Why we should stop binge watching tv


Laneya Christian, Staff Writer

Although binge-watching has become the most popular way to consume content in one sitting, it does create problems for your health. For example it leads to mental health issues, serious physical health problems and socialization problems.  

Sites like Netflix, Hulu, etc. that release episodes all at once encourage you to stay up and watch it all play a huge factor in this common behavior. The allure of numbing the brain into an endless stream of content is powerful. Researchers have studied that it has become hazardous to try to binge-watch a new show in the first 24 hours. Going back to the sake of binge-watching TV damages our health by not spreading out the consumption over the week rather than all at once.

However, there are a number of reasons to believe that binge-watching negatively affects your mental health. Staying up to finish an episode can harm your biological and psychological factors for you to sleep.

It’s not only about the amount of sleep we get but the quality matters too. Many enjoy the drama, suspense and action of TV shows but these can increase your heart rate, blood pressure and adrenaline. When you decide to finally go to bed you may feel stressed, which is not conducive to sleep.

When you spend every hour watching TV you’re not doing anything else nor are you moving, which can affect you mentally and physically. While watching TV most of us get our favorite snacks to eat but eating a lot of snacks puts you at risk of obesity that increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease. 

Related to mental health, binge-watching can cause problems with your attention span, recalling memory and emotional regulation. Watching TV mainly entails getting absorbed into the show, which most do alone. If you are binge-watching with someone you don’t necessarily have a discussion or connect in a meaningful way.

In other words, binge-watching may be a symptom of loneliness but it also makes it less likely for you to receive an invitation to reach out to friends or leave the house. 

You may feel better after binge-watching a show, but it will inevitably end and you may feel a letdown. We get invested into the characters and meanings created by their storylines but when it’s over you’re faced with reality. 

Watching TV can be relaxing but only if it doesn’t stop you from taking care of your health and fulfilling social responsibilities. For example not being able to watch the next episode leads to stress and anxiety, too.

Needless to say these feelings of stress and anxiety with this behavior of addiction and isolation can lead to depression. Since it is addictive, you are most likely to push away the chance to socialize in person in your free time and instead, face the long-term consequences.

Though it is easy to slip into cycles of excessive watching, there are plenty of ways to not slip. Setting an alarm, instructing friends to not encourage Netflix binging together or simply turning the auto play feature off can all help.

I can’t lie and say that I haven’t binge-watched a few shows, but I’ve gotten better with limiting my amount of screen time. To kick my binge-watching habit I balanced it with the right meaning, I’ve haven’t let the show or movies become the focus of my life and I started to pick up new hobbies.