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The Dangers of Binge Watching

We are all guilty of the occasional (or frequent) Netflix binge. Often times, it happens without warning. We watch the first episode of a series, next thing we know we are spending countless hours watching every season. Usually when I’m binging on Netflix, I find it difficult to get anything else done—and I know, I’m not alone. Binge watching is a primary contributor to the procrastination epidemic that’s sweeping today’s youth. The transition into  fall and winter brings with it a cold front, and the ever creeping desire to stay inside and stay warm. It is in these approaching months that the dangers of  binge watching intensify a thousand fold. 

I love Netflix as much as the next person, maybe even more than the next person. However, I will reveal to you some of the negative side effects of this beloved platform and the habitual binge watching it so often evokes. As viewers lie awake binging “Stranger Things” until the late hours of the night, they are more susceptible to serious medical problems, both long and short term.

Firstly, there are negative side effects associated with the lack of sleep.  We all know how important sleep is for our physical and mental health. Without an adequate amount of sleep, we tend to see a decline in cognitive abilities, as well as our mood. But the risks don’t stop at sleep deprivation. A recent study from the Journal of the American Heart Association states, “adults who watched more than three hours of TV a day doubled their risk of premature death compared to those who watched less.” They go on to explain how sitting for long periods of time increases your risk of health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, even if you exercise regularly.

With such serious health concerns, it easy to become overwhelmed, and even afraid of a Netflix binge; but fear not, for I have provided you with some tips for healthy binging habits and self-control exercises below.    

  • Try not to get too comfortable. It’s easy to use the excuse “I’m too comfy to move right now.”
  • Set an episode limit before watching every night. This way you won’t get caught up in a series watching endless episodes at all hours of the night. 
  • Turn off autoplay. This will decrease the temptation to continue watching. Click here for directions on how to disable autoplay on your device. 
  • Set a sleep timer on your television. This way your TV will automatically turn off after a certain amount of time. Resist the urge to turn it back on!
  • Eat Healthy snacks when binging. This way you will feel less guilty about laying in  bed all day watching.

But, if temptation gets the best of you here are a few of the series currently trending:

  • Stranger Things
  • Breaking Bad
  • Orange is the New Black
  • Mindhunter
  • Atypical
  • Master of None
  • Narcos

The key to successfully managing the many vices in life is moderation and self control. While this often easier said than done, taking small steps toward healthier habits is an easier and more realistic approach to tackling a difficult problem. Netflix is a great way to unwind and de-stress after a long day. Nevertheless, binging viewers should be made aware of some the negative side effects associated with spending long sessions with their favorite series. Being proactive and informed is a good remedy to help prevent many of the mental and physical risks bound to binge watching.

Are you still watching?

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