Published: Mon, August 21, 2017
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Watching too much series can affect the quality of your sleep

Watching too much series can affect the quality of your sleep

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.

Researchers from the University of MI and the Leuven School for Mass Communication Research Belgium have found that excessive TV watching can lead to poor quality of sleep, fatigue and even insomnia. They defined binge-viewing as "watching multiple consecutive episodes of the same television show in one sitting on a screen, be it a television, laptop, computer or tablet computer screen".

Researchers saw how those participants at the study who admitted being binge watchers also complained of feeling exhausted more often, suffered from insomnia and poor sleep, and were in a more alert state before going to bed.

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

"That in turn negatively affected sleep quality, fatigue and insomnia", reveals Exelmans, lead author of the study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Exelmans and colleagues conducted a survey in 423 young adults aged between 18 and 25, 61.9 percent of whom were female.

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

Regular TV viewing does not have this problem, the research concluded. Women reported binge watching more often, but men did it for more hours at a time. Also, when they decide it's time to go to bed, they are still under the influence of the action and it takes them more to calm down and get ready to fall asleep.

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Van den Bulck says "This intense engagement with television content could require a longer period to "cool down" before going to sleep, thus affecting sleep overall". "Despite television's status as a form of 'old media, ' the rise of binge viewing shows that viewers are more engaged than ever with television content", they concluded. This should help them calm down and gradually improve their sleep quality. "Our research suggests that binge-viewing could be one of these risk factors". 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.

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