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U.S. Adults Losing Sleep Over Binge Watching

DARIEN, Ill.—We’ve all gotten hooked on a TV show so much that we just can’t stop watching, often going into the wee hours of the morning to finish a season. That’s not just anecdotal, a new study from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) essentially proves it.

In a new survey, 88% of U.S. adults admitted that they have lost sleep because they decided to stay up and watch multiple episodes of a TV or streaming show. Among viewers 18-44 years old, that number jumps to 95%. This occurs even as Americans classify sleep as their second most important priority, behind family.

It’s not always binging either, sports can also cause people to stay up late. Men are most likely to stay up for sports at 75%, but overall 60% of U.S. adults have done so for some game. Other things keeping people up past their normal bedtimes, according to AASM, are reading and playing video games.

AASM found that there were some negative effects to these patterns, besides just a lack of sleep. Nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents felt frustration over losing sleep after a binge session. It is especially prevalent in Generation Z, which can feel frustrated, worried and guilty about their loss of sleep.

“It’s encouraging that Americans rank sleep as one of their highest priorities, but choosing to binge on entertainment at night instead of sleeping has serious ramifications,” said Dr. Kelly A. Carden, AASM president. “Sleep is essential to health, well-being and safety, and chronic insufficient sleep can lead to an increased risk of health problems, mood disorders and motor vehicle accidents.”

AASM provides more detail, as well as some beneficial sleeping habits, on its website.