How to Make Binge Watching TV More Enjoyable
We’ve all been there: it’s eleven PM on a work night, but you’re neck deep in one of your favorite Netflix shows. There’s a total cliffhanger, and you’re wrapped up in what happens, despite the fact that you should be snoozing on a comfortable bed. You turn on another episode, but then totally feel it in the morning, waking up groggy, ill-tempered, and generally pretty grouchy.
It’s probably not surprising, but binge watching shows right before bed doesn’t get your mind to sleep. A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine shows this. There’s a scientific reason why you might have trouble catching some shut eye after watching a bunch of your favorite shows. Binge watching creates a state of awareness that psychologists called, “arousal.” This means that it is turning on receptors that are linked with excitement and anxiety. These two feelings aren’t exactly conducive to good sleep in a comfortable bed.
The Trend Toward Bingeing in A Comfortable Bed
Binge watching television is a relatively new phenomenon. It started with the advent of online streaming platforms around the late 2000s. As such, there isn’t a ton of research based evidence. How do you think watching your shows can cause you grief?
Those who binge-watched claimed more insomnia had a poorer sleep quality in general. They were the victims of daytime fatigue. The results were almost entirely explained by greater cognitive arousal at night, that feeling of supreme excitement at the end of a show, in those who binge-watched, rather than physiological arousal. It turns out that a comfortable bed works best when you sleep on it.
The good news is there are a ton of things you can do on a comfortable bed that won’t harm your sleep schedule the way binge watching might, but it’s also important to realize this: bingeing sometimes is OK. It’s normal and natural to want to watch your favorite shows, and sometimes self-care means that it’s OK to watch those shows in a comfortable bed. Just try not to make it an everyday thing.
Instead, try reading a book. The absence of a backlit screen is a huge component. You need to let your body fall into its natural sleep cycle. The parts of your brain that you’re using are meditative and good to use before falling asleep. Plus, a great book can leave you on the edge of your seat just as well as your favorite show. And a double bonus for the discerning media consumer. It’s also fun to tell people “it’s not as good as the book.” So there you have it, try a NECTAR and a book. Two great ideas that work great together.