Hayden Panettiere sleeps with her TV on because she’s afraid of the dark

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Hayden Panettiere is promoting Nashville, which is now on CMT, its new home for its fourth season. She’s on the other side of the postpartum depression she suffered with her daughter, Kaya, now two, and she looks incredible. She’s been very open about her bout with depression, and the fact that she’s sought treatment for it, and by doing so she must have helped so many other people. I always like seeing what she’s up to and reporting on her interviews. However I have to say that I tried watching the new season of Nashville (I’ve seen every episode up until this point) and I couldn’t get into it. I only got about halfway through. The show is just dragging for me and I really dislike Rayna’s teenage daughter, Maddie. I think that’s the point though, teenagers are infuriating. Getting back to Hayden, she was on Harry Connick Jr’s show and she admitted that she can’t sleep without the TV on! I don’t know anyone who does this. It sounds like a recipe for longterm sleep deprivation.

Harry: Hayden’s big secret is…
Hayden: I’m afraid of the dark. I’m terrified of the dark. I sleep with my TV on. Even at 27 years old as mother of a 2 -year–old. I still sleep with my TV on.
Harry: Even with Vladi in the house?
Hayden: Not quite so much then but I’m terrified of the dark. I don’t like it. I hate it.
Harry: I’m not qualified to do what I’m about to do but I’m going to provide my brand of therapy to you to help you deal with it. Stay right there. I would just like to bring the lights down just a little bit. It’s okay I’m right here with you. I even brought you a present. It’s a flashlight. Only use need it if you need it. You hold the power in your hand. You are in control. Can we bring them down a little more?
Hayden: No, that’s good.
Harry: You have to go all the way. Quiet, bring em on down…I think you’re doing great…She’s never coming back on my show again.

[From Harry, received via email]

I have so many questions about this. Does she turn the sound off or just down really low? Has she considered a night light so it doesn’t flicker and change all night long? Also, I have to wear a sleep mask when I nap during the day (every day if I can, I love naps) and I don’t understand how anyone can sleep with the lights on. I’m a light sleeper though, I need ideal quiet dark conditions to sleep. Also, it sounds like her fiance, Vladimir Klitschko, isn’t around that much, just based on how she responds to Harry’s question about him. Plus I can’t imagine a partner in bed being like “oh it’s fine, leave the TV on.” Maybe that’s just my own personal bias because if I had a partner who insisted on leaving the TV on all night they would not be sleeping in the same room as me.

Hayden Panettiere during an appearance on ABC's 'Live with Kelly.'

Hayden Panettiere during an appearance on ABC's 'Live with Kelly.'

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53 Responses to “Hayden Panettiere sleeps with her TV on because she’s afraid of the dark”

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  1. mellie says:

    I go to sleep with the TV on every. single. night. For me, it’s a noise thing, I have to have some sort of noise. I set the sleep timer for 30-60 minutes and then I’m fine for the rest of the night. I’m kind of scared of the dark too though ;)

    • Don't kill me I'm French says:

      Like my older sister.

    • Nancy says:

      If a fly sneezes, it would wake me up. White noise is more efficient for me, fan on low year round.

    • Luca76 says:

      This runs in my family my mom and sisters are the same way. I have it too but instead of TV I stream NPR or BBC radio and it puts me right to bed. I even do it on sleep timer so I’m not wasting the battery.

    • susiecue says:

      I do that when I’m alone. The small amount of noise and light helps me go to sleep & I also use the sleep timer.

      • bluerunning says:

        Yep, same here. Set the sleep timer, and I’m fine after that! CSPAN is my chosen station…

    • Imqrious2 says:

      After we had a huge earthquake at 4:30 AM (1994) I was so scared of the dark, I kept the TV on all night, tuned to a “non-channel” (it was cable TV then, so it was a blue screen). No volume, just for the light. Even now, 16 yrs. later, I fall asleep to the TV on a timer, and have power-failure lights in every room (two in my bedroom). Just knowing I won’t be left in the dark makes it easier.

      Nice knowing I’m in good company with my fellow Celebitches 😘

  2. Nancy says:

    Boo. Time to face your fears little girl, you have a seven foot bf to protect you…lol. Personally, for me to sleep, the darker the better. No sleepovers at her house.

    • Shambles says:

      Sometimes I find the dim sound and light of the tv comforting too, but in this case I have to agree with you. If Wladimir Klitschko was my dude, I would not be thinking about my fear of the dark. And we wouldn’t have the tv on. And we wouldn’t sleep. So basically, get it, Hayden.

  3. JustME says:

    I need noise to fall asleep so my TV is also on all night long.

  4. Don't kill me I'm French says:

    My sister can’t sleep without the noise of the tv.
    Single or not/alone or not,the tv is always open at her home

  5. Alix says:

    That bottom pic reveals a Tori Spelling-type (read: bad) boob job. Why?

    • fiona says:

      She has a minor defect in her chest. I have it too. Hayden has small implants which weren’t botched, she just naturally has a slightly “pigeon chest” which makes her defect look a little worse when combined with implants. Just the way she is. Just the way her bones dip in.

