This research is likely no surprise to those who can’t seem to stop themselves from watching episode-after-episode of their favorite TV show.
Roughly 80% of 423 young adults surveyed said they were binge-watchers. Researchers found those who engaged in high binge-viewing frequency reported poorer sleep quality, more fatigue, and more insomnia symptoms when compared to non-binge-watchers.
It’s being called “cognitive arousal” or “cognitive pre-sleep arousal” which basically means you’re kept mentally awake by engaging story-lines and cliff-hangers.
You get so involved you either can’t stop watching, or can’t stop thinking about it while lying in bed. What’s surprising is researchers found 71% of binge-watching was unintentional, happening by accident. So for those with self-control issues, here are my prescriptions:
1. Set up in advance a maximum number of episodes to watch or set an alarm. That will help stop the “just one more episode” mentality.
2. Or you can find a lull in the plot within an episode after the action has died down. It’ll be easier to turn off rather than seeing the cliffhanger at the end.
3. After every hour of sitting, stand up, stretch and walk around. Past research has linked long hours of daily binge-watching to an increased risk of deadly blood clots in the lung.
4. Always get between 7 and 9 hour of sleep per night. Children need more based on their age.
The researchers did find viewing differences with women engaging in it significantly more than men. But when men did binge-watch, they would watch almost as twice as long. If you find yourself tired the day after watching too many episodes, be very mindful the next time you relax in front of the TV at night.