And it’s wrecking your sleep habits too
Binge watching TV is a deadly habit.
Idly watching your favorite shows for hours has been linked to an increased risk of dying from inflammatory diseases like Alzheimer’s and diabetes, according to a recent Australian study.
Each added hour per day of watching TV was associated with a 12% increased risk of death, according to the journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, which studied more than 8,900 adults. Those who spent more than four hours a day binge watching were at the greatest risk for diseases like kidney disease and asthma.
The study further proves that sitting around for long periods of time is the biggest risk factor. Researchers at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute asked adult participants about their TV consumption habits between 1999 and 2000, long before the rise of Netflix and binge watching. The participants were grouped into three categories: less than two hours; more than two hours but less than four; and more than four hours. At the 12-year follow-up, 909 people had died with 130 inflammatory related deaths — and researchers found a 54% higher risk of inflammatory-related death in those who watched between two to four hours of TV per day.
“People should be attempting to sit less and move more throughout their day because we do believe there are health benefits,” Dr. Megan Grace, lead investigator at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, said.
Consulting firm Deloitte published data earlier this year revealing that 90% of millennials have confessed to binge-watching, “an average of six episodes, or five hours of content,” in one sitting. And in 2015, Americans spent 42.5 billion hours watching streamed content, according to Time Magazine.
Binge watching TV shows may also be detrimental to your sleep, according to another study by the University of Michigan and Leuven School for Mass Communication Research in Belgium.
Participants in the study got an average of seven hours and 37 minutes of sleep per night, but those who didn’t binge-watch got better quality of sleep than those who did. Binge-watchers more frequently felt fatigued.
Turns out there’s a link between bingeing on shows that get your heart rate up, consume your concentration, and increase “cognitive arousal,” or stimulation in the brain. Heightened brain activity leads to more trouble sleeping, research suggests — so perhaps watch an intense episode of “Walking Dead” or “Game of Thrones” during the day instead.
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