A newly released study analyzed the effects of binge viewing series on the sleep quality and health of young adults. According to its results, this habit can lead to fatigue and more sleeping problems than usually registered. These issues include a poorer sleep quality, more symptoms and insomnia experiences, and a greater pre-sleep alertness, among others.
Binge Viewing Leads to a Lack of Sleep in More Ways Than One
The study was conducted by an international team of researchers. It included the participation of 423 young adults, 62 percent of which were women. Those involved were in between 18 to 25 years old, with a median age of 22. Among them, 74 percent were students.
The participants were questioned about their binge viewing habits. Some 80 percent of them identified themselves as binge watchers. Some 20.2 percent of them admitted to binge viewing at least several times a week over the previous months.
Those to identify themselves as binge watchers also reported having more trouble with their sleeping than the other participants. They reported experiencing more fatigue, and also presented more symptoms of insomnia. Binge watchers also had a poorer sleep quality, as they were also 98 percent more likely to have such problems when compared to non-binge viewers.
“We found that the more often young people binge-watch, the higher their cognitive pre-sleep arousal. That in turn negatively affected sleep quality, fatigue, and insomnia,” stated Liese Exelmans.
This is the lead author and principal investigator of the study and part of the University of Leuven, Belgium, School of Mass Communication Research.
Binge viewing was defined by the study as “watching multiple consecutive episodes of the same television show in one sitting on a screen, be it a television, laptop, computer or tablet.”
Some 52 percent of the study participants reported watching some three or four episodes in one sitting. On average, a binge-watching session in the study lasted a bit longer than three hours.
Study results are available in the August 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.
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