Binge-watching has become a normal viewing habit but latest figures from Ofcom reveal that around 10 million Britons have skipped sleep, or made themselves tired, because of binge-watching.
The temptation to stay up to find out what happens next is too much for some and the 16-24 age bracket are the worst culprits – with one in 10 admitting they binge daily.
It may seem harmless to veg out in front of the TV but excessive screen time has an impact on sleep. Research shows that it affects sleep latency (i.e. the time it takes to get to sleep) as the bright light disrupts the body’s circadian rhythms by suppressing the evening rise of melatonin. Did you know that exposure to even the weakest glow at night – for example, your TV’s standby button – can unconsciously play havoc with your body’s circadian rhythms?
While light is the main issue, often the content may have an impact on sleep too. Violence, gore or suspense may leave you feeling anxious and could contribute to tossing and turning.
Most of us need a good seven to eight hours of solid sleep a night to perform at our best. Just one bad night’s sleep affects our alertness and our ability to make good decisions, focus on tasks or manage a friendly mood. Long term sleep deprivation also has more far-reaching consequences: it’s been linked to a number of serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
Try to make sure you turn off the TV (and any other electronic devices) at least an hour before bed. Instead use the time to wind down properly. Have a bath, read a book, chat with your partner or even meditate or do some relaxation exercises.
Be sensible when it comes to your sleep – waiting 24 hours to watch the next episode of your favourite show won’t harm you, but skimping on your sleep will!