I was on the London Underground Tube the other day, and saw this billboard advert encouraging "binge watching" TV box sets :
Of course, I first smiled thinking of the many nights I spent watching TV box sets on Netflix or Amazon Prime... House of Cards... Mad Men... The Killing... Transparent... you name it. So good! Even though, I'd promise myself this would be the last one I'd watch, and I should DEFINITELY go to sleep right after this one... Somehow... the "next episode" countdown timer was more powerful than my wrist watch which reliably said 1am... then 2am.. then 3am... and so on... all the way until 8am or even later... Before I knew it it was daylight... Birds were chirping... and while my series addiction was satisfied, my body's circadian rhythm was completely affected as I had missed an entire night's sleep. Now I would then go to sleep for a few hours in the morning, yet I never would feel properly rested with an agitated brain and jetlagged body. Not to mention the carb-heavy snacks I couldn't help eating while watching. Ugh.
There is a good article from the British newspaper The Guardian worth reading about their own research on the topic. It says that about 85% of the respondents noticed advertisements or articles encouraging binge-watching. And the major highlight of their study is that self-identified binge-watchers were more likely to report higher stress, anxiety and depression.
It's hard to say whether binge-watching accentuates these mental health issues, or the other way around. But what's for sure is that 5 hours sleep might be enough for some.. or enough for some time... but the ongoing addiction TV binge watching creates cannot be good if it interferes with sleep. so I choose to STOP !!! or at least slow down massively ;-)
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