Netflix Binging Isn’t Just Bad for Your Social Life, It’s Wrecking Your Brain Too

Logan Rapp
(Photo: OBSEV / Shutterstock)

Scientists are the biggest killjoys. All we want is to get some Chipotle, go home, and demolish that season of "Narcos" we've been meaning to get at. But, as expected, you can never find a fun activity without science letting you know it's going to hurt you.

To no one's surprise, researchers publishing in the journal JAMA Psychiatry found that heavy TV binge-watching in young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 resulted in cognitive decline later in life. Researchers did not ask if that is what adults wanted to have happen because life is a revolving door of indignity.

Roughly ten percent of the participants watched at least three hours of TV per day, and tested poorly with processing speed, verbal memory, and executive function. On the plus side, they probably caught up on "Twin Peaks" and now they know what all the fuss is about.

Sixteen percent reported low physical activity, and to the surprise of no one, when that Venn diagram overlaps, the poorest testing group are those who don't exert any physical activity as well as binge watch.

It's not all hopeless, though. The link, one of the study's authors posits, could be due to the fact that watching TV is a sedentary activity, and thus less engaging to the brain. For young adults, that brain is still figuring stuff out, so if one were to take steps to strengthen brain function, the adverse effects of binge-watching would be limited.

Taking up some exercise and breaking up viewing into smaller chunks would help greatly to improve one's brain health, but that does mean you'll have to wait to catch up with "The Walking Dead." Just pretend you're training for the zombie apocalypse in between episodes and you should be fine.

There are also these things called "books" that you could read every once in a while to get that brain working. Just saying.