Published: Mon, August 21, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Binge Watching Habit Triggers Insomnia and Fatigue

Binge Watching Habit Triggers Insomnia and Fatigue

About 81 percent of the sample admitted to binge watching in the one-month time frame, with nearly 40 percent revealing they had also watched endless amounts of Netflix on one occasion the month prior to the study.

Liese Exelmans a doctoral candidate at the University of Leuven in Belgium said "We found that the more often young people binge-watch, the higher their cognitive pre-sleep arousal".

Participants indicated they slept, on average, seven hours and 37 minutes but those who binge-viewed suffered poorer sleep quality and more tiredness. A regular bed time schedule and routine helps improve the self control to prevent oneself from watching hours of same TV content. Exelmans said building good sleep habits may take some time but once in place, the adherence is good and outcomes are better.

The study involved 423 young adults who were 18- to 25-years-old, with an average age of 22 years. The findings suggest that the mechanism explaining this relationship is increased cognitive alertness resulting from binge-watching.

Not only does on-demand TV tempt us to keep watching episode after episode, say the study's authors, but the shows are also created to draw us in, boost suspense and emotionally invest in plot lines and characters. All of them were asked to complete an online survey assessing TV viewing, binge-watching, sleep-deprivation and fatigue.

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

Because most bingeable shows often end with cliff-hangers or an unfinished plot theme, that lack of closure leaves viewers wanting to continue watching, which can hamper their ability to fall asleep.

They answered questions about the quality of their sleep using a standard questionnaire called the "Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index". 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.

"Bingeable shows often have a complex narrative structure that makes viewers become completely immersed into the story", added co-author Jan Van den Bulck, a professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of MI. Around 71% of binge-watchers claimed that they did it unintentionally - they watched more than they initially wanted to. As per researchers, this habit leads to intellectual alertness before going to sleep.

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