Study Finds- Binge Watchers Are At Higher Risk Of Sleep Problems

Binge-Watching Increases Risk Of Sleep Problems
Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

Some people prefer watching one episode at a time, while others wait for the season to be over in order to binge-watch their favorite shows.

You can watch just about anything online and it has never been easier to binge-watch than it is today.
Although having a Game of Thrones marathon seems divine, it could have a major impact on your sleep. How? The most recent study discovered binge-watchers are at a higher risk of insomnia and sleep problems.

Sleep Problems And Binge-Watching

A group of scientists at the University of Michigan carried out a study whose primary objective was to analyze the prevalence of binge-viewing and its relationship with cognitive arousal and sleep.

They enrolled 423 adults aged between 18 and 25 into the study, 61.9% participants were female.

Participants were asked to complete an online survey which included questions about binge-viewing, watching regular TV, sleep quality, fatigue, insomnia, and pre-sleep arousal.

Results, published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine[1], showed that 80.6% of participants identified themselves as binge watchers.

Among those who considered themselves binge viewers, 20.2% had binge watched some show at least a few times a week during past month.

When it comes to poor sleepers, about 32.6% had poor sleep quality linked to their habit to binge watch. What’s more, scientists discovered that higher frequency of binge-watching was strongly related to increased fatigue and insomnia.

On the other hand, watching regular TV was not associated with these negative effects on sleep quality. Furthermore, cognitive pre-sleep arousal entirely mediated these relationships, researchers discovered.

Binge Watching TV Info

What Does The Study Tell Us?

New styles of watching favorite shows are convenient because we can watch them whenever we want (or when we have time), but they pose a big threat to the healthy sleep pattern.

Enhanced* cognitive arousal operates as an underlying mechanism responsible for poor sleep among binge watchers, scientists concluded.

These findings do not just show the impact[2] of binge viewing on our sleep, they also indicate that in order to improve* the quality of sleep it is necessary to reduce* pre-sleep cognitive arousal i.e. avoid engaging in binge watching if you want to sleep better.

Bear in mind that the study doesn’t prove that binge-watching has a direct impact on quality of sleep and incidence of insomnia, but it provides evidence that the two are related, according to the study’s co-author Jan van den Bulck.

Binge-watching affects the quality of sleep in different ways including exposure to blue light, which is not good for your sleep pattern. Also, watching one episode after another keeps you alert and, as a result, you don’t get enough sleep.

Needless to mention that every time you finish watching something, you keep processing the information and thinking about everything you saw, create potential scenarios that could play out in the next season. All these things keep you awake.

Tips For Better Sleep

Getting enough sleep is vital if you want to improve* productivity, boost* energy levels, care for your skin, stay healthy, and so much more. Here are the tips that can help you:

  • Have a regular sleep pattern (go to sleep and wake up every night/morning at the same time)
  • Don’t drink alcohol before bed
  • Keep the bedroom dark and cool
  • No TV or phone in bed
  • Exercise regularly
  • Keep the bedroom quiet
  • Meditate
  • Practice yoga
  • Take a relaxing bath before bedtime

Conclusion

The latest study found the link between binge-watching and poor quality of sleep and insomnia. This happens due to pre-sleep cognitive arousal.

If you would like to sleep better, strive not to binge-watch your favorite show before bedtime.

References:

[1] http://www.aasmnet.org/jcsm/ViewAbstract.aspx?pid=31062
[2] http://time.com/4906534/netflix-binge-watching-sleep-insomnia/

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Author

Expert Author : Dr. Ahmed Zayed (Consumer Health Digest)

Dr. Ahmed Zayed Helmy holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree in 2011 at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Dr. Ahmed believes in providing knowledgeable information to readers. Other than his passion for writing, currently he is working as a Plastic surgeon and is doing his masters at Ain shams University.