4 ways binge-watching could hurt your brain

Many people choose to binge-watching their favorite television show to relax after a long week.

But recent research has shown spending hours on the couch can actually hurt the brain.

According to Randall Wright, M.D., a Houston Methodist neurologist, the brain is not an isolated organ, and it responds to its environment.

When people binge-watch, they create an unhealthy environment for the brain.

This is because they’re sitting for long periods of time, isolating themselves from social activities and eating large amounts of unhealthy food.

The researcher suggests people do several things to offset the four worst side effects of binge-watching.

Set a bedtime

Sacrificing hours of sleep for binge-watching can make the brain slow and sluggish the next day.

On top of feeling tired and unfocused, sleep loss can affect memory, mood, the immune system, heart health, and hormone balance.

The average adult needs between 7-9 hours of sleep every night.

It is healthy to determine what time you need to go to bed to get enough sleep before you start your show.

Make exercise a priority

Like sleep, exercise may be postponed in favor of binge-watching.

But recent research has shown that the brain can generate new cells and connections through a process known as neurogenesis, and exercise is key to that process.

The researcher suggests taking a walk around the neighborhood before binge-watching and standing for five minutes during every episode can help keep the body and brain active.

Invite friends to watch with you

Spending hours with the television as a company is not good for your mental health, even though you may feel relaxed.

If you binge-watch regularly, the hours alone add up and can lead to depression and other mental health issues.

It is important to balance time alone with the television and time spent with loved ones.

You can invite friends over to watch shows with you or making plans to spend time with loved ones before or after a binge-watching session.

Eat healthy snacks

While unhealthy snacks are easy to grab while binge-watching, opt for something with more nutritional value.

For example, hummus and vegetables, edamame or fruits are great snacks if you crave something to eat while binge-watching.

Try to stay away from binge-eating salty, fatty foods when you sit down to watch television.

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