Netflix, the Sleep Murderer

Netflix, I have to admit, is something that keeps teenagers like us going through stress most of the times. But does it keep us going just a little too long? On April 18, in a slightly disturbing article,Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, declared that the biggest competitor of Netflix is not Amazon, not HBO, but sleep.

It’s alarming how binge watching Netflix is already considered a social norm in our world today. We seldom hesitate before pressing the “play” button to think about its consequences. According to the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 90 per- cent of Americans use screen devices within one hour before sleep.

But rather than Netflix competing with sleep, what I see from my friends’ tired eyes the morning after a night of binge watching is something more—Netflix is killing sleep.

Although we all possess the willpower to close our laptops after a few episodes or the ability to fall asleep in the middle of one, a 2014 study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts shows that viewing light-emitting screens before sleep not only makes falling asleep harder, but affects alertness the following day.

Most of us can say we have experienced “post-Net ix syndrome.” In other words, the real world looks boring and we can’t stop thinking about the dramatic television show with the big plot twist. This is where the irony lies: we simply can’t seem to rest our minds in a less exciting reality after exiting the action-packed worlds of TV shows.

While we may get the recommended eight to nine hours of sleep each day, but with screen time, efficient sleep is much harder. Even if we succeed in falling asleep, the quality of our rest is not enough to help us be our best selves the next day.

School, sports and all other activities in our day-to-day lives require those precious hours of sleep that are already traded away for piles of homework. If Netflix kills a few more, you might be down to only one hand when you count your resting hours with your fingers.

Is sleep Netflix’s biggest competitor? Probably. But in our world, it is safe to say that Netflix certainly defeats sleep in many situations.

So, the next time you open Netflix in bed, will you still press play without thinking of the consequences? Viewers, that is a cliff-hanger I will leave you all to figure out.


Michelle Chen – Staff Writer

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