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Streaming Content and Sleep – A 2022 Updated Study

Netflix, Hulu, Amazon. The three streaming content giants have radically changed American TV-viewing habits.

Over 60 percent of young adults use streaming services as their primary method of watching television, according to research from the Pew Research Center. The trend is most pronounced among young viewers, but older demographics are catching up.

In the last 10 years, household subscriptions to streaming services have grown 450 percent. Today, there are over 200 streaming services available in the U.S, and 70 percent of us regularly binge-watch our streaming content.

Clearly, binge-watching is common. Netflix claims people enjoy it. But how is it affecting our sleep?

We surveyed over 1,300 Americans to find out.

Do You Watch Streaming Content in Bed?

If you watch streaming content in bed, you’re like most people.

Over 85 percent of American adults watch streaming content while they’re in bed.

How do your watch habits compare with other Americans who match your age, gender, or relationship status?

1 how many people watch streaming services in bed

Who is Most Likely to Stream Content from Bed?

  • Watching streaming content in bed is extremely common. Eighty-five percent of Americans watch streaming content in bed.
  • You might think that younger age groups would be more likely to stream TV in bed than older Americans. At 92.71 percent, Gen Zers take home the prize for most likely to watch streaming content in bed. However, we found that across the spectrum, American adults watch streaming content from bed at significant rates.
  • Divorced people (91.04 percent) are the most likely to stream content from bed, while widowed people (73.91 percent) are the least likely. However, widowed people are also more likely to be part of the older age group that’s less likely to stream content from bed, so that could be impacting the results.

Do Streaming Habits Change Depending on Where You Live?

It turns out the answer is yes. Of states where we surveyed a statistically significant amount of people, residents in the following states are the most and least likely to watch streaming content from bed:

Most Likely to Stream from Bed
  • South Carolina (95.6%)
    New Jersey (93.5%)
    Louisiana (93.3%)
    New York (91%)
    Texas (91%)
    Kentucky (90.9%)
    Florida (90.3%)
Least Likely to Stream from Bed
  • Wisconsin (61.1%)
    Missouri (70%)
    North Carolina (70.3%)
    Massachusetts (72%)
    Minnesota (73.9%)
    Oregon (76.1%)
    Virginia (77.2%)
    Colorado (78.9%)
    Pennsylvania (79.4%)

binge watching by U.S. Region

Is it a coincidence that Coloradans and Wisconsinites are less likely to stream content from bed, given that these states house some of the best cities for sleep? We think not.

How Much Time Do We Spend Streaming Content from Our Beds?

While the vast majority of Americans (81.3 percent) watch less than two hours of streaming content from bed per day, an alarming 18 percent of us watch two hours or more.

Our tendency to stream for longer periods of time differs by age and gender.

3 how much time people spend watching netflix in bed

Who Watches the Most Streaming Content in Bed?

  • While the vast majority of Americans (81.3 percent) watch less than two hours of streaming content from bed, an alarming 12 percent of us watch over two hours, and six percent watch more than three.
  • The age group most prone to excessive streaming (over three hours) is the 45-54 age bracket.
  • The healthiest consumers, on the other hand, are the 73 percent of adults aged 65+ who spend less than one hour in bed watching streaming content per day.
  • Women are more likely than men to spend time watching streaming content from bed: 22.3 percent of women watch streaming content for over two hours, while only 14 percent of men do.

Is Streaming Content to Blame for Poor Sleep?

When it comes to streaming services and sleep, are they friends or foes? To find out whether streaming services are a friend or enemy of sleep, we asked respondents how they felt streaming content impacted their sleep.

4 how does streaming content affect sleep

How is Streaming Content Affecting Our Sleep?

  • Thirty-five percent of adults feel like they get less sleep because of streaming content, with an almost equal split among men (35.61 percent) and women (35.88 percent).
  • Looking at age groups, the concern that their binge-watching habits are wrecking their sleep mirrors their consumption patterns. Millennials are most likely to watch streaming content in bed, and also the most likely to be concerned that it’s affecting their sleep. Meanwhile, older adults are less likely to watch streaming content, and proportionally less likely to be concerned that it’s interfering with their sleep.
  • Each age group’s level of concern may also be related to whether or not they use streaming content as a sleep aid, watching it in bed before falling asleep. On average, 69.7 percent of people fall asleep while streaming content in bed. Millennials and Gen Xers aged 25-44 are more likely to fall asleep while streaming, at 73.38 percent and 72.07 percent respectively, while senior adults aged 65 and older are the least likely to do so at only 52.38 percent.
  • Problematically, only 28.4 percent of people acknowledge that it’s harder for them to fall asleep after watching streaming content. Interestingly, the two age groups most likely to stream content from bed (18-24 year olds and 25-34 year olds) are also the ones most likely to say they have trouble falling asleep afterwards.
  • The most common days people fall asleep after watching streaming content are Friday and Saturday nights.

