Health Care

Binge-watching TV Linked with Poor Sleep in Young Adults

Binge-watching TV Linked with Poor Sleep in Young Adults”

"We found that most of these young adults watching the series, the more their level of arousal increases, which in term affects the quality of sleep and promotes insomnia and fatigue", says Liese Exelmans, the lead author of the study.

More than eight in ten (81 percent) had binge-watched, nearly 40 percent of whom had done it once during the period, and 28 percent "a few times". This can be done on a television, laptop, tablet, computer or smartphone.

The study surveyed 423 participants between the ages 18 and 25, and about 75 percent of the participants were students.

Most of the time, binge-watching occurs unintentionally. Roughly 7 percent had binge-watched a show for almost every day during the previous month.

The study of more than 400 young people found those who binge watched reported poorer sleep quality, more fatigue and increased insomnia. However, 98 percent of the binge-watchers in the group showed high risk of having poor sleep quality. Regular television watching was not associated with any of these.

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.

The phenomenon, in which people watch an excessive amount of the same programme in one sitting, has been on the rise as more households use streaming services and digital video recorders. The researchers observed that a large part of the trend is the good quality of the shows being put out. This led to many people engaging in binge watching, meaning that they watch multiple episodes in a sitting. Previous studies have shown that cognitive arousal can have a negative effect on sleep onset.

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

"Bingeable shows often have a complex narrative structure that makes viewers become completely immersed into the story", says co-author Jan Van den Bulck, PhD, professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of MI in Ann Arbor. They also were more exhausted and felt less rested after a night of sleep although they did get reasonable hours of sleep. "This intense engagement with television content could require a longer period to "cool down" before going to sleep, thus affecting sleep overall".

If your weekend is now based around you binge-watching a new series on Netflix, then you may want to rethink your plans as it turns out it's unsurprisingly not great for your sleep schedule.

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