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    Four Ways Binge-Watching Hurts Your Brain



    Summary: Binge-watching TV shows can create an unhealthy environment for the brain due to social isolation, sleep deprivation and unhealthy eating habits.

    Source: Houston Methodist.

    Binge-watching your favorite television show might seem like a pleasant way to relax after having a long and hard week. But spending too much time on the couch can be harmful for your brain.


    When you play the next episode to find out what happens further, your brain receives a positive response. This instant pleasure is like gambling where even after you win, become dissatisfied and want to keep playing. Likewise in case of binge watching, you are not satisfied with stopping after episode five and want to keep watching it. If continued long, this cycle alongwith side effects of binge-watching, can lead to unhealthy changes in your brain and body.

    The good news is that you can have your television program and be healthy too. To counterbalance the four worst side effects of binge-watching, the researchers suggest:

    1: Pick a bedtime: Compromising with hours of sleep for binge-watching can make the brain slow and tired the next day. In addition to feeling exhausted and unfocused, not getting enough sleep can affect our memory, mood, immune system, heart health and hormone balance.

    2: Prioritize exercise: Like sleep, exercise may be sacrificed in favor of binge-watching. This results in discontinuity of the habit and degrading physical health.

    3: Invite friends: Although you enjoy binge-watching or find it is a pleasant way to reduce stress. However, spending hours alone with the television as a company is not good for your mental health. Having the company of friends helps you to interact and keeps your mind healthy.

    4: Smart snacking: While unhealthy snacks are easy to grab while binge-watching, choose something with more nutritional value.

    The researcher also suggests only filling up the snack bowl once. When the brain is focused on what we are watching, we tend to eat on autopilot and end up overeating.

    Binge-watching itself is not bad. It becomes problematic when watching a third, fourth or number of episodes replaces your healthy activities. But if you apply these tips into your binge-watching routine, you can create lasting healthy habits and still enjoy the leisure time without causing harm to your brain.

    Published: Houston Methodist.

    Contact: Dr. Randall Wright, MD is a Neurology Specialist in Shenandoah, TX.

    Details: Image source Istock


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