Netflix and chill, anyone?
Most of us love the idea of settling in after work or during the weekend with our favorite show playing back-to-back episodes all cuddled up without another care in the world. After all almost two thirds of Americans regularly spend more than a few hours watching a single TV show at one time.
But before you say yes to another TV series binge session, there are a few things you should probably consider, because as nice as it sounds, it may not exactly be the right thing to do! Here are 8 reasons why binge watching a TV show isn’t as fun as it seems:
1. What Sleep?
We know you know what we’re talking about. You’ve most certainly been in the situation where you look at the clock and you know you should be in bed, but you think “well… just one more episode isn’t going to hurt,” and I bet you that 40 minutes later you’re thinking the exact same thing!
So as you can imagine, regular binge-watching can lead to poor sleeping habits, insomnia, fatigue, etc. One of the reasons for the “just one more” phenomenon is that TV shows that are binge-watch-worthy often contain compelling plots that stimulate our brains. While that may sound like a good thing, when its late at night and you’re brain needs to be powering down, it’s definitely not!
Researcher Liese Exelmans of the University of Michigan was a part of a study that studied binge-watching and its effects. She said “Our research suggests that binge viewing could be one of the risk factors (for poor sleep).”
2. It is Less Enjoyable
You might be thinking “that’s bull, if I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t be watching it!” But actual research has found it to be the opposite. A study at the University of Melbourne found that when you watch a show continuously back-to-back, you’re more likely to get bored, which is what makes you misunderstand certain parts and forget large chunks of the show easily.
Just think about the last show you binge-watched, and then compare it to your memory of a show you watch once a week. Do you see what we mean?
3. Junk Food Galore
When you think of settling in to binge-watch a show, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? Oooh, popcorn? Order some ooey-gooey cheesy pizza? Or maybe you’re the candy-lover? Whatever it is, we guarantee you’re thinking about all the junk food you can gorge on while “chilling” in front of the TV.
And we bet exercise is the last thing on your mind. These poor eating habits coupled with inadequate physical activity can lead to many heath problems like diseases linked to unhealthy eating, obesity, and diseases linked to obesity.
4. Lose Your Ability To Walk?!
A sedentary lifestyle can be really damaging to your health. Although this applies to too much time spent in an office chair or reading books as well, binge-watching is much more notorious. One 2017 study found that older adults who watch TV for long period of time had difficulty walking after 10 years, and some even lost the ability to walk completely!
Loretta DiPietro, an epidemiologist at the George Washington University who was the lead researcher in this study told NPR that one way to minimize this effect is by making sure you move every half hour during TV-marathons.
5. Kills Brain Cells
Its true, what our mothers used to say; too much TV really does make you dumber! A study conducted in 2016 found that those who watched more than three hours of TV a day (which is about the length of most binge-sessions) performed poorly in cognitive tests. What’s even more worrying is that when binge-watching and reduced physical activity were combined, the results were twice as bad!
6. Mental & Social Problems
We’re not saying that binge-watching leads to mental issues, but a University of Texas study did find those with depression and anxiety were far more likely to indulge in TV marathons in attempt to drown their sorrows. We suppose that’s far better than other avenues of addiction, but this leads to loneliness and less sociability. And this can take you farther down the rabbit hole and towards those other, more serious addictions.
7. It Takes Over Your Life
The same University of Texas study that revealed the effects of binge-watching on mental health also found that it leads to poor self-regulation. This means that even though you know watching more and more TV will cause you to lose sleep, eat more junk food, and neglect your responsibilities – you just can’t stop!
The author of the study, Yoon-Hi Sung, had this to say about it: “When binge-watching becomes rampant, viewers may start to neglect their work and their relationships with others. Even though people know they should not, they have difficulty resisting the desire to watch episodes continuously.”
8. You’ll Die Early
Seriously, we aren’t kidding!
A study conducted by Australian researchers in 2017 has actually found that binge-watching increses the risk of diseases and early death. It found that you are 12% more likely to die in relation to inflammation. Another study conducted in 2014 backs these findings, adding that more than 3-4 hours of TV a day could even double your risk of premature risk – from any cause. Yikes! Think about that the next time you settle in for a Game of Thrones marathon!