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Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Dr Angelica L Dumapit on August 18, 2022

How Does Binge Watching Effect Your Health?

Binge watching can lead to unhealthy habits that negatively impact your weight, skin, heart, and digestion. These tips can help you make watching TV a healthier activity.

Binge watching min scaled

Binge watching is defined as watching between two and six episodes of a TV show in one sitting. Have you done this recently? If so, you’re not entirely to blame.

In 2013, Netflix made it possible for viewers to watch as many episodes of a TV show as they want. This is different from traditional TV, which requires you to wait one week between episodes.

Additionally, more than 70% of Americans state that they lose control over how many episodes they watch when they are alone.

However, binge watching is linked to serious health effects that may negatively affect your productivity, weight, and even your heart. These side effects may be worse if you’re staying up late and eating unhealthy snacks while watching TV.

In this guide, we’ll explain why you may want to cut back on binge watching, and how to make the experience healthier when you do watch TV.

Health Dangers Of Binge Watching TV

Binge watching TV can lead to a sedentary lifestyle that increases risks factors for heart disease.

When you sacrifice regular sleeping hours to watch multiple episodes of the latest drama, your body will face the consequences of staying up all night. You might be tearing up from the emotions of your favorite character dying, but your eyes will end up being dry and uncomfortable from late nights.

Other health risks include: 

Cardiovascular diseases 

There is a strong relationship between sleep deprivation and heart health. When you sleep, your blood pressure drops. This is why those who lack sleep are more likely to develop hypertension, which is a risk factor for heart-related diseases.

Moreover, having poor sleep quality has been shown to induce atherosclerosis, a heart condition where plaque build-up in the arteries can obstruct the blood flow and could be fatal. 

Weight gain and digestive issues 

If you‘re staying up late, chances are you’re going to be snacking. Consuming food during what should be your sleeping time is unhealthy behavior. It is also the reason why staying up late could lead to a higher body mass index (BMI) and risk of obesity.

Skin problems 

Developing eye bags and dark undereye circles are just one of the many skin-related problems that would arise if you’re sleep-deprived.

Many studies have found that sleep affects the immune system, which in turn, influences collagen production.

Reduced sleep time is thought to bring about a break in skin barrier function and mucous membranes so a lack of sleep can impair your skin’s integrity. 

Excess Heat 

From Traditional Chinese Medicine’s (TCM) point of view, too much binge-watching can deplete the yin and cause excessive yang. In TCM, yang relates to the hot or warm aspect of qi.

An abundance of yang in the body results in increased Heatiness. This condition will manifest in symptoms such as extreme thirst, a feeling of dryness or bitterness in the mouth, ulcers, and an irritated throat

Tips For Staying Healthy While Binge-Watching

There are some things that you can do for your health if you’re a binge-watching enthusiast: 

Set a curfew 

TCM believes that we should be awake and asleep according to our meridian clock. According to this, our ideal bedtime is 11 pm.

Staying up past 11 pm prevents the regeneration of Liver yin and blood. Likewise, European Health Journal states that a person should go to bed around 10 to 11 pm nightly to keep their heart healthy.

Set a curfew for yourself and plan your binge-watching time carefully. If it helps, try setting an alarm on your phone to remind you when it’s time to stop watching TV and go to bed.

Consume healthy snacks and supplements 

Instead of drinking carbonated beverages and reaching for fried chicken at midnight, try something healthier. For beverages, you can opt for herbal teas.

American ginseng tea can replenish yin that you might lose while staying up late. It also boosts your mind and immune system, giving you the energy to stay up without the caffeine crash.

Furthermore, teas like chrysanthemum and peppermint can clear the Heat in the body and the mind. You can prepare this easily using four to five pieces of chrysanthemum flowers and five to ten peppermint leaves in a cup of hot water. Leave it covered for five to ten minutes and it’s ready to drink.

If you feel the need to snack, avoid fried, oily and salty snacks. Fresh fruit, for example, would be a healthier option.

Acupressure 

Acupressure can be done on your own and the best thing is, you don’t even have to take your eyes off your screen to do it. You can massage these six easily reached acupoints to relieve tension:

  • San Yin Jiao (SP6)
  • Tai Chong (LV3)
  • Zu San Li (ST36)
  • Bai Hui (DU20)
  • Tai Yang (EX-HN5)
  • Feng Chi (GB20)

Since most forms of entertainment were limited during the pandemic, it’s no wonder that more people relied on binge-watching shows on Netflix and other streaming services to relax. However, you should know when it’s time to hit pause and practice self-discipline when necessary. 

If you need additional help falling asleep at night, consider an herbal sleep formula. This can help you adopt a bedtime routine and set your internal clock so your body knows when it’s time to sleep.

This is an adaptation of an article, “Keep An Eye On The Ball & Your Health – This World Cup,” which first appeared on Eu Yan Sang website

References

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