It turns out there are some surprising daily habits, such as overdosing on our favourite TV series, that can wreak havoc on the body’s ability to fight off colds and flu.
Nicole Jennings, spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics – a leading provider of colds and flu medication – says the relatively new phenomenon of being able to watch an entire TV series all at once, as opposed to waiting a week, has sparked several studies that attempt to understand how binge-watching is impacting our health.
She 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.
“Watching TV in a dark room for hours on end can really mess up our circadian rhythm (the cycle that regulates physiological processes) and disrupts sleep-wake cycles. The blue light emitted from TVs, PCs, laptops, smartphones and other devices can also reduce the production of melatonin (a hormone that promotes sleep). Poor sleep in general is associated with lower immune system function and a reduced number of antibodies or ‘killer cells’ that help to fight germs. Adults need between seven and nine hours of uninterrupted sleep every night in order for the immune system to function optimally. You can still enjoy watching TV, but try to avoid a binge too close to bedtime,” she recommends.