  6. Yellowrocket says:

    28 years old and I still sleep with a light on. I wish I didn’t though I used to love sleeping in the dark, this is an adult habit I picked up when I moved from home and was terrified I would be murdered in my sleep. Luckily my partner is a heavy sleeper so it doesn’t bother him.

    I try to quit it every now and again because its really bad for you, hopefully this year is the year!

    • Erinn says:

      The dark freaks me out. I don’t sleep with a light on, but there’s been a lot of nights where I’ve been soooo overheated because I have the covers pulled up around my face. I sleep with earplugs because I’m a light sleeper and have sleep issues to begin with – but my night vision isn’t great and if I hear a noise in the dark it freaks me out pretty decently. I think I’m just easy to creep out to begin with though – I can’t even handle commercials about horror movies.

      • Yellowrocket says:

        Yup nothing like a bang at 4am to get the adrenaline pumping! I do the same with my blankets and I started using weighted blankets because the pressure is supposed to make you feel more secure but they’re really hot.

      • Annetommy says:

        Wondering what type of bang you mean…I wake up if a spider farts, so need an eye mask and ear plugs every night. Each to their own. But I think Vlad would scare anything, man or ghost…

    • ElleBee says:

      I have a suggestion; I found this helpful as I also am not a fan of the dark. I have a plug-in that lights up when it gets dark. It is amazingly bright and makes the room smell good at the same time. I also have light curtains that allow a distant street light to shine in.

      Try it and see if it helps. (Airwick I think)

  7. detritus says:

    No tvs in the bedroom. I agree with CB on all points nap and sleep related.
    I would nap everyday if I could, sleep masks are mandatory for day naps and travel, and night light if needed, but no TV.

    I get Hayden though and I bet she leaves the sound on low, I do the same sometimes if the apartment is empty at night.

  8. bluhare says:

    I never used to, but now I’m in the habit of falling asleep to the TV. I turn it off during the night when I get up to use the bathroom. I don’t think it’s a big deal really. And i used the timer on the TV until it quit working.

  9. Jenns says:

    My neighbors and their kids all sleep with the TV on. Sometimes my dog has to go out in the middle of the night, and all the see coming from all their windows is the glow of the TVs.

  10. Kate says:

    I do this. Partly because I hate a pitch black room, and partly because I like a bit of background noise. It takes me at least 1hr to get to sleep (always has, with or without tv) and having something other than my own thoughts to focus on helps prevent it being even longer. I usually put it on a Netflix show I’ve seen before so I can follow it without actually watching the screen, and so I don’t get too engrossed.

    • evie says:

      ^^^ This exactly!!!! Also, my husband can sleep through ANYTHING and doesn’t mind me having the tv on when I need it.

  11. Lucy2 says:

    I do it all the time, but it’s usually my ipad not the tv. I can fall asleep without it and it’s not a fear of the dark thing, but I usually watch something when I go to bed and usually fall asleep partway through it.

  12. Karen says:

    I sleep with it on too. Usually something on-demand so the TV turns off after I’m asleep. The volume has to be just low enough, and the screen is on movie mode so not very bright. I just got in the bad habit and it takes me twice as long to sleep with no TV. And I’m a light sleeper too, the low noise helps dull out other noises I think. I can’t stop hearing cars, people, central air, whatever else when I try to sleep without it.

  13. The New Classic says:

    I prefer to sleep without the TV on and i’d love to not even have one in my bedroom. I didn’t have one in my room when I was single, but my partner can’t sleep without the TV on so we got one. I don’t mind it too much but if we ever break up the TV’s going into the spare bedroom.

  14. Patricia says:

    I’m surprised so many people commenting they do this! I would find it so unrestful. I’ve fallen asleep in the living room with the TV on and it gives me such weird dreams because I hear the dialogue. I don’t have a tv in my room.
    Hayden wouldn’t survive in my home. I like the dark. If I wake up at night to use the bathroom or check on my toddler I walk around in the dark, never turn a light on.

  15. Lulu says:

    30yr old women here , sleep with a night light well it’s one of those that you point at the ceiling and it projects like the northern lights , and I also have relaxation music playing al night . Have suffered from terrible nightmares due to ptsd for the last nearly decade and it’s the only thing that helps ground me when I wake . Hubby hates the music so wears ear plugs , but the light doesn’t bother him .

    • cee emm cee says:

      Ah interesting! I didn’t mention it in my comment but I have PTSD as well and need the TV on. Wonder if there’s a correlation between PTSD/depression and needing light/noise to fall asleep?

      • Lulu says:

        there must be , it’s the only thing that’s helped me, and it was actually one of the mental health team I see who suggested it to me to try when I found the anti depressants I was given to take at night to help me sleep increased my nightmares into ones I found hard to get out from even when awake … ptsd is a killer of sleep

      • julie says:

        Fellow PTSD survivor here, and I also need the TV on to fall asleep. It makes such a difference for me!

