Secret of Adulthood: If We’re Too Tired to Do Anything Except TV or Internet, Go to Sleep.

From Further Secrets of Adulthood: If we’re too tired to do anything except watch TV or cruise the internet, go to sleep.

Agree, disagree?

I have to admit, I struggle sometimes to remember this Secret of Adulthood.  I don’t have trouble getting off the internet, but sometimes I watch TV because I feel too tired to read.

I know, however, that when I’m too tired to read something new, I’m better off re-reading something I’ve read before — such as one of my favorite works of children’s literature. Because they’re familiar, I can enjoy the pleasure of reading, even when my brain feels fried.

I’m a big fan of the pleasures of TV, but I enjoy TV most when it’s demanding. If I’m too tired to read, I’m probably also too tired to watch that kind of TV. I love shows like The Wire or Game of Thrones, for instance, but I can’t watch it when I feel exhausted.

As a sleep zealot, I do try to get myself to go to sleep as soon as I feel sleepy.

What do you think?

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  • Penelope Schmitt

    More when I was working a 40+ hour week than now that I am retired, I had a weekend rule: If on a day at home, I found myself parked on the sofa several times, I should accept that I was JUST TIRED and stay there. It was always amazing how much more energy I had the next day. Sometimes we just need a darned rest! I find that same thing is true for me when I have been traveling: if I am low on energy, cut out the self-blame and chivying to keep going. Just sit it out, read a book, have a snooze. Unsurprisingly, a rest usually perks me up. I have called my kids’ long sleep-in mornings on a vacation the ‘holiday of the sleep deprived,’ too. It’s so true–sleep deprivation will out! GET SOME REST.

    • johanna

      I have not had a television for over 30 years. When I occasionally see TV at a friend or relatives house the people and places seem so unreal and strange. Bizarre really and the people I can not relate to in any way. Am I missing something? please advise. ;0)

      • penelope schmitt

        I use a ROKU to transmit shows to my TV that I want to watch. Regular programming is mostly pretty nauseating, and I don’t miss it since I don’t watch sports programs. TV has rarely been my reason for being tired. Just being tired is enough!

  • I agree. Sometimes I get sorry for myself when I’m very tired and this makes me seek easy entertainment like TV or a movie to cheer me up. Having a nap feels boring. But I usually feel better if I sleep for a bit than if I sit watching TV with my eyelids drooping.

    Reading something familiar instead is a good idea: it provides cheering-up entertainment and comfort and also relaxes my mind, helping me drop off to sleep.

  • I agree, although I don’t always follow through. TV is not a problem, but the iPad next to my bed is. I’ll find myself surfing when I should just go to sleep.

  • Gina

    Completely agree and think it’s true for my teenagers too.

  • I agree and I would love to shake the hand of anyone who happens to be a Moderator in this regard. If so you are a rare breed my friend!

  • I struggle with internet + smartphone. Perhaps partly because the TV’s in the living room.

    Well, that is a secret! Although you know, a bit of anxiety can make you stay up with the TV, internet, or just about anything. Sometimes, it isn’t those things that keep us up at night 🙂 It’s a good rule of thumb, though.

  • This Old Housewife

    Pull the plug on both, and watch your energy soar because you’re getting more sleep!

  • Bliss149

    I wish I could! Evenings are so unproductive for me because I’m tired…but not sleepy. There’s a difference.

  • Sally_Jones

    I wish I saw this last night. I had hurt my knee and was icing it on the couch, laying down watching tv. Not only did I miss the end of my show that groggy sleepy feeling as I was taking out my contacts, brushing my teeth and checking on the kids is the worst feeling. I should have just gone to bed with the ice pack and a book that way when I fell asleep the ice pack would have fallen off and I would have eventually moved my book to the nightstand, which would have been less disruptive for my sleep. I am paying for it this morning, as my 3 year old doesn’t know I had a rough night and still gets up quite cheerfully at 5 AM, sigh.

  • Sue

    For me, I think this is true. I do think people are different in this regard. I’ve resisted going to bed ever since I was a kid, and I’ll do any mindless thing just to stay up. What I mostly do is sit at the computer for hour after unthinking hour. On the rare — very rare — occasions when I can get myself to bed instead, I’m much better off. This is nudging me to try harder not to deprive myself of sleep.

  • Susan Mary Malone

    TV? What exactly is that? LOL. I’m so blessed to live in a world of words, and days are really long, but oh-so-rewarding!

  • phoenix1920

    My problem is that I often feel exhausted after arriving at home and getting dinner cooked, but if I fall asleep then, I’ll wake at 11 pm, unable to fall back to sleep. I think it depends on what time of day you feel too sleepy to do anything TV or internet. I think I’ll try exercising the next time I feel that sleepy (which in the FL summer, I do via DVDs/TV)

    • gretchenrubin

      Maybe try moving your bedtime to 10, but not “napping” before then.

  • Maggie Cain

    I fall asleep easily in front of the TV. It solves the TV-getting-in-the-way-of-sleep problem, but I end up missing things on TV that I might otherwise enjoy or learn from!

    Speaking of Game of Thrones, your might enjoy this video: “Watching Game of Thrones with your Mom”

  • Mimi Gregor

    Something that I have noticed with me is that if I stay up watching TV or the computer screen, I have trouble falling asleep. Apparently the light that these devices emit can lower your melatonin levels… and melatonin is the hormone that is secreted by the pineal gland to get you sleepy. But it needs darkness to do that. As opposed to staring directly into a light source, when I read a book in bed, I often get sleepy before I read much more than a couple pages. Something to keep in mind if you a tired, but have trouble falling asleep.

  • Good idea. And I think this can help you both ways – if you’re tired and are facing either TV/Internet or sleep (and it’s really too early for sleep), it may motivate you to wake up and get some work done!

  • I agree! During my senior year of high school I didn’t get very much sleep, not because I had a lot of work, but because I was always up cruising the Internet. When I was at school I was always so exhausted. I’ve since considered sleep as productivity 🙂 -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  • Max Cherry

    I find laying in a dark room with only the sounds of my house and others breathing quite unbearable. The slightest noise will grab my attention and stop me getting to sleep. I listen to tv streams through headphones and that’s the only thing that works for me… if I didn’t I would be severely sleep deprived.

    • Gas Bucket

      Yep. It’s like solitary confinement. If my body is tired but my mind isn’t quite ready for sleep, lying in darkness and silence is torture. Even when I’m ready to sleep, I still need some kind of noise, otherwise I’m kept up by the roaring of my tinnitus.