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Binge-watching too much TV? Here’s how to cut back

A couple of months into the COVID-19 lockdown and you’ve probably got binge-watching down to a science. You’ve calculated your watch time and memorized when all your favorites air and when new content is coming out.

With little to no interaction with others outside your home, you have racked up some serious OT with your TV and might be going a little stir crazy. Tap or click for five ways tech can help you stay sane while you stay at home.

While you can easily find the latest scoop on TV content to help you maintain your binge-watching status, there’s little info about how unhealthy this habit can be. But, common sense tells you hours and hours of being a couch potato isn’t good. Here’s how you can cut back the time you spend in front of the tube.

The dangers of binge-watching

Like everything in life, moderation is key. This is especially true with TV watching.

Health experts warn that too much television time can be dangerous to your overall health and well-being. Research shows long-periods of inactivity, aka watching the tube, can affect your vision, sleep patterns and cardiovascular system.

In addition, sedentary behavior increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, Type-2 diabetes, and deep-vein thrombosis (a blood clot in the leg), all of which can be fatal.

RELATED: Best apps for managing your TV binge-watching

Autoplay is not your friend

Thanks to the Autoplay feature on most sets, it’s easy to seamlessly go from episode to episode with zero effort on your part. Convenient, yes, healthy, no.

If you can’t pull away from the TV while your show is on, disable the Autoplay feature altogether as a reminder it’s time to get up off the sofa between episodes to move around. Even a few minutes is beneficial.

Create a block of TV time

Just like limiting screen time for kids, adults often need a reminder to step away from the tube. Instead of binge-watching most of the day, schedule a block of time to watch a show or two, but not enough to get sucked back into an all-day bender.

RELATED: Find out how you can manage your kids’ screen time

Use a daily planner, the calendar app on your mobile device or smart assistant to create a schedule for TV watching and make it easier to back away from the television and focus on other activities.

Set a sleep timer

If you have trouble getting up from a TV binge and going off to bed, set the sleep timer on your television or a sleep timer on your smartphone. Once set, the sleep timer on your TV will automatically shut off the screen after a specified time.

What if your television doesn’t have a sleep mode? Use a sleep timer app, like Sleep Time+, which is free (ad-supported) and is available for both Android and iOS, as a reminder it’s time for bed.

Another option if your TV doesn’t have a sleep feature is to plug your TV into a smart plug that will turn off your set at a designated time.

Use a life reminder

When a habit like watching TV consumes most of your day, time spent participating in other activities with family and friends becomes less and less. Even with a pandemic going on, you can find plenty of hobbies and activities around your home that will keep you active, involved and healthy.

If you’re an Android user, try the Life Reminders app. You can set it up to remind you to do all kinds of things however small or set it up to display motivational messages.

Although not as subtle as the Life Reminders app, the CARROT To-Do app for iOS will get you moving. It’s a to-do list with a snarky personality. You don’t perform an activity on the list, CARROT will let you hear it!

TV time has been a great way to help make it through this pandemic but it’s time to start being more active, wouldn’t you say?

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