  16. cee emm cee says:

    28 years old and I fall asleep with Netflix going on my laptop… it does time itself out and the laptop goes to sleep. It’s the only way I can fall asleep, been doing it for 10 years. I’m not scared of the dark, it’s just the time of day when all the stressful things decide to take up space in my head haha. The distraction of Friends or Seinfeld keeps the brain quiet so I can get some peace. *shrug*

  17. MarcelMarcel says:

    I cannot fall asleep when there are repetitive rhythmic sounds in the background i.e. clocks ticking, snoring etc… and if I do then I inevitably wake up before dawn. It’s weird because my apartment is in a noisy metropolitan area- right near a main road and hospital but traffic doesn’t bother me because the sounds are irregular.

    My New Years resolution is to break the habit of taking technology to bed. I developed the bad habit of falling asleep to tv shows and movies to cope with insomnia. Realistically I will probably just replace it with music and podcasts.

  18. rosalee says:

    terrified of the dark..when I am on the road the tv stays on all night. But at home, well I snuggle close to She Who Knows No Fear..and I’m fine.

  19. Yura says:

    I sleep with the tv on too. I’m kinda weird though. I mute the tv and put my radio on. The music and flickering light puts me to sleep really fast

  20. Livia says:

    I’ve slept with the TV on for about twenty years now, ever since I moved to NYC. It’s a noise issue, it’s a comfort issue – I don’t feel so alone and sad and horrified with my singleton life choices if I can pretend other people are in the room with me (yes, that’s also sad!) – and it’s a light issue, as I have terrible eyesight. Waking up in pitch black or even with a small nightlight on doesn’t cut it for me – I need a significant amount of illumination in order to find my glasses, because I’m always totally disoriented when I wake up to nothing but dark fuzz.

  21. Lalu says:

    I would go nuts falling asleep with the tv on each night. I like quiet and dark.
    I feel really bad for grown ups that are afraid of the dark. I am scared of heights and wouldn’t want to deal with that every day of my life.

  22. BJ says:

    Viola Davis was on Inside the Actor’s Studio and admitted she is afraid of the dark.It stems from growing up in a house infested with rats.She would hear them running around, chewing up her and her sisters’ toys,clothes,etc.

  23. Rachelle says:

    I don’t know how you’ve never met anyone that does that! My guess is he’s not home otherwise she wouldn’t need to have the TV on.

  24. lulu says:

    I always go to sleep with the telly on, can’t sleep without it, think its the noise, my husband has got used to it too now and will have it on even if I am not there.

  25. Snowflake says:

    I’m a light sleeper. I can’t sleep with the TV on. The light from it, plus the noise, nope. I love it dark, quiet, and a little chilly!

  26. NotSoSocialButterfly says:

    Any light wakes me up. If a kid leaves their bathroom entry light on across the hall with my door ajar ( as it has to be for pets coming and going), I wake up. It sucks to be so light sensitive. No day naps unless I’m really tired and can block light/ cover eyes.

  27. Littlestar says:

    I prefer dark and quiet as possible

  28. JustJen says:

    I can fall asleep anytime, anywhere. My husband is jealous of that. When our daughter was in the hospital years ago, we were taking turns sleeping on the cot in the room. When it was my turn to take the rocking chair, I fell asleep before he even had a chance to get comfortable. Whatever works for you, do it!

  29. Giddy says:

    Absolute dark and quiet freak me out. I have night lights all over my house, the kind that automatically come on when it gets dark. Some of them are also the type that come on if the power fails and can be used as flashlights. But, I always have a flashlight on my bedside table also! I sleep with a white noise machine. When I travel I use a white noise ap on my iPad to let me sleep. My husband is fine with this as he can sleep anywhere anytime.

  30. Lambda says:

    She’s so cute with those glasses on!

    A friend of mine uses ASMR videos on her ipad to help her fall asleep. I didn’t realize the ‘tv on’ thing was so common.

    My own soporific is reading. 15 pages and I’m out.

  31. Pam says:

    When I was dealing with generalized anxiety, I kept Netflix going so I had something to focus on rather than my worried thoughts.

  32. Jag says:

    I used to have to keep it dark in order to sleep. Even had light reducing curtains. But then I had a traumatic experience in 2002 which changed everything, so have been sleeping with the lights on ever since. (My 98% wolf hybrid terrorized me for an hour. Had my 60% hybrid girl not been out with him, I’d be dead because she saved me every time he jumped on me while I was lying on the ground. If I didn’t have my cell phone with me, I’d be dead, too.) PTSD sucks!

  33. Minty says:

    Me too everybody!

    It’s always been The Office for me.

    Now I’m trying to improve the quality of my sleep so I’ve been listening to a meditation for beginners DVD by Maritza Spindler.

    She has the most amazing body scan meditation, where she guides you into relaxation by focusing on different parts of the body one at a time. I usually fall asleep before its over because I never remember doing the ending part.

    It’s amazing for my anxiety/ptsd, and gives me a really restful sleep. I also think it’s boosted my immune system. The 20 minute yoga and the seated meditation are also great too! The body scan is just very effective in inducing sleep, but you can also do it when you’re wide awake.

  34. OTHER RENEE says:

    The darker the better for me. If I can’t sleep I turn on my phone app for background noises and put on ocean sounds with a thirty minute timer. Knocks me out cold.