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Like many other folks, you stay home to contain the coronavirus spread. All the while, you are watching much more Netflix, aren’t you?
This streaming service has boasted an all-time high in new global subscribers. On the one hand, plentiful streaming options are a perk during the time you follow the ‘stay-where-you-are’ orders. But on the other hand, there is something to have in mind when binge-watching.
According to Netflix’s tweet, sleep is its biggest enemy. Yet, in reality, it brings pretty disastrous consequences. No action is taken and your binge-watching will affect your immune system, concentration, and productivity, and lead to stress. We are not telling you to drop Netflix completely, yet advocating that you stream shows and movies properly.
Check out this post for risks to be aware of and the best tips to watch Netflix responsibly.
Feel like on-demand films & series are what you’re living for?
A quick Internet search uncovers many posts aiming to assist us in ‘binge-watching safely’. It is rather uneasy that we are necessarily educated on why sitting up all night seeing movies is wrong. Still, it also stresses streaming platforms’ troubling attribute: they can be super-duper addictive.
As there is a whole TV show you want to binge on, you tend to respond practically like a kid in a candy store. You lose every left restraint and the result is usually binge-watching and having no idea when to stop.
Netflix and other video-on-demand platforms are meant to keep you invested in. Again, Netflix’s CEO once stated that it was not the other streaming services but sleep is their greatest competitor.
Being able to see episode after episode of your well-liked program can be gratified instantly. Nevertheless, you are in a compromising situation. You are losing a quality night’s sleep. It is addictive and it is challenging to disengage from addictive stuff with ease.
But that is not all. Autoplay options imply the short interval between episodes. The aftermath is you get inadequate time to determine whether or not to stop and go to bed. You need to find the strength to say: “Enough is enough. Time to sleep. Just watch it the next day.” Yet, this is far easier said than done.
Possible effects on your health
See to it that you are conscious of how streaming movies and TV shows affects your sleep and energy.
1. Staying up for bingeing causes sleep debt, hurting emotional well-being & productivity
Late-night binge-watching reduces your sleep time. According to a study by the AASM (American Academy of Sleep Medicine), more than eighty percent of respondents report suffering sleep losses since they watch many episodes of a drama or streaming video series late past bedtime. For those whose age is from eighteen to 44, the number soars to over ninety percent.
When not getting enough sleep becomes repeated for even a couple of nights, you suffer sleep debt. There is a correlation between high sleep debt and unfavorable side effects. These include anxiety, reduced concentration, hurt immunity, minimized problem-solving, creativity insufficiency, and decreased empathy.
2. Undermine your circadian rhythm
For those who do not know, even if you are with care to not allow movie streaming time to intervene in sleep time, you encounter another problem. It is referred to as circadian misalignment.
Circadian misalignment means an improper timed wake and sleep cycle. It will do no good to your sleep condition and psychological health. Have you ever had difficulty getting up on Monday morning due to late weekend mornings and nights (what is named as ‘social jet lag’)? If so, you have suffered that circadian misalignment.
To be more specific, as you sit before the screen to view Netflix following work hours, the blue light the screen or other light sources releases works to trick your brain into perceiving that it is not night yet.
The light decreases your body’s melatonin generation. As you know, your brain secretes melatonin naturally and this hormone alerts your body about the wake and sleeping time.
Delayed sleep makes getting up in the morning far more difficult. What is worse is this kind of chronic circadian misalignment likely results in sleep-wake phase disorder and various deleterious physiological and mental aftermaths.
How to stream without destroying your sleep
Ever wonder how to enjoy Netflix viewing without completely ruining your sleep (and thus your immunity, mood, productivity, etc.)? Then, refer to the tips and tricks right below.
1. Stay away from blue light
Again, blue light is originated from not only screens but also any light source. There are a few options so that you can handle how much it affects your sleep.
First things first, you can consider putting on a pair of blue-light blocking glasses. Wear these specially-designed glasses beginning ninety minutes before you go to sleep. We suggest using the UVEX Skyper model because believe us, it is among the most proven effective.
Else, leverage the dim indoor lights ninety minutes before bed. We mean dim or switch off power lighting. Candles are not a bad idea, either.
What is more? Make use of a filter on your devices. More often than not, computers, tablets, and the likes of them provide an option to enable a blue light filter. It should keep your brain from assuming it is daylight. One thing to note: It is advisable to put on blue-light blocking glasses even when you use a filter. Filters are likely not that capable.
2. Enjoy breaks between episodes
We suggest you get out of Netflix’s ‘auto-play loop.’ As you know, this loop allows you to view episode after episode. It does not take much effort compared to stopping the playback.
