With streaming services and video on demand, it’s never been easier to watch what you want, when you want. Whether you just need a break or want to get up to speed on the show everyone’s been talking about for the last two (or three or four) seasons, catching up on the latest shows can have substantial impacts on your sleep. There are steps you can take to mitigate the following sleep-disrupting effects of binge watching.
1. Get up regularly.
Sedentary behavior, including sitting for too long, increases your risk of insomnia and sleep disturbance, according to research from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. To break up long stretches of sitting, watch your favorite show while standing up, exercising or even doing chores. Don’t skip all the commercials: Use them as a cue to get up and move.
2. Block blue light.
Electronics emit short-wave blue light which affects your body’s production of melatonin, the chemical that controls your body’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep, reports the Harvard Health Letter. For sleep-friendly viewing, set blue light filters on your electronics or download apps that do the same.
3. Resist the urge to binge-snack.
Tasty treats can exacerbate issues like heartburn, a common digestive issue. Heartburn, in turn, contributes to insomnia and restless leg syndrome. You also may eat later than you normally do, which interferes with your sleep cycle. To keep from indulging too much, keep healthier, less binge-worthy snacks on hand, like carrots or celery sticks. And be sure to stop eating at least two hours before you plan on going to bed. This gives your body time to digest the food, preventing heartburn and insomnia.