Washington D.C.: Binge-watching may be fun, but it comes at a price, according to a recent study.
The study, which is the first to link binge-watching in young adults with poorer sleep quality, more fatigue and increased insomnia, suggested that the mechanism explaining this relationship is increased cognitive alertness resulting from binge-watching.
Results show that more than 80 percent of young adults identified themselves as a binge-watcher, with 20.2 percent of them binge-watching at least a few times a week in the previous month. Those who identified as a binge-watcher reported more fatigue, more symptoms of insomnia, poorer sleep quality and greater alertness prior to going to sleep.
Further analysis found that binge-watchers had a 98 percent higher likelihood of having poor sleep quality compared with those who did not consider themselves to be a binge-watcher.
Lead author Liese Exelmans from the School for Mass Communication Research at the University of Leuven in Belgium noted, “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.”
The study involved 423 young adults who were 18 to 25 years old, with an average age of 22 years. Sixty-two percent of participants were women and 74 percent were students. They completed an online survey assessing regular television viewing, binge-watching, sleep quality, fatigue, insomnia, and pre-sleep alertness.
The results are published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.