Watching Netflix Before Bed May Cause Depression And Other Adverse Health Effects
We have all done it: binge watch seasons upon seasons of your favorite television shows until you inevitably fall asleep after hours of watching.
Apparently, this is not only an insanely awesome way to spend one’s weekend, but it can also be detrimental to your health. The reason for this is due to “light pollution,” defined as an excessive use or dependence on artificial light — Netflix is very closely related to this, especially when one streams it on their laptop, while in bed.
Light pollution is not a new concept. According to Globe at Night, “Too much light pollution has consequences: it washes out starlight in the night sky, interferes with astronomical research, disrupts ecosystems, has adverse health effects and wastes energy.” Jordan Grose, a writer for The Gavel explains, “Rebecca Boyle, writer for Aeon Magazine, compiled data from different studies regarding light pollution, and results suggest that artificial light is a contributor to the development of cancer, obesity, depression and insomnia in humans.”
The finding that light pollution may be attributable to insomnia is not a new one. It is well known that watching TV or excessive use of one’s mobile device, either an iPad or a phone, prior to bed, can lead to insomnia. This is due to effects of the bright light on melatonin levels, — this is the hormone that signals when it is night-time, and therefore time for bed.
Melatonin, however, is produced by your brain to help you sleep in order to protect your DNA. Without a steady flow of melatonin, not only will one sleep less and more irregularly, but it could be damaging one’s brain chemistry as well.
Since melatonin is derived from serotonin — another brain dwelling hormone that affects mood and appetite — lack of melatonin can also be attributable to depression and insomnia, both of which are highly correlated with obesity. The effects of lower melatonin levels can get pretty serious; as cancer develops from mutated DNA, artificial light increases risks for cancer.
The way to avoid messing up your melatonin levels (or to get it back on track)? Simply take some melatonin (easily found at local drug stores or even Trader Joe’s), and read a good old-fashioned book. By following these recommendations, you will be reducing your exposure to those bright screens and therefore, your exposure to light pollution.
What do you think of this study? Do you think there is a link between watching Netflix and depression? How do you think Netflix before bed is affecting you? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @kateeb790!