A recent study regarding watching TV focused on the viewing habits and sleep routines of approximately 423 participants with ages ranging from 18 and 25 years. It was found that binge watching or simply viewing a great number of episodes of a TV series in one sitting can have negative consequences on the individual’s sleeping pattern. However, a regular style of TV watching does not affect sleep as much as binge watching. The study was conducted by a doctoral researcher from the University of Leuven’s School of Mass Communication, Liese Exelmans, and was published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.
Among the 423 individuals who took part in the study, there were approximately 61.9% women. The participants had to complete an online survey regarding common TV viewing, the habits, binge watching, their sleep quality, assessment of insomnia and fatigue, as well as the assessment of arousal before falling asleep.
Later, the participants were asked to answer questionnaires that looked at their TV watching habits. It was discovered that 80.6% (341 participants) of the individuals were binge watchers, and approximately 20.2% of these binge-watched at least a few times each week, as well as 7% of the respondents were binge-watching almost every day over the previous month before taking the survey.
When the participants were questioned about the sleep pattern, the average reported approximately seven hours of sleep. When evaluating the quality of the sleep, 62.6% of the participants had poor sleep quality which was linked to binge-watching. However, the pre arousal before sleep was higher among binge watchers.
Liese Exelmans explains why the individual finds it difficult to fall asleep after a session of binge-watching by stating that if the person is engaged with the same content for hours, the brain stays alert and cannot stop thinking about what would happen next. The increase in heart rate and alertness and the brain’s activity takes longer to cool and eventually fall asleep.
The study authors recommend that some measures must be taken in order to solve this issue. One of them would be alerting the viewer when the duration of watching becomes excessive, as well as the harm it causes.