Binge-watching TV May Have a Negative Impact On Sleep Quality

Binge-watching TV May Have a Negative Impact On Sleep Quality

Watching television for long hours on a regular basis may increase fatigue and adversely affect sleep quality in young adults, a study suggests. 

The mechanism explaining this finding is the increased pre-sleep alertness experienced by binge-watchers.

A group of researchers conducted a study on 423 young adults (age 18-25 years) and asked them to complete an online survey regarding regular television viewing, binge-watching, sleep quality, fatigue, insomnia, and pre-sleep alertness. Participants who admitted watching several consecutive episodes of a single show at one go, be it on television, laptop, or any other screen, were labeled as binge-watchers.

The survey showed that binge-watching sittings went on for an average of 3 hours and 8 minutes, with 52% of binge-watchers viewing three to four episodes in one session. About 80% of young adults admitted to being binge-watchers, 20.2% of whom had bing-watched at least a few times a week in the previous month. This subset of participants experienced more fatigue, more symptoms of insomnia, deteriorated sleep quality and higher pre-sleep alertness. A more descriptive analysis suggested that binge-watchers had a 98% greater probability of having compromised sleep quality than those who were not binge-watchers.

The authors explained that some TV shows or series have a complexly weaved content that deeply engages the viewers. This engagement may require a ‘cooling-down period’ before going to sleep, thereby impacting the overall sleep architecture.

They suggested that interventions to decrease the pre-sleep alertness, such as relaxation techniques and mindfulness, may play a role in targeting sleep problems resulting from binge-watching.

Source: Clinical Sleep Medicine Journal

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