Streamin' Demon: Binge-Watching Isn't Good for Sleep

Netflix CEO admits competeing with your sleep.

Posted May 05, 2017

Source: Pixaby

On an April 2017 quarterly earnings call with reporters, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings stunned listeners when he mentioned a surprising competitor for his company’s streaming services. It's not Amazon. It's not cable. It's not time with your spouse. 

It's sleep.
“You know, think about it, when you watch a show from Netflix, and you get addicted to it, you stay up late at night. ...we’re competing with sleep, on the margin,” Hastings said.

Streaming television has become such a huge part of daily life that it’s often difficult to turn it off, even at bedtime. Watching your favorite programs before bed sounds like a blast, but most technologies effect your sleep in more ways than one recognizes. Whether you're staying up late to watch the new seasons of Master of None or The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, it's probably keeping you from a peaceful night of slumber. We all have been there: You watch an episode, it's 11 p.m and you think "It's only 22 more minutes for the next episode, right?"

And then you keep yourself awake to watch.

"There is ample evidence that media use displaces sleep," Exelmans & Van den Bulck note in their 2016 study focusing the lack of self-control and television viewing. Their results seem to support the notion that "(1) self-regulatory failure over television viewing can partly explain the common struggle with bedtime, and (2) strong viewing habits seem to inhibit bedtime procrastination." There is even some research that television watching can be equitable to that of an addition disorder Sussman & Moran, 2013) but more research is needed.

Remember the next time you stay up late to stream House of Cards: Just like any screen-time device it may suppress your melatonin levels, and keep your brain alert to only have you be awake longer. (

How does this effect me? These days, I exclusively watch movies. So I am going to imagine there is a protective coat of immunity on my brain until I craft another blog piece. Here's to watching "Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie," available today, May 5.


Sussman, S., & Moran, M. B. (2013). Hidden addiction: television. Journal of behavioral addictions, 2(3), 125-132.

Exelmans, L., & Van den Bulck, J. (2016). “Glued to the Tube” The Interplay Between Self-Control, Evening Television Viewing, and Bedtime Procrastination. Communication Research, 0093650216686877.