Waiting for the next season release of your favorite TV series is exciting, especially when you know you’ll have access to all the episodes. Binge-watching, defined as the practice of watching multiple episodes of a television program in rapid succession, has become an increasingly popular way to consume media. While it may be tempting to watch multiple episodes of your favorite show, it is important to keep in mind the health risks that come along with it.
It’s no secret that extended periods of time spent in front of a screen has negative effects. In fact, long expanses of time spent watching TV heavily interfere with your sleep cycle and can cause a destructive loop of tiredness, drowsiness, and isolation. The excitement produced by the rapid succession of a show causes the brain to remain excited even when it’s time to go to sleep. As a result falling asleep is harder and the tiredness seeps into the next day. This creates a destructive cycle of grasping for one more episode while trading off vital hours of rest.
Interestingly, binge watching can have the parallel effects of addictive drugs. According to a study done by Northwestern Medicine, watching exciting television produces dopamine in the brain, which is the chemical that makes you feel good. Your brain wants to replicate more of this supposed “high” so watching more episodes is inevitable. This repeated action, day after day, creates a neurological pattern that is hard to break away from.
This “pseudo-addiction” can hurt not only your health but also your relationships. The neurological pattern and yearning to sit in front of a screen all day forces people to prioritize watching TV rather than going out and spending time with friends. This places a strain on relationships and an even larger strain on one’s health. While watching TV, someone may be inclined to watch longer episodes and increase their watch time in order to get the same satisfaction. While there is nothing wrong with awaiting a new television release, it is important to keep all the effects over watching can have on your health and your relationships.