Now Streaming? No Sleep??

A recent article published in Times of India says that India is the second most sleep deprived country in the world, trailing only with Japan. A major firm which conducted this survey states that majority of urban Indian population get only 7.1 hours of sleep on an average. This in turn is turning out to be a major cause of health issues, lifestyle problems and disturbed mental states. It is important to understand is that Sleep deprivation is not a specific disease. It is usually the result of other illnesses or life circumstances. For other illnesses which generally occur with age, can be treated with medical support while life circumstances are completely dependant on individual choice.

It all begins with giving health the utmost priority over all other life situations. No matter how much comfort or entertainment we want to indulge in without active body and alert mind we will not be able to make the best out of them. While good exercise routine and healthy food consumption are fundamental to holistic health, good sleep is a very critical factor. We have observed that few reasons are playing very significant role in young urban population getting sleep deprivation.

Economic times reported that, 49% of India’s youth spend 2-3 hours a day binge watching content. Four hours is the average time spent in consuming OTT (Over the top services, Like Netflix, hotstar, amazon prime etc.,) video content in a day by millennials+ and Gen Z*. On average, people signed on to three new OTT platforms during lockdown. 65% of millennials and Gen Z Prefer consuming video content on an OTT platform over TV1. Binge watching OTT platforms right before sleeping can seriously damage the quality of sleep.

A study published in Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine stated that in their sample there were 80.6% who identified themselves as a binge viewer and among poor sleepers 32.6% had a poor sleep quality associated with being a binge viewer. Higher binge viewing frequency was associated with a poorer sleep quality, increased fatigue, and more symptoms of insomnia2. Binge watching for an extended period may develop many other such sleep related disorders. It is believed that binge viewing may lead to a reduction in social skills in the long term though binge viewers also reported the behaviour has a social value: the ability to participate in conversations about a show with friends creates a sense of belonging.

This trend is picking up worldwide as 88% of American adults report that they have lost sleep due to binge-watching, according to a survey from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). Sacrificing sleep for entertainment can lead to frustration, worry, and guilt. Not only this, the content that is watched also plays itself out in the mind during the sleep hours, seriously effecting the mental health. Watching disturbing content before sleeping can potentially cause problems with general psychology and be a root cause of several mental and emotional syndromes.

Binge watching during night times will leave you groggy and sleepy the entire next day effecting productivity. Entertainment itself has no harm but it should not come as a cost to good physical and mental health. It would be wise to put away all electronic devices an hour before sleep at the minimum. This time can be spent with pets and family or taking a walk or just setting up the bed and mattress. Organise your time so that you can continue marathon watching without sacrificing sleep. Once you lie on your mattress, it’s not the time to stream, it’s time to sleep!