Bedtime Binge-Watching Is (Really) Not Helping You Sleep

Drifting off to the perpetual rumble of your favorite TV show is so easy, and for some, very comforting. Binge-watching has become a fixture in the bedtime routine of many sleepers, but a new study indicates that this is one habit that needs breaking.

The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine recently published a study suggesting that folks who let the continuous stream of TV episodes lull them to sleep are much less likely to get the restful slumber their bodies need. Now, for you sleepers who aren’t familiar with the term “binge-watch,” let me give you an example. Picture it: it’s 9:30 pm, your day is done, and you’re ready to cue up your go-to TV show. Thanks to Netflix, you have 9 seasons and 75 episodes at your disposal. So, you watch as many as you possibly can, prying your eyes open until you finally succumb to the sandman. Sound familiar now?

Well, 423 adults ranging in age from 18-25 years old took a survey to assess the affects this habit might have on their sleep quality, and the results overwhelmingly indicated that the more you binge-watch, the poorer your quality of sleep will be. Researchers noted that binge-watchers are 98% more likely to report increased fatigue, symptoms of insomnia, and frequent sleep arousals — yikes.

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Okay. So, now we know that watching 24 consecutive episodes of Game of Thrones before bed is not practicing good sleep hygiene — but what’s to be done? Old habits may die hard, but there are all kinds of healthy bedtime practices that could help you foster a more balanced nightly routine.

The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine suggests that part of the reason binge-watching impacts sleep so negatively is because the viewer is so anxious to know what happens next. I mean, how are you expected to fall asleep when you don’t even know if the good guy makes it out alive? Instead of amping yourself up before bed, try calming yourself down. Light a lavender candle, make your bed nice and cozy, stretch your limbs, and feel relaxed. Sleepers who feel that they need at least some entertainment before bed could try some light reading before they nod off.

Switching up your bedtime routine might be a little rocky at first, but remember: the better you sleep at night, the better you’ll perform the next day!

Sarah Riccio

Sarah is the former senior writer and bedding expert at Sleepopolis. She received her degree in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College and spends her free time doing stand-up, making pasta, and hanging with her cats.

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