The good news is, streaming platforms such as Netflix give you the choice to switch off auto-play. You see, loading the next episode by hand can keep you from gluing the eyes endlessly to the screen. Nevertheless, clicking through the episodes is still simple for you. That is is why you may want to follow the next tips.
3. Set the limit to how much you watch
Do not blindly go for a drama and spend the whole for it mindlessly. Determine beforehand how much you are seeing before you go to sleep. And then adhere to that limit.
Should you have difficulty following this kind of limit, you may need to trick yourself. A pro tip is downloading the drama’s episodes onto your computer. Platforms like Netflix enable offline downloads for a lot of shows. So, you have the choice to pre-load all the TV you have wanted to view in advance. After that, put your computer into airplane mode, preventing you from disobeying the limits. Likewise, this download option enables you to catch up with your favorite show on the bus ride to work, rather than seeing it late at night before.
What if the desire to finish an episode on the commute stresses you out? If that is the case, you may want to set aside some daylight time when you can watch with no concern about missing your bus stop and destroying your bedtime.
4. Cut the cliffhanger rush
Any other tip for decreasing the hold of binge-able TV series and not sacrificing your viewing enjoyment? Yes, there is! Stop seeing an episode during a cliffhanger. Since you decide to stop when it is not a lull in the action, you diminish your likelihood of keeping watching ‘just the next episode’. This way likewise helps prevent the dopamine release notorious for promoting insomnia. Most of the time, the action’s intensity reduces when the episode approaches around three-quarters of it or the middle. Stop there and continue watching it in the next session.
5. Diminish using the phone in your sleeping area
Undoubtedly, the bed gives a comfortable binge-viewing setting. Few spaces can beat it. But then again, keep seeing one more or more episodes is super easy as your phone and you are a cozy, comfy collaboration.
As mentioned above, when you use screens in bed, your mind is active over an extended time. That is why we suggest you avoid using gadgets in bed.
Your health will be negatively affected, too. Your phone’s glowing display causes eyestrain. A way of reducing its effect on your sleep patterns is seeing movies on a more distant, sizable screen instead.
All in all, rather than using a phone in your sleeping place, stream shows to a TV.
6. Rewatch your old favorites
Do you plan to view dramas on Netflix late at night? Then, go for episodic programming. As you know, here, a story gets wrapped up within one episode.
Else, select something you have watched previously because the chance is it is less arousing. Getting excited or anxious over a new plot twist or stuff likely makes your mind more active. The consequence is you cannot fall asleep.
7. Choose a good spot to binge view this media
If you can, it will be best to return to the ‘unfair life’ theme. The bed is not advisable to binge-watch as you are wishing to improve your sleep quality.
Bear in mind that this place is suitable for sex and sleep only. If you get involved in more activities in bed, you tend to confuse your brain into ignoring the fact that it is where to relax and rest. Should you binge-view for hours, a possibility is the brain will relate your bed as the are you lie for a long time without nodding off.
8. Transform your bedroom into a cave
There is a surefire tip for optimizing your sleeping area. Guess what? It is simple. Make it a cave. In other words, ensure it is quiet, dark, and cool like a cave.
More specifically, set the thermostat at about 65 – 68 °F. Also, leverage a mask and whatnot to keep you from noticing the daylight. You may likewise want to put on earplugs to block surrounding noise. In case you are not aware, even when you are certain to be able to sleep through vehicle horns, they are still decreasing your sleep quality.
9. Develop a relaxation routine
We recommend providing your body with the necessary time to decompress naturally before you go to sleep. For example, time your movie streaming habit earlier and make it belong to a larger relaxation routine.
Arrange your great night by leveraging your circadian energy. Set up the activities that ask for your highest concentration level for your evening peak, when it is your second energy cycle. Aside from increasing your productivity, this timing ensures your desirable relaxation time. We mean it produces a cue to begin wrapping up the day.
Significantly, you handle stress in the evening time before bed. Pre-sleep stress is the possible culprit behind sleep disturbances and trouble hitting the sack.
During this relaxation cycle, the brain is delivering signals to the body to start falling asleep. Your cue to finish the workday is the specific signal. It also helps you stay away from activities that consume mental energy.
We suggest taking a warm bath or shower. Do yoga or some simple stretch. Enjoy reading or meditating. Stream films at the start of the cycle to set aside the relaxation period before you sleep.
All in all
Netflix gives you so much fantastic content. Its explosive popularity is undeniable. But on the other hand, sleep and Netflix are not great collaborations.
The good news is, you do not have to pick between quality sleep and binge-viewing. You can watch your favorite series and films without destroying the necessary sleep each night. Responsible binge-viewing is the key to harmonizing your entertainment hobby with your health and wellness. Follow the effective tips and tricks above for how to appreciate Netflix responsibly while still sleeping well.