Overall, when we posed the question “Do you keep a television in the bedroom?” to others, we were met with a resounding “no.” But the impassioned response was attached to a plethora of reasons. The most popular, of course, was intimacy. To put matters into perspective, consider this statement from the Health and Family Welfare Minister of India: “When there is no electricity, there is nothing else to do but produce babies; but if there is electricity in every village, then people will watch TV till late at night and then fall asleep. They won’t get a chance to produce children.” If India’s welfare minister can publicly refer to bedroom television viewing as an effective method of population control, perhaps we should rethink our screens-in-the-bedroom policy.
However, not all couples that keep TVs in their bedrooms have intimacy issues. In fact, isn’t there something romantic about cuddling up in bed with your partner and watching a movie together? Perhaps moderation (like with most things) is the key. This topic is so polarizing we had to ask around to see how couples navigate the TV-in-the-bedroom policy. Scroll through to see what we found.
One couple views TV as an adventure to enjoy as a treat at the end of the day. For them, it’s not about whether or not there is a television in the bedroom, but rather who will choose the main feature. "There is no dispute. My love for television and film transcends her interest in watching any show; so it works,” says Gabriel, 27. “The one with the better taste in television wins; the other simply has to watch on their laptop or join along on my TV adventure.”
“If my fiancée had his way, we wouldn't have a TV in the house, but that’s just crazy! The compromise: living room only.” Jessica and her betrothed have another problem—late-night cell phone use: “Unfortunately, we do have a bad habit of catching up on social media in bed.” Ah, don’t we all? This is a bad habit we really need to kick.
Sacha, 35, considers the bedroom she shares with her husband (and her entire home, for that matter) a television-free zone. “My room has been designed specifically for sleep, so having a television would disrupt the Zen. I don’t have one in the living room either; it just doesn’t go with my current décor.”
We think everyone should take note of Sacha’s bedroom priorities. Dr. Dan Siegal, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, tells Business Insider that staring at a screen before bed has more negative effects than we think: “The photons from your phone tell your brain, ‘Don’t secrete melatonin yet; it’s not time for sleep.’” The result? Your late-night screen usage makes your attention falter, impairs your memory, challenges your ability to think through problems, and turns your insulin (which helps regulate your metabolism) upside down, making it more likely that you will gain weight. Note: Dr. Siegal is referring to cell phone use, not television viewing.
Meghan, 27, and her partner of three years don’t bother with a TV, but like most of us, they struggle with an iScreen addiction (be that phone or tablet). “Speaking from experience, digital screens in the bedroom are a very real roadblock to intimacy,” says Meghan. “Instead of reading books or magazines before bed, we read our phones and tablets. For a while, we tried instituting a ‘no-phone zone’ policy—our bed was off limits for our devices. It literally only lasted a day or so.” Rather than give up, Meghan and her partner try to implement “the 50-minute rule,” meaning they don’t look at their phones for 50 minutes before bed. “It's hard, and we often fail, but I think even making the effort shows an awareness that we both want to improve our relations by taking screens as out of the equation as possible.” Do you live with your phone by your side 24/7? We suggest following Meghan’s lead and trying to curb your usage before bedtime.
Newlyweds Cory, 29, and Raleigh, 24, grew up with different TV-in-the-bedroom policies but are definitely on the same page now. “My husband grew up with a TV in his bedroom,” says Raleigh. He literally fell asleep to it every night. I never had one in my bedroom, and my mom, from pretty early on, told me that if I were to get married, I should never have a TV near the bedroom. Now my husband agrees—a TV should never be in your bedroom—if you want to have regular sex.” Our takeaway: Raleigh’s mom gives killer marital advice.
Pauline, 27, and her partner keep the TV out of the bedroom as well, but their policy isn’t as strict. “No TV in the bedroom. Although sometimes we’ll cheat and have the iPad in there for special occasions. Otherwise, TV is strictly for the living room!”
Need help weaning off the screen before bed? Shop our favorite sleeping remedies, and you’ll be peacefully snoozing in no time.
Tatcha Deep Hydration Revitalizing Eye Mask 10 Pack ($95)
Williams-Sonoma Chantal Copper Whistling Tea Kettle, Copper ($160)
We want to know your take on the TV (and/or digital screens)–in-the-bedroom policy. Tell us how screens, or a lack thereof, play a role in your relationships in the comments.