Study: What’s The Best TV Show For A Good Night’s Sleep?

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As you all know, we cover everything fandom and community-related – whether that’s video games, movies, or TV shows. That being said, we like to always explore why people love specific fandoms, how they engage with fandoms of their choice, and general habits around them.

It’s a known fact that people love to indulge in their favorite TV show before heading to bed.

So when we surveyed our community on this, it was no surprise to see that 91% of respondents regularly watch TV before bed, with 67% of people watching between the hours of 6pm – 12am.

Speaking to our community, the main reasons that people watch TV before bed are that it helps people to unwind (87%), people feel like they get a better night’s sleep after watching TV (84%) and that for many before bed is the most convenient time to watch TV (71%).

With this in mind, we decided to dig a little deeper and conduct a more in depth study of how watching television before bed can affect sleep quality, and the TV shows that result in the best night’s sleep, for all you late night binge watchers!

The 20 best shows to watch for a good night’s sleep, ranked in order, are:

  1. Sex Education
  2. Ozark
  3. The Crown
  4. Daredevil
  5. Black Mirror
  6. Cobra Kai
  7. Bridgerton
  8. Peaky Blinders
  9. Stranger Things
  10. Arrested Development
  11. Money Heist
  12. Russian Doll
  13. Top Boy
  14. The Umbrella Academy
  15. Dark
  16. The Last Kingdom
  17. Love, Death & Robots
  18. You
  19. BoJack Horseman
  20. Pieces of Her

Now, here’s where the science comes in…

To conduct the study, a total of 50 participants were given 20 shows to watch for a 20-day period, based on the list of the most popular Netflix shows of all time, according to IMDB*. Each participant was asked to choose one show per night to watch for one hour, before hooking themselves up to an electroencephalography (EEG) machine and going to sleep.

In addition to having their EEG results recorded, participants were also asked to complete a questionnaire the morning after watching each show.

The questionnaire asked a variety of questions including which show they watched before bed, how easy it was to fall asleep, how they felt after waking up, how well they slept, if they were still tired and if they remember having any dreams or nightmares.

Upon receiving the EEG results for all 50 participants from the full 20-day period, we worked with sleep experts to find out which shows resulted in the most restful sleep by assessing the percentage of sleep spent in the ‘deep sleep stage’ (a.k.a. NREM 3**) and ranked the shows accordingly. Those rankings were then compared to questionnaire results, which resulted in the final ranking.



Drama shows on the whole (including crime dramas, historical dramas and romantic dramas) seemed to improve sleep quality the most, with this genre resulting in the highest percentage of deep sleep and the best questionnaire results in total.

Comedy shows, however, provided very mixed results among participants; while Sex Education and Arrested Development put our viewers straight to sleep, other comedies on the list like Russian Doll aand BoJack Horseman did not fare so well. In fact, BoJack Horseman scored the lowest on the questionnaire ranking, with a high number of viewers even having nightmares and disturbed sleep after watching the show.

Although slower paced shows like The Crown and Bridgerton didn’t necessarily provide widely varied EEG results, participants largely reported feeling more well rested after watching them, with some even reporting feeling more ‘upbeat’ the morning after watching them. Perhaps a healthy mix of scandal and history is a recipe for the perfect slumber.

While we can’t say for definite why these shows resulted in a good night’s sleep (or the opposite, in some cases) we can say that whether you’re simply looking for your next show to binge, or you’re on the hunt for the perfect slumber inducing series, it’s worth giving the list above a try! Who knows, maybe your dreams will come true!


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