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Stranger Than Fiction

Watching suspenseful TV before bed helps people to fall asleep faster

Published:Thursday | January 26, 2023 | 8:57 AMBANG Bizarre

Scientists from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland have disproved the theory that gripping thrillers are the wrong thing to watch late at night.

The researchers recruited 50 adults who watched TV before going to sleep in a laboratory. Half watched tense Netflix programmes such as 'How to Get Away With Murder' while the others saw the sustainable energy documentary 'Islands of the Future'.

Suspenseful programmes are more interesting and meant viewers were less likely to feel "frustration, sadness or anger" after watching – emotions that could delay sleep onset.

However, viewers are advised to avoid too many cliffhangers as they cause a spike in heart rate.

The study concluded: "While watching suspenseful TV series before sleep did not impair sleep quality in our study, we would still recommend to restrict the time of media use to allow for sufficient, age-adequate sleep opportunities, which are important for optimal health and cognitive functioning."


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