If “Game of Thrones” or any other series has you hooked and binge watching episode after episode, researchers say your sleep might suffer.
Liese Exelmans, a doctoral researcher at the University of Leuven’s School of Mass Communication Research in Leuven, Belgium, studied the TV viewing habits and sleep patterns of 423 young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.
Of all the participants, 80.6% reported binge watching a show. About a fifth had watched multiple episodes of a show in one sitting a few times a week in the month before the survey, and 7% of the binge watchers were doing it every day in the month before.
Most reported getting an average of 7 ½ hours of sleep a night. But the quality of sleep suffered among binge watchers. A little more than 32% reported poor sleep quality, noting they felt tired and less rested the next day, despite getting enough hours of rest. Presleep arousal also was higher in binge watchers.
Watching a variety of TV shows did not have the same effect on sleep, Exelmans found. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, notes that being “engaged with the same content for hours on end” is what leads to poor sleep. The brain stays alert, wondering what happens next and can’t stop thinking about the show. “This increases alertness and heart rate and the brain takes longer to cool and finally fall asleep,” according to an Aug. 20 article on News-Medical.net.