Box set "binge-watching" of television series is leaving millions of people short of sleep, a report has found.

Increasing numbers of viewers are staying up late because they lack the willpower to press the off button. The situation is being made worse by on-demand TV and streaming services.

Nearly one in ten habitually watch television until midnight, the report by research company Trajectory says. The proportion has almost doubled since the turn of the millennium, when TV series came in DVD boxed sets. While DVDs require people to get up and replace the disc, streaming services like Netflix screen the next part of a series automatically as one finishes.

The survey said nine per cent of people watched TV until midnight last spring, compared with five per cent in 2000.


The online poll of more than 2,000 people found that growing numbers of people routinely stay up into the early hours.

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In 1974, 95 per cent of the population was asleep by 1.30 in the morning. By 2011 this had dropped to 85 per cent, leaving nearly one in six people still awake at that time, according to the research.

Although fewer people have traditional working hours - only one in six start work by 9am - those who wake later have not caught up on lost sleep from the night before.

Psychologist Jo Hemmings said: "We are in real danger of losing sleep and quality time with our families to the all-seeing eye in the corner of the living room. Remember that TV series are designed to get us hooked and keep us watching. Set an episode quota and stick to it."

- Daily Mail