Does watching TV cause you fatigue?

I hope it’s OK to post in this part of the forum, as I don’t yet have a diagnosis of anything (apart from Meniere’s disease, which was undiagnosed again as I didn’t recover my hearing!).

Fatigue is a troubling part of my symptoms, and I’m trying to figure out if the other symptoms are causing the fatigue, or if the fatigue is causing the other symptoms.

One thing I have noticed, is that I “hit the wall” (metaphorically) much earlier in the evening if I’ve sat down and watched TV than if I’m sitting drinking wine and chatting. Does anybody here find TV watching to be exhausting? Of course, it might just be the alcohol keeping me awake, but it’s supposed to have the opposite effect. I could just self-medicate I suppose, but that might cause more problems than it cures!

I am waiting for a neck MRI and a follow-up neuro appointment, but as I know these things take time I’m trying to figure out what I can do to make myself better in the mean time. If I can determine whether the fatigue is cause or effect, then I’ll know which angle to attack it from!

Thanks in advance

Hello nuttyneddy (nice name!)

Many people in ‘limbo land’ post on the EL board, so you’re not alone or unwelcome.

Personally, I find that sitting talking to people and chatting, whilst stimulating for the brain at the time, causes me more fatigue the day after.

Whilst watching TV can drive me off to bed much earlier, simply because most of what’s on is either utter bilge, or something my poor brain can’t keep up with. (I’m finding lately that I find it hard to follow a series from one week to the next as I have mild cognitive problems.)

But in years gone by, when I could follow TV shows, I don’t think watching the TV gave me more fatigue exactly, I’d get fatigued normally, but the after effects were less fatiguing than the talking/drinking wine type of evening.

That said, the more social evenings are a lot more fun. So maybe that has something to do with it?


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I have told my ms nurse before that it seems there are too many messages trying to fight each other visual and sound, like your brain is worn out trying to collate it all! Having a very loud family doesn’t even seem worth trying to join in a conversation any way, you just get talked over, have trouble with my speech!

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Yes, I guess it could be the stimulating effect of a social evening providing energy, rather than anything fatiguing about TV watching. It’s still a mystery why some days I can get out of bed at 8am whereas other days I’m still struggling at 10. But two hours of TV and I can’t even stand up long enough to brush my teeth before bed. I guess I should write a diary, and that might give me clues as to what to avoid one day if I want to have energy the next.

I do find that once I’m up my body does start to co-operate, so a slow start (cup of lemon and ginger tea in bed, then sit down with breakfast and a decaff coffee for an hour or so) gives me a good few hours of fairly normal activity.

Bizarrely, the backs of my forearms were aching overnight. Not just the drinking arm, honest!

Hi Nutty! I dont have MS, but HSP…a similarly fatiguing condition…I watch tv in bed in the evening and it really varies how I fall asleep. I can not think I am tired, yet there I am, enjoying a programme and the next thing I know, is hubby coming to bed at 11pm and I`ve missed something I thought I was enjoying!


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I call it watching TV, but it’s actually internet stuff that we watch - iplayer, Amazon Prime and Netflix.

Poll - it’s weird. I get absolutely exhausted to the point of not being able to stand up, but it’s physical tiredness rather than sleepiness. Luckily I don’t fall asleep in front of the TV, although I’m sure I would if I was watching it in bed

Once I’m in bed I’m straight off to sleep in about 30 seconds though! Hubby often comes to bed with me and sits up and reads - he can get up several times for drinks and snacks, and I never notice!

Watching certain kinds of TV - music videos or loud, action-heavy stuff - overloads my brain, but I’ve not noticed it causing fatigue.

For me it’s the same as Sue, social interaction wipes me out for the next day.

Such a shame that fatigue causes aren’t easier to pin down, isn’t it?

Maude - I’m sure you’re right. When my ear was first playing me up, I found that most things were OK to watch, but I couldn’t get to the end of an episode of “Musketeers” without being knackered. Too much action going on I think!

Jellysundae, you are so right. Sometimes it seems so random! And on the days I do seem to have energy, I want to go out and do loads of things - my husband jokingly says he dreads those days more than the knackered ones!

Neddy, yeah! I hate knowing that if I do have a good day, and get outside and get something done, I’m most definitely going to have a can-barely-get-out-of-bed day the next day. :frowning: But at least I KNOW that’s going to happen.

But the stuff that’s like SURPRISE, FATIGUE!! when that wall hits you for no discernable reason…SO frustrating…

The cinema is a no no for me,but theatre seems to be fine!


Now that’s interesting! Thinking about it from how things affect me though, it makes sense. Cinema = huge screen and massive amounts of noise. Very immersive, would be total brain overload for me, and I don’t think it would take very long at all either. If I stayed in a cinema for a whole film I’d probably be catatonic by the end, maybe they could class that as my review of the production, ha!

I’ve never been to the theatre, my life is truly lacking in that respect. But a play surely wouldn’t be the assault on the senses that a film watched in the cinema would be.

Now this makes me wonder…What size TV does the average MSer watch?

I wonder if there’s a noticeable difference in screen size for those with cognitive problems and those without, things like that…would be interesting to know I think surpriseMine’s a “small” flat screen, a gift from my sister for my birthday in 2014, otherwise I’d still be using my Nan’s old TV if it hadn’t conked out on me.

I quote small in that way because it’s a 32" screen, which is the biggest TV screen I’ve ever had on anything! It seemed monstrous when I first got it, but it is small in the world of flat screens, isn’t it.

I know some 56" behemoth would overwhelm me though, I’d not be able to watch something on a screen that size.

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Interesting question smiley

Mine’s a small flat screen too, just over 18 inches across.

Neddy is yours that size to help with your viewing? I used my old portable for years and did fine with it, but I wonder now if a screen that small, on the other side of the room, would be too small for me to focus on…

The size of mine seems to work well for me, big enough to not let peripheral stuff crowd the edges of my vision, but not so big as to overwhelm.

Wow, maybe we need to wear blinkers, like a shire horse!

Actually, something like that probably really would help me…

We’ve had the small TV since before I was ill - we’re not great TV watchers anyway (that’s why we do with just internet TV), and our room’s quite small. Interesting thought though.

Blinkers - now there’s an idea! Hubby says he knows when it’s time for me to go to bed because I cover one eye with my hand. It’s totally instinctive, but it’s easier to watch with just one eye when I’m tired.

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It depends what you see, I guess, some musicals can be pretty full on in the effects department and gun shots do make you jump!-especially when it’s the last thing you expect! I’ll say no more in case I post a spoiler inadvertently! Off too see Avenue Q in a couple of weeks (don’t think there are any gun shots in that!)

Alison x

Ooh, I’m jealous! I’d love to see Avenue Q.

Have a lovely time!

It’s because TV is dross. If my wife would let me I’d take it to the tip.

Or am I just a grumpy old man?

Damn! There’s no grumpy Smiley.

I don’t believe it!


Ha! Having a Victor Meldrew moment there, A?

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It’s on tour, may be near you I’ve had these tickets booked for months! Sesame Street for adults! looking forward to it! Hubby had never been to the theatre until I made him come to a works do, we saw, ,Women on the verge of HRT, not really a mans play, it was pretty funny though and he enjoyed it, I just feel responsible for my recommendations now! Went to seeThe Book of Mormon last year and I found myself preapologising, I have never seen him laugh so much, at one particular scene, I know he wants to see it again!..have to save up for that though I think it’s still the most expensive ticket in London Not sure if you can enter the draw for free tickets on line.

Unfortunately it’s been near me

But it’s going to be near my family later in the year… Might be a plan!