Study Shows 63% of People are Genetically Wired to Binge-Watch
Why streaming took off so much faster than regular TV
Do you find yourself binge-watching shows late into the night? I’m not talking about that one time you just had to finish the latest season of Game of Thrones and stayed up a little bit later than you should have. I’m talking about binge-watching almost every night, to the point of your sleep being severely affected.
If this sounds like you, you may have the binge-watch gene variant. According to a recent genetic study conducted by the DNA Company, 63% of people are genetically wired to binge-watch. They find it almost impossible to say no to “just one more episode.”
Binge-watching can have unsettling consequences, including disrupted sleep patterns, time management issues, and mental health problems. If you have the binge-watch gene variant, it might be time for you to set some limits so you can live a more fulfilled life.
Your pleasure response
There are two types of pleasure responses that people tend to lean towards. Chances are you’re genetically predisposed to fall into one of these groups. Of course, that doesn’t mean you don’t have control over your behavior. It simply means you need to be aware of your tendencies so you can take steps to bring yourself into balance.
The first type of pleasure response corresponds to someone who requires a lot to feel pleasure. They tend to be thrill-seekers and risk-takers who are always looking for something to increase their excitement. In extreme cases, they can lean towards addiction to pornography, alcohol, and drugs because they think those things are the only way for them to feel pleasure.
The second type of pleasure response is found in people who easily experiences intense pleasure from something. This drives them to continue doing that behavior, such as binge-watching, because they love the feeling of pleasure they experience. Those who have this pleasure response can also struggle with addictions, but the reason is usually different.
The binge-watch gene variant
It’s no surprise that streaming has taken off so much faster than regular TV. People love being able to binge-watch an entire season (or series) without having to wait for episodes to be released each week. And since 63% of people have the binge-watch gene variant, streaming has become a daily activity almost as common as brushing your teeth.
The DRD2 gene determines how many dopamine receptors you have. If you have the low-density version of this gene, you won’t have as many dopamine receptors. This makes you more prone to the addictive pleasure response we talked about. Having the maximum density of dopamine receptors, on the other hand, gives you the binge-watch gene variant.
There is another gene that can enhance your tendency to binge-watch even more. The COMT gene allows you to metabolize dopamine either quickly or slowly. If you have the fast version, you’re likely to experience pleasure for very short periods of time because the dopamine is gone as quickly as it came. Having the slow version of the COMT gene lets you experience pleasure for longer, which can drive you to binge-watch because you’re unable to let go of that feeling.
How to stop binge-watching
While binge-watching is now seen as normal in our society, that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. In fact, research shows a positive correlation between binge-watching and depression. There are numerous other health issues that have been tied to binge-watching as well.
If you’re a binge-watcher, none of this is news to you. Do you ever feel great about yourself after spending an entire Saturday binge-watching a new show? Sure, you might feel good while you’re watching...but afterwards you probably get stressed about not using that time to clean the house, exercise, or take a much-needed nap.
The bottom line is that you need to reduce binge-watching as much as possible. Here are some tips you can try to break this destructive habit.
1. Set limits on your apps
Planning to watch only one episode doesn’t mean much when you get to the cliffhanger at the end of the episode. Do yourself a favor and set limits on your streaming apps so you can’t binge-watch all night. Third-party apps such as Freedom and StayFocusd allow you to set a daily limit on each app so you can’t access it after that limit is reached. This is also helpful for perpetual scrollers and TikTok addicts.
2. Develop a reward system
Trust me, you’ll feel much better if you binge-watch after your huge project is finished than if you do it before. Allow yourself to watch one or two episodes each time you complete a difficult or important task. Finished the laundry? Watch while you fold. Done with work for the day? Treat yourself to an episode to help you unwind before you cook dinner.
3. Find an exhilarating hobby
If binge-watching is the only thing that’s triggering your dopamine receptors, you’re much more likely to continue doing it. You need to find a healthy hobby that can help you feel that pleasure response in a different way. Try hiking, scuba diving, or rock climbing to get your adrenaline pumping.
4. Exercise and eat healthy while you watch
One of the main dangers of binge-watching is the sedentary lifestyle it promotes. Curling up on the couch with a bag of chips and your favorite show is one thing. Exercising and eating healthy while you watch is another. Pause your show every 10 minutes to do 10 push-ups, or find yoga poses that you can do while watching. Prepare a healthy meal before you start watching so you’re not tempted to eat junk food.
5. Turn off autoplay
You know how Netflix automatically plays the next episode before you even have a chance to turn it off? That setting can be turned off easily on most streaming platforms. When you switch off autoplay, you can make a conscious decision whether or not you want to keep watching rather than having it forced on you.
Are you wondering whether you’re genetically predisposed towards binge-watching? The best way to find out is by decoding your genes through our 360 DNA Report. You’ll discover whether you have the binge-watch gene variant as well as 37 other custom reports surrounding sleep, diet, nutrition, hormones, fitness, cardiovascular health, immunity, and behavior.
Each custom report includes your genetic tendencies as well as practical steps you can take to optimize your health and wellness. You are a unique individual, and you deserve health strategies that reflect your unique genome. Get started today.
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