Sleep Better

How Adjusting Your Bedtime Can Benefit the Environment

01 Jul 20226 min read
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With work done for the day, how do you spend your evenings? Are you a flop-on-the-sofa-for-a-night-of-Netflix kind of person, or will you be locked into an intense gaming session until the early hours?

What many people don’t realise is that the time we go to bed, and what we do beforehand, can have a significant impact on the environmental.

Here’s how altering your nightly routine could reduce your household carbon emissions.

We use the measure CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) throughout this article. CO2e means the equivalent amount of greenhouse gases produced. It includes carbon dioxide along with other greenhouse gases, such as methane and nitrous oxide.

Key Findings: 

  • Reducing your Netflix time by just an hour a night cuts 20.1kg from your yearly carbon emissions - the same quantity of emissions produced during 29 wash loads!
  • Swapping two hours of Netflix for reading saves 63.15kg of CO2e annually - the equivalent of driving 485 miles in a Tesla!
  • Gaming before bed adds the most to your carbon footprint at 87.97g, or the amount that’s produced when manufacturing 352 bottles of beer!

Cutting out just one Netflix episode each night saves 20.1kg of carbon emissions per year!

According to our calculations, saying no to one more episode and going to bed an hour earlier could save 20.1kg CO2e over the course of a year.

To put that into perspective, the yearly emissions you’d save are the equivalent of:

  • Growing 402 potatoes.
  • Nearly 29 wash loads.
  • Wind power for an average home for almost 56 days!

According to Statista, almost 17 million UK households had a Netflix subscription as of Q4 2021. If every one of these households cut down their viewing by one hour per day over a year, we’d collectively save 341,700,000kg CO2e or 341,700 tonnes!

That’s the equivalent of the carbon produced making 4,745,833 iPhones, or the carbon generated when using wind power to supply energy to 22,780,000 homes!

A night in front of Netflix creates 73.37kg CO2e

Of course, most of us rely on other electrical appliances, such as lamps and kettles, during our Netflix binges. It means that the carbon footprint of a night watching the latest Netflix show is even higher.

Over the course of a year, watching Netflix for two hours per evening with a lamp on and with two cups of tea creates 73.37kg CO2e. 

That’s equivalent to the amount of carbon produced:

  • Growing 667 bananas or 1,467 potatoes.
  • Running 104 wash loads.
  • Driving almost 563 miles in a Tesla Model 3 2020.
Woman reading book by lamp light

Swapping Netflix for reading before bed saves 63.15kg of CO2e annually - the same as driving 485 miles in a Tesla!

There is a way to make your nightly routine more environmentally friendly, though. If you were to swap your two-hour nightly Netflix binge for reading, you could save 63.15kg of CO2e every year. 

Reading by lamp light creates just 10.22kg CO2e in a year, down 63.15kg CO2e on a year’s worth of Netflix nights. 

The emissions you’d save are equivalent to the CO2 produced driving 485 miles in a Tesla Model 3, or 90 wash loads!

Woman reading book by lamp light

Gaming before bed adds 87.97kg CO2e to your yearly carbon footprint, the same as manufacturing 352 bottles of beer!

Whether you’re locked into an online tournament or are earning trophies, two hours of gaming per night can add up to 87.97kg CO2e over the course of a year.

That’s based on playing a PlayStation 5 for two hours, using a TV and wireless router to do so, while having a lamp on and two cups of tea as you play.

If you’re an Xbox gamer, the figures are slightly better at 80.67kg CO2e, based on playing the Xbox Series X in the same conditions.

The carbon emissions created are the equivalent of:

  • Producing almost 600g of beef.
  • Creating over 12sqm of wool.
  • Manufacturing almost 352 355ml bottles of beer!

Swap your games console for listening to music and save 75.6kg CO2e - the same as 210 days of wind power for an average home!

If you’re a gamer looking to cut your carbon emissions, one option could be to swap your two-hour nightly gaming session for listening to music instead.

Person playing video games at night

According to our calculations, listening to music via an Amazon Echo 2nd Generation for two hours per night uses 12.41kg CO2e per year. That’s 75.6kg CO2e less than playing a PlayStation 5, and 68.26kg CO2e less than an Xbox Series X.

Not ready to give up your games console completely? Even if you cut your gaming time in half from two hours per night to one, you’d still stand to cut your carbon emissions by 37.78kg CO2e!

That’s the same as the amount produced making over six paper shopping bags, or powering a home using natural gas for 2.5 days!

There are more than just environmental benefits to changing your bedtime routine

While going to bed one or two hours earlier helps reduce your household’s carbon footprint, it can also offer personal benefits too. Here, we outline just a few:

1. You’ll get more sleep

An obvious benefit of course is that in theory, going to bed earlier means you have more time to sleep. Considering that 1,000 people in the UK search for ‘how to sleep 8 hours in 3 hours’ every month, it seems like we could do with giving ourselves the extra time for shuteye!

The amount of sleep you need will depending on your age, gender, health and other factors, but most people aim to get around eight hours sleep per night.

2. You’ll find it easier to get up in the morning

If you’ve ever stayed up late, you’ll know how difficult it can be to get up early the next day! Getting more sleep by going to bed earlier could make it easier to get up in the morning, as you’ll awake feeling refreshed and less like you need to sleep for longer.

Woman stretching after a good nights sleep

3. Your sleep quality could improve

The blue lights emitted by our screens, be it the TV or our mobiles, are renowned for disrupting our sleep. Studies have shown that exposure to blue light can reduce our body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that makes us feel sleepy.

By tuning into our favourite show before bed, we might find it takes us longer to get to sleep as result. Removing blue light from the equation completely and winding down with a book or soothing music instead could make us fall to sleep more quickly.

4. Your mood will improve

When we’re tired, many of us feel unmotivated and more irritable and stressed than usual, which is hardly ideal as we go about our day-to-day activities. By sleeping more, you could see an improvement in your mood.

5. You could snack less

If you are calling it a night earlier, or snuggling up with a good book, you’re less likely to find yourself snacking late at night. Eating late could mean you’re less likely to eat breakfast the next day, which could lead to reaching for the snacks later in the day. 

If you are planning on spending more time in bed, be it to reduce your environmental impact or to just get some extra shuteye, a comfortable mattress is a must. Shop our range of mattresses online today and enjoy free next day delivery.


To calculate the carbon emissions of our daily activities, we calculated an average kWh consumption for each appliance. We then used RenSmart’s Carbon Emissions Calculator to calculate the carbon dioxide and equivalent gasses that would be emitted through one and two hours of each activity over the course of a year.

Information was then collected from CO2 Everything which we used to draw comparisons about the equivalent carbon emissions.

Figures for Netflix are based on the Carbon Trust’s findings of a 55g CO2e streaming carbon footprint

Calculations are illustrative and based on household activity only. Actual figures may be higher or lower depending on contributing factors.