There is honestly nothing quite as satisfying as spending the night, or even an entire weekend, sitting back, chilling out and binge-watching a new television series on Netflix. While watching reruns or entire seasons of your favourite shows at the end of a long day or week can offer escapism from the monotony of working life, there is a downside to this innocuous habit that goes beyond the sleepless nights and sluggish days.
It could increase your risk of a premature death
According to a research conducted in Japan, prolonged television watching can actually shorten your lifespan because it increases your risk of death from pulmonary embolism. The Japanese Collaborative Cohort Study which was conducted in 45 regions of Japan between 1988 and 1990 involving 110,585 participants aged between 40 to 79 years old found that people who watch between 2.5 to 4.9 hours of television a day are 70 per cent more likely to suffer from pulmonary embolism.
Pulmonary embolism is the condition that arises when there is a sudden blockage of the major blood vessel in the lungs, usually by a blood clot. While these blood clots are usually small and non-fatal, they can cause damage to the lungs. If the clot is big enough, it can even stop blood from flowing to the lungs, which can eventually lead to death.
It causes you to overeat
Binge-watching often leads to mindless eating and snacking. Researchers from the University of Liverpool discovered that people who ate while they were distracted by the television, not only ate more (as much as 25 per cent) at the time but also later in the day.
The research that was published in The American Journal of Clinic Nutrition also suggests that when we are distracted, we are less likely to remember how much we actually ate, causing us to consume more food than necessary.
It could signal deeper mental health issues
A recent survey published in the Journey of Advertising Research that was conducted on 316 participants aged between 18 to 29 years old found a correlation between unhappiness and binge-watching.
According to the results, the more depressed and lonely the participants were, the more likely they were to binge-watch shows. Binge-watching offers these participants a temporary escape from their loneliness and unhappiness because of the rush of endorphins (morphine-like feel good brain chemicals) they get from this addictive, habit-forming activity, making it difficult and almost impossible to turn the television off.
Don’t overdo it
Like most things in life, moderation is key. You don’t have to forgo your movie marathon night or date night, just make sure you get up every 15 minutes or so to do some stretching so you don’t wind up getting caught up in binge-watching.
Another way to break the binge is by watching the first 20 minutes of the next episode. That way, you will be able to find out how things ended for the previous episode so you won’t get too engrossed in the next storyline that you can’t turn off the tube.
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