Binge-watching leads to poor sleep quality

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If yes, then according to a recent study you could be seriously risking your health in the process.

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.

With the widespread and ever-growing use of streaming technology to enjoy our favorite shows, the act of "binge watching" - that is, the viewing of multiple consecutive episodes of a television show in a single sitting - has quickly become a shared cultural phenomenon.

Nearly a third of those who reported poor sleep (32.6 percent) "had a poor sleep quality associated with being a binge-viewer".

"We found that the more often young people binge-watch, the higher their cognitive pre-sleep arousal", said lead author Liese Exelmans in a press release. "That in turn negatively affected sleep quality, fatigue and insomnia", Exelmans added.

For the study, 423 adults between 18 and 25 years old were enlisted to participate. Out of those participants, 40% have binge-watched once, 28% have binge-watched a couple of times, 14% have binge-watched several times in a week and 7% binge-watched every day.

The study showed that increased cognitive arousal prior to sleep is the mechanism explaining the effects of binge viewing on sleep quality.


"Bingeable TV shows have plots that keep the viewer tied to the screen".

The study said that owing to the content of the TV programmes and shows, the viewers racing heartbeat and mental alertness could make it hard for the person to have sound sleep.

"This prolongs sleep onset or, in other words, requires a longer period to "cool down" before going to sleep, thus affecting sleep overall".

A large part of this problem is pre-sleep arousal, the researchers say.

She said: "These students have flexible daytime schedules". Such a trend is concerning, not just because it is becoming more frequent, but also because poor sleep can lead to problems like reduced memory function, obesity, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease.

On average, respondents slept around seven hours and women most frequently binge-watched than men. Usually, shows tend to get pretty intense and to keep watchers immersed in their action, which makes it hard for them to refrain from playing another episode. This should help them calm down and gradually improve their sleep quality.

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