Study Links TV "Binge-Watching" to Sleep Issues

Addicted To Netflix? Stop As It Causes Poor Sleep And Fatigue

Binge-watching makes it hard to fall asleep, leading to insomnia, fatigue and poor sleep quality, researchers say.

About 81 percent of participants said they have binge-watched a show, and 40 percent of that group said they binge-watched a show in the month prior to the study. This can be done on a television, laptop, tablet, computer or smartphone.

In the study, the team surveyed 423 adults between the ages of 18 to 25. The questionnaires included other aspects such as sleep-related problems and pre-sleep cognitive arousal.

With so many TV channels and only streaming websites, many of us spend our evening binge watching our favorite series.

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Results show that more than 80% of young adults identified themselves as a binge-watcher, with 20.2% of them binge-watching at least a few times a week in the previous month.

The new research from the University of MI and Leuven School for Mass Communication Research in Belgium surveyed individuals on their television-watching habits and the frequency of their binge-watching sessions, as well as their sleep routine and quality. 98% of those who binge-watch are more likely to experience lack of sleep and other sleeping problems. On assessing quality of sleep, 32.6% had a poor sleep quality associated with being a binge viewer.

A racing heart, or one that beats irregularly, and being mentally alert can create arousal (or pre-sleep arousal) when a person tries to fall asleep, leading to poor sleep quality after binge-viewing.

If you've ever pushed back your bedtime to watch "just one more" episode of Orange Is the New Black, or lay in bed wide-eyed after streaming three exhilarating hours of Game of Thrones, this new research probably won't surprise you. The researchers observed that a large part of the trend is the good quality of the shows being put out. Men binge-watched less frequently than women, but when they did, they watched for almost twice the time. "That in turn negatively affected sleep quality, fatigue and insomnia", Exelmans added. Well no, because while bingewatching was the reason for one third of people having bad sleep patterns, the study didn't look at the actual type of content they were looking at, something which could greatly affect outcomes.

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Study results are published in the Aug 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

"Bingeable shows often have a complex narrative structure that makes viewers become completely immersed into the story", said Jan Van den Bulck, professor at the University of MI.

As advice the researchers say that watching TV should be within a timeline and that timeline should be stuck to stop the TV viewing from affecting sleep.

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