Unless you’ve been living off on Jupiter in recent months, you should know all too well just how much devastation the coronavirus outbreak has caused worldwide.
Millions upon millions of workers across the globe are now quarantining themselves at home, in order to minimise the spread of the deadly virus. If you are one of those people affected, which at this point is pretty much everyone, you’ve probably found yourself ‘Netflix and chilling’ a lot more often than usual lately, simply to pass the time.
However, being stuck indoors all day glued to the television isn’t particularly good for your health. Not only can long periods of inactivity lead to potential heart problems and mental health issues, but staring at a screen all day can also have a significant impact on your ability to sleep.
With this in mind, join us as we take a look at how to Netflix and chill like a pro. From changing the settings on your smartphone to investing in specialist glasses, using our helpful tips, you will be able to enjoy your favourite films without worrying about your sleeping pattern.
1. Set a routine.
OK, first things first, you probably know already that binge-watching films or using devices before bed is a bit of a no-no when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. In fact, back in 2017, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that binge-watching TV corresponded to a “poorer quality of sleep, an increased level of fatigue and symptoms of insomnia.”
The countermeasures this study went on to suggest included all the usual things: exercise moderation, lighting incense, taking melatonin, dousing yourself in lavender, purchasing a blackout electric blind – you know the drill.
However, we’re no fools – we know that stopping yourself binge-watching Netflix shows probably isn’t going to happen, especially now you find yourself with so much spare time on your hands.
Therefore, the best thing you can do is try and set a routine for yourself; if you are going to binge-watch Netflix, try and avoid doing so in the bedroom since your brain needs to subconsciously associate it with sleeping and feeling relaxed.
Likewise, try and exercise or do some form of activity while you are watching your favourite shows. Even standing up for a minute after every half an hour of inactivity has been shown to do wonders for your circulation, preventing potential health issues arising later on down the line.
2. Nail the posture.
Let’s face it – when it comes to watching Netflix in bed, you’re going to want to be comfortable, and that all comes down to your posture.
Lying at an awkward angle or in the wrong position can significantly affect your joints and lead to potential muscular issues. Therefore, to prevent this from happening, here are a few golden rules you should follow:
- Seating Position. Seat yourself in a way that eliminates the need to rotate your neck or back in order to see the screen. This, in turn, should help avoid any undue pressure and stress on your joints.
- Spine Support. Make the most of your pillows! Support your spine by pushing yourself back into pillows or a headboard as much as you can to prevent your spine’s vertebrae coming into contact with a hard surface.
- TV Position. Avoid needing to bend your head downwards or upwards by positioning your TV, phone or laptop screen high up enough. Your head should be perfectly comfortable throughout the entire watching experience, with the screen positioned straight ahead of you.
3. Invest in specialist equipment.
While setting a routine and nailing your seating position is very important, if you are looking to really go the extra mile with your Netflix and chill time, there are a few extra things you can do to ensure a good night’s sleep. Before we get into what these are though, it’s important to first understand why watching Netflix influences our sleeping pattern so much.
During the aforementioned study by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, the researchers involved found that an inability to sleep was caused by two key factors. The first of these was the attachment we make to the TV shows or films we watch – becoming nervous about what’s going to happen next or thrilled about an upcoming development. These feelings then make our hearts pound and our body feel more alert, preventing us from nodding off.
The second factor was the blue light that comes from the TV, phone, tablet, computer or device you use to watch Netflix with. This light effectively tricks our brains into thinking it’s daylight outside which, in turn, prevents the production of melatonin – a hormone known to regulate your sleep-wake cycle. This melatonin disruption, in turn, causes your sleep to suffer as a result.
In order to prevent both these factors posing an issue, here are a few things you can do:
- Rewatch TV Shows/Films. By watching films or TV shows you’ve seen before, you will already know what’s coming so won’t respond with the same level of emotion as you did the first time you watched it.
- Change Your Settings. Most phones, tablets and computers now offer an option to activate a blue light filter, which prevents your brain from perceiving it as daylight.
- Buy Orange Glasses. In a similar way to the blue light filter on your phone, orange glasses have a specialised lens which significantly blocks out the blue light. While they won’t make you look super trendy, they could be worth the investment.
Watching Netflix in the comfort of your own home can be a lot of fun but it can also have a detrimental effect on your sleeping pattern. While you may feel at a loss of what to do during your time in quarantine, it’s important to set a routine for yourself and – where possible – avoid using your phone, tablet, computer or TV before bedtime.
By ensuring you get a good night’s sleep, not only will you feel the health benefits as a result, but you’ll also be able to better focus on your favourite shows and films when you watch them.
Now all this talk of Netflix has got me in the mood for a bedtime film – where did I put those orange glasses?!