How to Make Your Next Netflix Binge a Whole Lot Better for You

It's Saturday, and it's cold. And you just spent the last two days eating your weight in turkey. And turkey sandwiches. And pumpkin pie. And potatoes. So the best thing to do now is pull up the laptop and settle in for at least eight episodes of The Crown in a row.

Makes sense. You finished the new Gilmore Girls while eating leftover green-bean casserole yesterday, so it's time for a different female dynasty.

But four hours later, your arm has fallen asleep, your eyes are fuzzy and you've forgotten how to sit up properly. You also forgot to feed the cat, and to pick up your eldest daughter from soccer.

The dangers of binge-watching are real (and studies have linked the 21st century affliction to such conditions as blood clots, diabetes and poor eyesight). But don't worry, there are some simple things you can do to turn even the most marathon-y marathon into something healthier.

1. Gather some healthy snacks and a large dose of water.

It would be the easiest thing in the world to snack on sweet treats (or Thanksgiving leftovers) while you watch, but taking time before you start your binge to put some healthier snacks within reach will help minimize the mindless grazing issue.

Maybe some frozen grapes, or celery and hummus, or berries, nuts or even popcorn, depending on what you like. All of these things are one-hand-no-attention-required snacks perfect for a TV session, and they aren't going to wreak havoc on your diet. Keep a supply of water on hand to make sure you're staying hydrated (plus being forced to get up to pee will make you take breaks).

2. Rest your eyes regularly.

Eye damage caused by the blue lights emitted by our phones, computers and tablets is a real thing, and we should all take it seriously. Christopher Starr, an ophthalmologist at Weill Cornell Medical College, recommended to Vulture that bingers should pause every twenty minutes to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. He calls it the 20:20:20 rule, and it's here to save your vision from aging faster than the rest of you.

3. Incorporate the binge into your workout.

Maybe this one is a pipe dream, but if you can shift off the couch (or out of bed) and take your tablet to the gym with you, one episode of The Fall is going to give you a good hour-long workout on the treadmill, cross trainer or exercise bike.

The best part is you'll be so distracted by the goings on in Belfast you won't remember you're actually doing something healthy. Genius.

4. Make a plan and stick to it.

Don't just binge TV for 12 hours straight. If you really want to spend a solid chunk of your day bingeing, set aside a set amount of time—or pick a specific number of episodes—and stick to it. Here's the truth, the fifth episode of Luke Cage will still be there to watch when you get back from walking the dog, or coffee with your sister, or doing the laundry. Plus you might remember the experience a bit better if you're spacing it out, and not just mindlessly cramming it all in on one day.

5. Be social streamers.

Remember when TV was something you had to share? When there was just the one in the house and everyone would fight for the remote? You'd bribe your siblings to let you watch your favorites and have big family discussions about what was happening on Dawson's Creek? The social aspect of watching TV has virtually disappeared, but it helps to stop people watching for too long, or becoming too focused on a TV show at the expense of their relationships.

So maybe you and your friends all love House of Cards. Get together and make it a regular thing, where you watch a few episodes together and get in much needed quality time alongside much needed Claire Underwood time.


And there you go, if you're going to binge, by all means go ahead. Just binge smart.