“Netflix and chill” is perhaps the most commonly used sentence worldwide nowadays. People look forward to the weekends where they can put everything aside and just jump into the uninterrupted viewing of their favourite tv shows.
Binge watching is the new trend that is quickly catching on. Binge watching is defined as watching a show uninterrupted for a long period of time. It is said as watching 6 episodes or more of a tv show at one go.
Binge watching is nothing new. Entertainment channels often run weekend marathons of famous tv shows but its indulgence has suddenly gone up in that past few years. Most people think it is because we live in such a hectic life that we crave for a break from the outside world which is exactly what binge watch provides. Others think that living such fast-paced, short-interaction life makes us crave for a longer storytelling narrative.
But what if I told you that this binge-watching habit of yours was doing more than just catching up on all the episodes of “GOT”? That it has more ramifications on your health than you thought?
Most people after a whole weekend of binge-watching are likely to say things like “I hardly slept for 2 hours in the past days. But hey! At least I finished this tv show for the 5th time”. We have become so desensitized to lack of sleep that we might not find anything wrong with that sentence but not be sleeping or hardly be sleeping has a serious impact on your health!!
Not only does it impact your cognitive ability, but it also makes it hard to focus and makes you more prone to stress and diseases. Not to mention the whole logic behind weekends being a recharger is defeated.
People who binge-watch are more likely to be depressed and anxious. There is often a direct link between lack of sleep and mental ill-health. People who binge-watch are likely to isolate themselves unless they binge watch with a huge group of people. Even then this activity isolates them from the outside world.
Binge watching is a huge factor in the ever-increasing obesity factor among people. Binge watching makes it more likely for people to opt for junk food or fast food. Not only that, because people watch the episodes uninterrupted, they are less likely to exercise or go for a walk or get any other activity in.
It has been proven that binge-watching doubles the risk of premature death. This is the combined effect of sleep deprivation, isolation and a sedentary lifestyle. All three push your body to the limit and test its immunity and tolerance.
A recent study has shown that people who binge-watch have a six-times higher risk of developing a pulmonary embolism. The sedentary lifestyle often begins with a blood clot formed in the veins of the legs. With time it is travel to your brain or lungs and even causes death!!
Addiction is not just bad in case of drugs and smoking. It is quite easy to become addicted to binge-watching. When watching a tv show you really like, our brain produces dopamine which leads to a drug-like high feeling. It is a signal to the body that it should continue doing it. In fact, the processes that go on in our brain while binge-watching is the same as when someone does heroin or coke.
So yes, it is possible to become addicted to binge-watching. And just like any other addiction its and can lead to serious health repercussions.
Watching too much tv with little breaks is bound to exhaust your eyes. Not resting your eyes enough can cause various eye problems like fatigue, poor eyesight, redness, irritation, etc.
While an occasional binge-watch with your friends/family might be a good excuse to take a break from outside world and strengthen your bond, a daily dose of it could do more harm than good. Instead, look for other ways to have the same refreshed feeling like hiking or catching up with old friends or reading, etc.
Do yourself a favour and stick to the “no more than two” rule in one sitting. Your health will thank you.