Why Do I Fall Asleep When Watching Videos?

We’ve all been there. You’re mindlessly scrolling through YouTube, watching one video after another. Suddenly, your eyelids start to feel heavy and before you know it, you’re asleep. But is this normal? Can watching videos actually make you sleepy? Let’s take a look.

Is it normal to fall asleep when watching videos?

It’s no secret that screens can be pretty darn hypnotizing. But what about videos specifically? Can they really have such a powerful effect on our brains that they can make us doze off? The answer is yes! Videos, especially ones that are calming or monotonous, can trigger what’s known as “inattentional hypnosis.” Essentially, this means that we become so focused on what we’re watching that we enter into a sort of trance-like state. And when our brains are in this relaxed state, it’s not uncommon for us to fall asleep.

Also, too much screen time can make us more tired generally. In fact, studies have shown that the blue light emitted by screens can mess with our circadian rhythms and make it harder for us to fall asleep at night. So it’s not surprising that staring at a screen for too long can make us feel drowsy during the day.

So next time you find yourself falling asleep while watching a video, don’t worry! It’s perfectly normal. Just be sure to limit your screen time so you don’t end up feeling too sleepy during the day.

Why do I fall asleep when watching videos? Man asleep on sofa watching videos on phone.
Why do I fall asleep when watching videos?

Why does watching videos make me sleepy?

There are a number of reasons why you might be falling asleep when watching videos, from the content of the video to the amount of time you’re spending in front of screens. Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes.

Videos aren’t as engaging as TV

One of the main reasons why you feel sleepy when you watch videos, even if you don’t when you watch TV, is that videos (or webinars, or zoom meetings etc) tend to have the same backdrop and everything stays pretty static on the screen.

Because of the lack of visual stimulation, our brains simply ‘switch off’ and stop engaging as well with the video. This means you will feel sleepy faster. This is especially the case where just one person or thing is the feature of the video.

Too much screen time

The reason we tend to fall asleep when watching videos has to do with something called the “reset response.” This is a phenomenon that occurs when we are overstimulated by visual images. When this happens, our brains release a neurochemical called adenosine. Adenosine is a sedative that slows down brain activity and makes us feel tired.

So, what does this have to do with watching videos? Well, when we watch videos, our brains are constantly processing the images we see on the screen. This requires a lot of energy and can lead to adenosine buildup. As a result, we may start to feel sleepy if we watch a lot of videos back to back.

The time of day

We are more likely to fall asleep in the evening because our body’s circadian rhythm (or “internal clock”) slows down as it gets dark outside.

The type of content

Boring or repetitive content can trigger the reset response because our brains are not being challenged enough by what we’re seeing. Boredom is one of the reasons why you might fall asleep in math class.

Video length

Longer videos are more likely to make us sleepy because we’ve been watching the same thing for a longer period of time.

Video quality

Poorly produced videos with bad lighting and sound can also lead to the reset response because our brains have to work harder to process the information.

Amount of sleep

If you’re sleep-deprived, you’re more likely to fall asleep while watching videos. This is because your brain is already in a state of fatigue and is struggling to stay awake. Consider taking a nap or reducing your screen time if you’re feeling sleepy during the day.

Being sat still

When we’re sat in the same position for a long time, our bodies start to relax and we may start to feel sleepy. This is why you might fall asleep on a long car journey or during a movie.

If you find yourself falling asleep while watching videos, it’s likely because one or more of these factors is in play. So, try to mix things up by watching shorter videos or videos with more interesting content. And if all else fails, maybe it’s just time for a nap!

How do I stop falling asleep while watching videos?

We’ve all been there before. You’re trying to watch a video for class or work, but your eyelids just won’t stay open. The next thing you know, you’re waking up with a start, trying to figure out what happened in the last few minutes. If you’re struggling to keep your eyes open while watching videos, don’t worry – here are a few tips to help you stay awake and focused.

Video type

First, make sure that you’re interested in the content of the video. If you’re not invested in what you’re watching, it’s going to be very difficult to stay awake.

Don’t watch in the dark

Try to sit in a well-lit room so that your eyes don’t get tired.

Keep moving

If possible, stand up or move around while you’re watching the video. This will help keep your blood flowing and will make it easier to stay awake.

Avoid distractions

Turn off any notifications on your phone or computer that could pull your attention away from the video you’re trying to watch. If possible, find a quiet place where you can avoid external distractions completely. 

Drink water and eat healthy snacks

Staying hydrated and keeping your blood sugar levels stable will help you feel more alert and focused. Drinking water regularly and snacking on healthy foods like fruits and nuts will do wonders for your overall energy levels. 

Take breaks

Finally, take breaks often so that you don’t get too sleepy. Even if it means stopping the video every 10 minutes, it’s better than falling asleep and missing out on the entire video. It’s important to rest your eyes and allow your brain to process the information it’s taking in. Get up and walk around for a few minutes every 20 minutes or so, or at least close your eyes and focus on something else for a minute or two. This will help refresh you and allow you to come back to the video more focused than ever.

Conclusion: Why do I fall asleep when watching videos?

Now that you know why you fall asleep when watching videos, you can take steps to avoid it in the future. For example, try watching videos during the day or choosing more exciting content. And if you find yourself starting to nod off, don’t hesitate to hit pause and take a break. Your brain will thank you for it!

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