Who doesn’t love a good Netflix binge? There’s nothing better than blocking out your day, ignoring any responsibilities and social commitments and gluing yourself to your couch for a Very Productive Day getting through every episode of 13 Reasons Why.
While some people call it lazy (remove these negative people from your life, pronto), we think watching a huge number of episodes in one hit is basically an art form, TBH.
Turns out science totally has our back on this one, with a researcher recently arguing there are benefits to binge-watching your fave shows for hours on end.
This is despite previous research that links binge-watching to depression.
In a surprising turn of events, Elizabeth Cohen, a communications professor at West Virginia University, says the behaviour can actually be good for you — but only if you indulge without feeling guilty.
She also notes that the improved quality of programming has made bingeing a lot healthier than it used to be, when previously it was mostly deemed as a “mindless experience”.
The combination of a good plot, quality acting, and complex twists and turns can provide a positive experience for the viewer.
“When individuals binge watch, they are thought to have what’s called a ‘flow experience,’” she explains. “Flow is an intrinsically pleasurable feeling of being completely immersed in a show’s storyline.”
But having fun isn’t the only benefit ascribed to bingeing. Apparently, it can also make you more intelligent, according to New York Times’ Steven Johnson. He argues the increasingly complex nature of modern television can make viewers more sophisticated.
So next time you feel you feel guilty for watching 10 hours straight of Riverdale, just tell yourself it’s more or less as healthy as going to the gym (OK, that last part might be pushing it).