According to new research that looked at the TV viewing habits and sleep histories of 423 persons between ages of 18 and 25 years, binge watching or consuming multiple episodes of a TV series at one sitting can significantly affect sleep.
For the objective of the study, the researchers defined binge-watching as "watching multiple consecutive episodes of the same television show in one sitting on a screen, whether it be a television, laptop, computer or tablet".
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.
Further analysis found that binge-watchers had a 98% higher likelihood of having poor sleep quality compared with those who did not consider themselves to be a binge-watcher. The questions used were about their binge-watching habits and about some behavioral variables they have: sleep-related problems or pre-seep cognitive arousal.
Most of participants (81 percent) reported that they had binge-watched.
Those who claimed to be binge-watchers felt more tired, said they had lower quality of sleep and felt more alert prior to actually falling asleep.
"Bingeable TV shows have plots that keep the viewer tied to the screen", explains Exelmans. They completed an online survey assessing regular television viewing, binge-watching, sleep quality, fatigue, insomnia, and pre-sleep alertness.
"These students have flexible daytime schedules". "We think [viewers] become intensely involved with the content, and may keep thinking about it when they want to go to sleep".
Overall, men binge-watched significantly less than women - however, when they did engage in binge-watching, their sessions were almost twice as long as those identified among women. "[Bingewatching] prolongs sleep onset or, in other words, requires a longer period to "cool down" before going to sleep, thus affecting sleep overall". This should help them calm down and gradually improve their sleep quality. 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.
"Our study signals that binge viewing is prevalent in young adults and that it may be harmful to their sleep", co-author Jan Van den Bulck, U-M professor of communication studies, said in a statement. This can lead to poor sleep quality after binge-viewing, the researchers said.