It’s late at night, your eyelids are drooping, and all the signs suggest you should go to bed. However, you’re three episodes deep into your favourite TV show, and the last episode has finished on a cliffhanger. As the credits roll you contemplate getting up and brushing your teeth – but the next episode begins automatically, and you’re transfixed for at least another hour.
If this scenario sounds familiar, you’re not alone. According to research by media watchdog Ofcom, around eight in ten UK adults sometimes use streaming services to watch multiple episodes of a series back-to-back, and 55% do so at least once a month.
Of those in the latter category, nearly three quarters said their viewing pattern was sometimes unintentional, while a third (around 10 million Brits) have lost sleep because they were binge-watching TV. This issue is particularly acute in younger people. Nearly half of the 16-24 year-olds surveyed said they were trying to cut down their viewing in some way.
So with binge watching firmly embedded in our culture (‘Binge-watch’ was even named Collins’ Word of the Year in 2015), how is it actually affecting us? And are there ways to get our fix without negatively impacting our health?
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