases the risk of obstructive sleep apnea.

To add, the unhealthy habit of little to no exercise and excessive TV watching can affect cognitive thinking by middle age. One 25-year study of people who watched over three hours of television per day indicated, on average, lower cognitive functions and processing of information, as well as lower cognitive functions of planning and paying attention.

Other things to do instead of watching TV:

  • Read
  • Crossword Puzzles
  • Take a walk or engage in some other kind of physical activity
  • Spend time with family and/or friends
  • Gardening
  • Create art and crafts