How Well Are We Sleeping Overall?

Only a third of adults feel like streaming content is negatively affecting their sleep, but are they getting enough sleep to begin with?

5 how much sleep do people get per night

Are We Getting Enough Sleep?

  • Fewer than half of our survey respondents actually get enough sleep on a regular basis (defined as seven hours or more). Only 47.42 percent get sufficient sleep on weeknights, while 65.99 percent of respondents get adequate sleep on weekend nights.
  • However, it’s important to remember that these numbers are self-reported, and studies consistently show that people tend to overestimate the amount of sleep they’re getting.
  • Even our own survey respondents demonstrated this bias. Only 18.4 percent of our respondents felt that they rarely or never got enough sleep, despite 34 to 52 percent of them sleeping fewer than seven hours a night on weekends or weekdays, respectively.
  • Which age groups are most likely to feel that they’re missing out on sleep? You guessed it — the ones doing more binge-watching in bed. Only 49 percent of 18-24 year olds and 54 percent of 25-34 year olds feel like they always or usually get enough sleep, compared with 69 percent of adults aged 65 and up.

Are We Willing to Lose Sleep to Binge-Watch Streaming Content?

Some people know for sure that their binge-watching is negatively affecting their sleep. These are the brave souls who stay up all night just to binge-watch their favorite TV show.

7 how often do people pull all nighters to binge watch streaming content

How Willing Are We to Stay up All Night to Binge-Watch Streaming Content?

  • Disturbingly, nearly half (45 percent) of adults have pulled an all-nighter in the last year to watch a TV show, with men being slightly more likely to do so than women (47 percent vs. 43 percent).
  • The guiltiest age group is 25-34 year olds, with just under 50 percent having stayed up all night to watch TV. However, all adults aged 54 and under are about equally willing to pull an all-nighter for streaming content. Older adults aged 55 and above appear to prioritize sleep more, with only about a quarter of that demographic foregoing sleep for TV.
  • Which states have the most night owls? Again, looking at the states where we surveyed a statistically significant amount of people, residents in the following states are most and least likely to have pulled an all-nighter to watch a TV show:


Most Likely to Pull an All-Nighter
  • Texas (60.9%)
    Louisiana (60%)
    Arizona (53.3%)
    South Carolina (52.1%)
    Tennessee (51.8%)
    California (51.7%)
    Indiana (51.4%)

Least Likely to Pull an All-Nighter
  • Wisconsin (22.2%)
    Missouri (26.3%)
    Oregon (28.5%)
    Michigan (32.7%)
    Kentucky (33.3%)
    Washington (34.7%)
    Massachusetts (36%)
    Ohio (40%)

How Often Do We Lose Sleep to Binge-Watch Streaming Content?

Ready for even more frightening news? Many of us are willing to stay up multiple times a year to watch streaming content.

For more than half of survey respondents who pulled an all-nighter to binge-watch streaming content in the past year, it was a regular occurrence. Fourty-four percent of respondents pulled an all-nighter once a year, 35 percent did so between 2 to 5 nights a year, and a concerning 12 percent did so for more than five nights a year.

What Type of Shows Are Keeping Us up at Night?

Not all streaming content is equally binge-worthy. We asked respondents which types of shows they were most likely to watch from bed.

9 which types of shows do people binge watch

The most popular genres of content we like to binge-watch from bed are comedies, action and adventure, and dramas.

What the Research Shows: Streaming Content and Sleep

Ours is not the first survey to review people’s streaming habits and how they impact sleep. Many academics have sought out to measure the effects of binge-watching on sleep. Unfortunately, their research supports our own findings: streaming content is no friend to sleep.

A 2017 study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (JCSM) found that one-third of binge-viewers experience poor sleep. Likewise, 35.72 percent of our survey respondents felt that having access to streaming content contributed to them not getting enough sleep.

Specifically, the JCSM researchers found that binge-watchers experience less restful sleep and more symptoms of insomnia than their non-binge-watching peers.

Why Does Binge-Watching Impact Our Sleep?

