Netflix and chill? More like Netflix and ill

22 May 2018 - 07:00 By Kgaugelo Masweneng
Binge watching television can affect your health.
Binge watching television can affect your health.
Image: Dovzhykov

Ever wondered how binge-watching television series impact your health? It turns out there are some surprising daily habits that can wreak havoc on your body’s ability to fight off colds and flu.

Nicole Jennings‚ spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics‚ cites a paper published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine which found that people’s addiction to watching TV series can lead to chronic fatigue‚ which has a damaging effect on immunity.

“According to the study‚ over half (52%) of binge-watchers viewed three to four episodes in one sitting‚ with an average session lasting three hours. If one considers that most of the watching occurs in the evening‚ that doesn’t leave much shuteye.

“Binge-watchers also reported more fatigue and insomnia and had 98% more chance of having poor quality sleep than those that limited their screen time‚” Jennings said.

Adding to the topic‚ she said watching TV in a dark room for hours on end can really mess up one's circadian rhythm and disrupts sleep-wake cycles. Apart from lack of sleep‚ marathon-viewing can also exacerbate mindless eating and unhealthy snacking‚ both detrimental to your waistline and immunity.

Jennings said that although it was easier to order in pizza than pause your show for an hour to cook a nutritious meal‚ junk food really upsets the immune system.

Also‚ sitting in the same position while watching hours of TV series not only contribute to deep vein thrombosis and the formation of fatal blood clots‚ but also increase one’s risk of respiratory tract infections such as a cold‚ sinusitis or tonsillitis‚ most likely as a result of lowered immune function‚ she said.

Jennings suggests that instead of sitting on the couch‚ TV addicts should consider watching a series on their cellphone or tablet while walking on the treadmill‚ stationary bike or rowing machine.

“There are different ways to make the occasional marathon TV session healthier‚ but moderation is key‚” she said.