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Binge-Watching is Bad for Your Health—Here’s Why

Binge-watching refers to watching multiple episodes of a TV show, drama series, or movie in one sitting for an extended period. Netflix is one of the most commonly used online platforms for binge-watching. It plays one episode after another without the user’s input, encouraging people to continue watching more episodes in one sitting. This Netflix effect makes people want to consume as much content as possible.

Studies have revealed that binge-watching is becoming popular among all viewers, including millennials in the US. On average, 70% of viewers binge-watch at least five episodes of a series in one sitting, while 80% of millennials binge-watch at least six episodes. On the other hand, 55% of people in the UK watch more than 10 hours of TV a week.

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While it’s easy to get carried away, binge-watching can have a negative impact on you. Here’s how binge-watching can affect your physical and mental health.

Lack of Physical Activity

Binge-watching limits physical activity, which can adversely affect your health in the long run. A study suggested that watching more than 4 hours of TV can lead to a 50% higher risk of cardiovascular disease than watching TV for less than 2 hours a day.

It’s easy to get lost in TV shows and movies without wanting to move from your spot at all. Sitting in the same spot for several hours to binge-watch your favorite shows can also reduce respiratory activity. It can further lead to the development of heart disease and its risk factors, such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.

Unhealthy Diet

Binge-watching and unhealthy snacking go together. When someone is binge-watching, it is more likely for them to eat out of boredom than out of hunger. The snacking choice for this time usually includes ready-made items. The more people binge-watch, the more they engage in unhealthy eating. This coupled with a lack of physical activity can lead to health problems, such as weight gain and obesity.

Mindlessly watching TV can distract our mind from sending cues and letting us know when we are full. This can result in overeating. So, next time you decide to Netflix and ‘chew,’ be mindful of stopping when you’re full.

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Cognitive Issues

Spending hours in front of the TV can limit your ability to think, process, and take in new information. It can lead to difficulties in focusing and concentrating, especially for children.

Children addicted to binge-watching may find it difficult to sleep, which can affect their performance at school. It can diminish a child’s cognitive ability and impact their learning and growth.

Binge-watching can also have a negative impact on an adult’s brain and cognitive activity. A study proved that watching TV for more than 3.5 hours a day could lead to cognitive decline in older age. If you continuously do this without engaging in stimulating brain activities, you may experience a cognitive decline in the next six years.

Social Isolation

People who binge-watch tend to isolate themselves and feel more lonely. It limits the development of social skills and networks, leading to social isolation.

If you’re continuously binge-watching, it may cause you to lose the bonding time spent with friends and family. This can adversely impact your social skills, personality development, and mental health.

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Insomnia and Fatigue

Binge-watching can cause sleeping problems as individuals often delay their sleep to watch the next episode. However, sleep is essential as it plays a vital role in maintaining physical and mental health.

A study on binge-watchers suggested that binge-watching leads to a high level of alertness at night. It is because TV and laptop screens emit artificial blue light that signals the brain to suppress the sleep hormone melatonin. It causes binge-watchers to experience high levels of energy at night. However, this leads to lower energy levels and fatigue during the day as the body becomes too weak to function.

Therefore, binge-watching may lead to poor sleep quality, fatigue, loss of productivity, and insomnia.

Behavioral Addiction

Binge-watching is a form of behavioral addiction. It refers to the dependence on a particular behavior to operate. Like other addictions, such as gambling and video games, it can affect specific regions of the brain to trigger an addiction.

People addicted to binge-watching may experience mood disruptions if they are away from the TV. A study shows that binge-watching has dependence features resembling the neurological features found in addiction. It can affect daily activities, and commitments like an addiction does.

Back Problems

Binge-watching may be the reason for your persistent back pain. Sitting in the same place for a prolonged period may lead to backache that you may not notice in the first few days. However, it will affect your ability to perform daily tasks eventually. Moreover, reclining for a long period can cause the spine to curve into a C-shape, leading to poor posture and tensed neck muscles.

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Eye Problems

Binge-watching can cause computer vision syndrome. It refers to the digital eye strain that may develop through staring at the screen for too long. The symptoms of digital eye strain include dryness, itchiness, and blurry vision, which can contribute to headaches and migraines.

Moreover, artificial blue light from computer screens can cause macular degeneration. It can increase with age and may eventually lead to blindness. To limit the emission of artificial blue light, you can use a blue light filter for computer screens or anti-blue light glasses.

Blood Clots

It may be surprising to hear, but binge-watching can increase the risk for deep-vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot in the leg that can move to other parts of the body, such as the heart or lungs. Research suggests that sitting for long periods can increase the risk of developing a blood clot by up to 70% compared to those who do not watch TV at all.

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Mental Health Issues

Binge-watching might cheer you up for a little while, but it can become harmful in the long run. Binge-watchers are likely to experience anxiety, depression, and low level of self-control. A study suggests that binge-watching to relieve stress can lead to guilt and regret. These can generate feelings of failure that lead to anxious and depressive thoughts. Some other mental health problems that may occur include loneliness and stress.

Exposure to Artificial Blue Light

Prolonged screen time leads to excessive exposure to blue light, which is harmful to our eyes and body. It is associated with increased headaches, eye damage, and even the risk of developing breast cancer. Moreover, children are twice more likely to be affected by the harmful effects of blue light than adults.

Breaking The Habit

To protect your physical and mental health, here are a few tips you can try to break the habit of binge-watching.

  • Don’t listen to Netflix. When Netflix asks you to continue watching, make sure you don’t fall for it. Limit your screen time and the number of episodes, such as one episode each day. Once you have watched it, close your laptop or TV immediately before you get tempted to continue.
  • Create a balance between screen time and physical activities. Engage yourself in physical games, exercises, reading, or spending time with others.
  • Make yourself a healthy snack. Snacking on healthy food during screen time can distract you from unhealthy snacks. Choose greens over salty food items.
  • Avoid screen time before bed. Watching TV before bed can expose your eyes to artificial blue light, which can signal your brain to become alert. It may lead to disruption in the sleep cycle.
  • Fix your posture. Ensure you’re not sitting in a bad posture while watching the TV. Be mindful of your posture and stretch your back and legs once in a while. Can Help You Minimize The Harmful Effects of Binge-Watching

Binge-watching for hours equals blue light exposure for hours. MyBlueProtector‘s blue light filters for laptop screens or anti-blue light protectors for computers can help block the blue light from entering your eyes and causing problems like eye strain, insomnia, and fatigue. Our anti-blue light glasses for men, women, and kids can limit the harmful effects of long screen time and binge-watching.

Shop online for our blue light filters and screen protectors for ultimate protection from artificial blue light. Get free delivery on orders over $62.99.

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