New research shows that binge-watching television can adversely affect your health. Binge-viewing involves excessive watching of back-to-back TV shows in a single sitting. It has become prevalent across the world with the advent of online streaming and downloading services. Researchers from the University of Michigan in the USA and the Leuven School for Mass Communication Research in Belgium surveyed 423 people aged 18-25 on their TV-viewing habits. Their research found that binge-viewing greatly interrupted sleep patterns. Co-author Professor Jan Van den Bulck said: "Our study signals that binge-viewing is prevalent in young adults and that it may be harmful to their sleep."
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The researchers asked participants about their sleep quality, levels of fatigue and prevalence of insomnia. They also enquired about their frequency of binge-watching programs on televisions, laptops and desktop computers. Over 80 per cent of the participants reported binge-watching, with 20 per cent doing so several times a week. Binge-watchers are 98 per cent more likely to experience poor sleep quality. A researcher said: "Bingeable TV shows have plots that keep the viewer tied to the screen. We think they become intensely involved with the content and may keep thinking about it when they want to go to sleep." She said this caused people problems when trying to sleep.