LONDON, February 28, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --
- 1 in 3 people in the UK have skipped 2.5 or more hours of sleep due to binge-watching TV
- Almost 34% of people have experienced a feeling of emptiness after finishing a TV series with 1 in 5 feeling low or depressed and more than 1 in 10 people experiencing loneliness
- 18-24-year olds are 3 times more likely to be negatively affected by a series finishing than over 55s
- Leading experts share 5 ways to kick the habit and lift yourself up from post-binge blues
A new survey from Patient.info has revealed the damaging effects that binge-watching TV can have on viewers' mental health and sleep habits.
More than half of the 2,000 survey respondents admitted to having experienced mental health issues brought on by the end of a TV series, with those aged between 18-24 five times more likely to feel lonely, three times more likely to feel depressed, and twice as likely to feel empty, anxious or sleepless, when compared to those aged 55 and over.
Three quarters of respondents across all age groups admitted to skipping sleep in favour of another episode with 1 in 10 claiming to have missed four or more hours sleep to TV.
Ofcom's recent report confirmed that eight in ten adults in the UK - or 40 million people - use catch-up technology to binge-watch multiple TV episodes back-to-back.[i] But with spring on the horizon and the days growing longer, now may be the perfect time to hit the re-set button and spring-clean your TV habits.
"These findings highlight some very worrying consequences of binge-watching TV, particularly within the younger generation", commented Dr. Sarah Jarvis, GP and Clinical Director of Patient.info. "We have long been aware of the physical effects that come along with being a couch potato, but we should also be conscious that if we don't moderate our TV-watching habits it can also be highly detrimental to our, and particularly our children's, mental wellbeing."
Lisa Artis from The Sleep Council said: "While it may seem harmless to veg out in front of the TV, excessive screen time has an impact on sleep. It affects the time it takes to get to sleep - as the bright light disrupts the body's rhythms. And while light might be the main issue, often the content may have an impact on sleep too. Violence, gore or suspense may leave you feeling anxious and could contribute to tossing and turning."
Here are five tips on how to beat the box set blues:
1. Talk to someone
Cal Strode from the Mental Health Foundation says: When we're feeling low we're often drawn to things that can make us feel worse, such as unhealthy fast foods or long periods of inactivity 'binge watching' TV. If you find yourself stuck in this kind of cycle, speaking to someone about what you're going through is the first step in breaking it. Whether you're struggling with feelings of emptiness, depression or anxiety, reaching out to your GP, a friend or family member is a crucial first step on the road to recovery.
Exercise is important for the mind as well as the body: regular exercise has been proven to reduce stress, ward off anxiety and depression, boost sleep and increase overall energy. Even if it's a just a brisk walk, it's important to get the blood pumping and will help keep you away from the boxset. Research shows that getting into an outdoor space can improve mental health, boost self-esteem, improve physical health, and reduce social isolation. As the days get longer and the evenings warmer, a visit to the park or a walk with the dog are great ways to help reducing feelings of isolation when alone watching TV. But don't exercise too close to bed, as you need time to wind down.
3. Eat well
Dr. Sarah Jarvis suggests eating a balanced and healthy diet plentiful in fresh fruits and vegetables to help life your mood. "Consuming stimulants like sugar, caffeine and alcohol, on the other hand (all things that might go perfectly with an episode of Game of Thrones) will increase feelings of stress and anxiety, and foods high in fat and carbohydrates can cause a crash in blood sugar, leaving you feeling sluggish and lethargic. Moreover, spending time cooking a nice meal is a great way to distract you from flicking through Netflix searching for that next series."
4. Watch in moderation
If you really can't miss out on the latest episode, Dr. Neil Stanley, an independent sleep expert says that reducing your TV watching to one episode per night, every night is much better than watching ten back-to-back episodes. He says. "The streaming services make it difficult by leaving no gap between episodes, but why not just switch the TV off and spread it out? You can't compress sleep without paying the price."
5. Practice mindfulness
While it's easy to rush through life on auto-pilot, not really taking in our surroundings, becoming more mindful and 'in the moment' can help us better understand and appreciate ourselves and the world around us. You can find out more at https://patient.info/health/stress-management/mindfulness
For more information visit: https://patient.info/binge-watching-and-your-health. The clinical information provided to the general public by Patient.info is certified to meet NHS England's Information Standard.
NOTES TO EDITORS
At Patient.info, we all work towards one vision - to become everyone's favourite on-demand healthcare remedy. Patient.info aims to empower individuals to proactively manage their healthcare by providing trustworthy information, support and immediate digital healthcare solutions at every step of their journey.
For over 20 years, we have been supplying evidence-based health and wellbeing information to over 15 million monthly visitors across the globe and we are proud to be helping over 7 million UK based individuals take control of their healthcare with our integrated healthcare solutions across more than 55% and 75% of UK based GP practices and pharmacies.
About the survey
Survey of 2,000 UK adults carried out between 17/01/2018-23/01/2018 by OnePoll, on behalf of Patient.info.
Full survey data available upon request.
This information should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Patient Platform Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
i. Ofcom. Communications Market Report 2017. Available online at: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/105074/cmr-2017-uk.pdf last accessed February 2018