Netflix and Sleep?

On Tuesday, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings stated he believed sleep to be Netflix’s biggest competitor.  On Monday, the company even tweeted this:

This makes senses when we think about all those those late night Netflix binges. Personally, “To watch the next episode or to sleep?” is a potential title for my autobiography. Of course, we should be getting eight hours, but who can resist the wit of Parks and Rec’s Leslie? (K)nope, not me.

The sad truth is, those late Netflix nights negatively impact our sleep which can in turn negatively impact our days. Recently, it was revealed that Netflix users watched half a billion hours of Adam Sandler movies.  As Buzzfeed puts it, “that’s the equivalent of almost 63 million nights where instead of sleeping, people stayed up all night watching Adam Sandler movies.” When we have those late night Sandler movie marathons, we miss out on valuable sleep. Without the proper amount of sleep, our cognitive functions are impaired the next day. When you are not well rested, you cannot work to your full potential.

Not only does watching television late at night make us miss out on sleep, but it can make it harder to fall asleep in the first place. According to Scientific American, luminous screens on tablets, phones, and laptops can “…suppress people’s normal nighttime release of melatonin.”  Melatonin is a hormone that tells your body when it’s time to sleep. So when your body doesn’t produce enough, your sleep schedule will get messed up.

So what can we do?

Obviously, the most effective change would be not looking at electronic screens before bed. But for those of us who need those nightly Netflix binges, there are options to help minimize the effects.  Try switching to blue light; there is a nighttime function on some devices that you can turn on to make the luminous light softer. There are also functions on some devices that switch at nighttime so when you’re reading you see white text on a black screen.

We’re in an unhealthy relationship with Netflix, but in order to maintain a healthy relationship with sleep, we need to make some changes. Billy Madison can wait until the next morning.

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