Your Brain on Binge-Watching

September 21, 2018

Binge-watching is a popular trend as 70% of Americans do it and it has become the new video gaming. Binge-watching, also called binge-viewing, is the practice of watching television for longer time spans than usual, usually of a single television show. 


Binge-watching is addictive because you don’t have to wait a week to see the next episode, so it is tempting to watch the whole season in one sitting. A more recent study found that most Netflix members choose to binge-watch their way through a series versus taking their time — on average finishing an entire season in one week. 

In fact, according to Nielsen, 361,000 people watched all nine episodes of season 2 of 'Stranger Things,' on the first day it was released.



When binge-watching your favorite show, your brain is continually producing dopamine, and your body experiences a drug-like high.  

Your brain can become addicted to any activity or substance that consistently produces dopamine.


The Negative Impact of Binge-Watching


Here are a few ways the science of binge-watching affects your mind, body and soul.


1. More likely to report higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression

2. Increased risk of obesity, and type 2 diabetes. (sitting is the new smoking). 

3. Leads to sleep deprivation and insomnia. (The CEO of Netflix says they are    competing with sleep).

4. Robs us of face-to-face family interaction.

5. Linked to feelings of loneliness and isolation.


Cutting Down on Binge-Watching

  • Spend no more than 2 hours a night – set a timer on your phone

  • Limit to stopping an hour before bedtime

  • Only binge-watch on weekends

  • Try to not watch alone

  • Keep the lights on so you don’t get lost in the show

  • Don’t use binging to self-medicate your pain

  • Delay gratification by waiting to see what happens tomorrow


If you do binge-watch do it together as a couple or as a family and then use it to have discussions about what you think and feel. Real relationships and real life can be difficult, but at the end of the day it is much more enriching, growth producing and connecting than sitting binge-watching for hours alone.


Growing together,




Dr. Sylvia Hart Frejd

Relationship Coach





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