Binge Viewing, Sleep, and the Role of Pre-Sleep Arousal

J Clin Sleep Med. 2017 Aug 15;13(8):1001-1008. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.6704.


Study objectives: To investigate the prevalence of binge viewing, its association with sleep and examine arousal as an underlying mechanism of this association.

Methods: Four hundred twenty-three adults (aged 18-25 years old, 61.9% female) completed an online survey assessing regular television viewing, binge viewing, sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index), fatigue (Fatigue Assessment Scale), insomnia (Bergen Insomnia Scale), and pre-sleep arousal (Pre-Sleep Arousal Scale). Regression analyses were conducted. Mediation analysis was performed using PROCESS Macro.

Results: There were 80.6% who identified themselves as a binge viewer. Among those who binge viewed (n = 341), 20.2% had binge viewed at least a few times a week during the past month. Among poor sleepers (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index > 5), 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 insomnia, whereas regular television viewing was not. Cognitive pre-sleep arousal fully mediated these relationships.

Conclusions: New viewing styles such as binge viewing are increasingly prevalent and may pose a threat to sleep. Increased cognitive arousal functions as the mechanism explaining these effects. Measures of media exposure should take into account the user's level of engagement with media. Interventions aimed at (1) alerting viewers about excessive viewing duration and (2) reducing arousal before sleep may be useful ways to tackle sleep problems in binge viewers.

Keywords: PSQI; arousal; binge viewing; fatigue; insomnia; sleep quality.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arousal / physiology*
  • Behavior, Addictive / complications
  • Behavior, Addictive / physiopathology*
  • Fatigue / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Habits
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / epidemiology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / etiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Television / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult