Binge-watching your favorite TV show could hurt your sleep

Now that more than 60 percent of American households have access to a video streaming service, binge- watching has become almost a national past time.

You have probably been there: you start watching your favorite TV show, and then you can't stop.

WebMD Chief Medical Editor Dr. Hansa Bhargava says she's been caught in the sticky web of binge-watching.

"Oh, my god, absolutely," Dr. Bhargava says.  "Yes, when you've got Game of Thrones, Daredevil, House of Cards, we're all guilty of it, absolutely."

The tricky part is that streaming services program their shows so that when one episode ends, the next automatically begins.

"It peaks your interest, you want to see more, and it's so easy to fall into that trap," Dr. Bhargava says.

But a new research finds binge-watching may hurt us when we try to go to sleep.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, involved 420 young adults between the ages of 18 and 25, who binge-watch to varying degrees.

40percent said they binge-watched once in the last month.

About 28 percent report watching back-to-back episodes a few times a month.

About 14 percent do it several times a week.

And 7 percent of the volunteers told researchers they binge-watched almost on a daily basis.

"What they found is the more likely you are to binge watch, the more issues you have with sleep arousal, insomnia and, of course, focus and feeling tired the next day."

The problem, researchers found, is something known as sleep arousal.

It basically means when it's time to sleep, you're wired.

"Sleep arousal is essentially watching that show like GOT or Daredevil, or whatever it is, and thinking about that complex storyline long after you've turned off the show," Bhargava explains.  "So your mind is almost in this activated state and it has difficulty coming down."

But, here's the thing, Bhargava says.

It's hard not to binge-watch.

"So what do we do," She asks.  "Binge-watch less frequently.  So maybe we do it on a Friday or Saturday, where you won't have that impact."

More than 70 percent of the study participants said they did not set out to binge-watch, they just fell into it.

So, if you have a big meeting in the morning or an important test, you might want to turn off your screen and pick up a book.