Study Links TV “Binge-Watching” to Sleep Issues

With the widespread and ever-growing use of streaming technology to enjoy our favorite shows, the act of “binge watching” — that is, the viewing of multiple consecutive episodes of a television show in a single sitting — has quickly become a shared cultural phenomenon. Streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu offer a plethora of great TV shows from around the world, and the ability to play them on demand. Settling in for the night with an episode of your favorite series can quickly turn into a marathon, as each episode pulls you deeper into the story.
According to an article recently published in Forbes (, this getting “pulled in” may be affecting your sleeping capabilities. It’s no secret that heavy electronic use before bed has an effect on sleep cycles, due in part to the blue wavelengths of electronic screens disrupting the brain’s natural production of melatonin – a hormone that helps regulate a healthy sleep pattern. However, according to the new study (published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, being engrossed in your favorite series right before bed might also be contributing psychologically to negative insomnia and poor sleep.
As part of the study, 420 young adults were asked to fill out a sleep survey measuring a number of variables, including quality of sleep, fatigue, insomnia, and cognitive arousal as well as the frequency of binge watching activities. Those who admitted to binge watching more frequently were also more likely to report insomnia, poor sleep, and a higher level of cognitive arousal (feeling energized or wide awake even late at night). The study found that almost all of the depravation of sleep quality could be explained by higher levels of cognitive arousal, implying a psychological element separate from the physical response to light stimuli.
Sleep is a fundamental part of good health, a fact which we can not avoid. It’s important to not only get sleep, but good, restorative sleep to function with the energy to take on each day. Although we all love catching up on our favorite shows, monitoring your pre-bed TV streaming may be important for your health.