We may be lying down when we watch streaming content, especially if we’re doing so from the comfort of our beds, but the research indicates that our brain and nervous system are feeling anything but relaxed. Researchers call this “pre-sleep arousal.”

People become engaged in the drama and plot line of the shows they’re watching, activating their nervous system. The effect is only heightened with dramas, thrillers, and any show that uses the element of suspense. If you remember from our survey, Action and Adventure and Dramas are two of our favorite genres we enjoy streaming from our beds.

The effect isn’t isolated to our nervous system. When we watch streaming content, we’re typically watching via a television, tablet, or smartphone device. Each one of these tech devices emits blue wavelengths of light. Unfortunately, that blue wavelength is the one our brain perceives the most intensely, and it’s also one our brain confuses for sunlight. The more you watch streaming content, the more your brain interprets what it’s seeing as daylight, so it keeps you up instead of letting you fall asleep.

This is why it’s dangerous to use streaming content as a sleep aid. You may think you’re relaxing, but your brain and body are wide awake.

Even worse, additional research suggests that streaming content hurts more than our sleep. Several studies have linked binge-watching with higher rates of loneliness and depression, poorer mental and physical health, and eight of the top causes of death in the U.S.

Five Tips to Limit Your Streaming and Sleep Better

In a perfect world, sleep and streaming content don’t mix. If you’d like to adjust your binge-watching behavior to enjoy better sleep, follow these tips.

1. Stop watching streaming content in bed.

The absolute best way to keep streaming content from interfering with your sleep is to stop watching in your bedroom.

Your bed should be reserved for sleep and sex only. By watching TV in bed, you encourage your brain to associate your bedroom as a place for stimulating mental activity, instead of a place for relaxing and winding down to sleep.

Commit to only watching streaming content from other rooms in your house.

Remove all electronics from your bedroom. The more you can transform your bedroom into a technology-free haven for sleep, the better.

2. Use the red-light filter on your streaming device.

If you watch streaming content on a smartphone or tablet, enable the red-light filter whenever you watch at night. These filter out those piercing blue wavelengths that wake up our brain and trick it into thinking it’s seeing daytime instead of your favorite TV show.

If your streaming device doesn’t have a red-light filter built in, download one of these apps.

In your device settings, set your red light filter to automatically activate at a scheduled time each night. This way, you don’t have to remember to do it yourself. Plus, when you notice the colors change on your screen, you’ll know it’s time to go to bed.

3. Schedule your TV time and sleep.

Is your streaming time cutting into your sleeping time? Along with your daily appointments, schedule your sleep and TV times.

Make room for you to conceivably get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps retrain your body to its natural circadian rhythm.

As for your binge-watching, set an appointment for TV time, or limit yourself to a set number of episodes you can watch each day.

Schedule time to catch up on streaming content during the weekends, instead of making it part of your daily or nightly routine.

4. Turn off autoplay settings.

Binge-watching is a difficult habit to break. Make things easier on yourself by turning off the autoplay function in your streaming service settings.

In between episodes, force yourself to take a break, even if it’s just to stand up and stretch out for a minute. This mental break may motivate you to go do something else, instead of sitting back down to watch another episode.

Before you start watching, download the number of episodes you want to watch. Then, turn off the wifi on your streaming device. Auto-play or not, when your episodes end, you won’t have anything left to watch.

5. Power down 30 minutes before bed.

To transition yourself from streaming to sleeping, turn off your streaming content at least 30 minutes before bed.

If you used to make a habit of watching streaming content right up until you fell asleep, replace binge-watching with a bedtime routine. In those 30 minutes before bed, fill your time with relaxing activities such as aromatherapy, meditation, reading, or taking a warm bath.

If you’ll be streaming content at night, make sure it’s of the less-stimulating variety. Opt for light-hearted comedies over intense dramas, so your nervous system has less to recover from during that 30 minutes before bed.

Our Methodology

We surveyed 1,394 Americans using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 80, with an average age of 34.56 percent of respondents identifying as female, and 43 percent identifying as male.

While our data does align with similar findings from the CDC regarding sleep quantity, it’s important to note that all of the data was self-reported. As a result, it’s subject to the typical biases and limitations inherent with self-reported data, such as selective memory, inaccurate estimation, and over- or under-exaggeration.

Additional Resources

Fair Use Statement

If you want to share this content with your audience, you’re welcome to do so. We just ask that you provide a link back to this page to credit us appropriately.

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