Internet searches for insomnia treatments and remedies have significantly increased after the debut of Netflix’s The Watcher.
The Watcher has had such an impact on viewers, many of whom report difficulty sleeping and sleep anxiety, that internet searches for insomnia cures have increased by a startling 567% since the show’s release on Netflix, according to research by Happy Beds and sleep psychologist Dr. Katherine Hall at Somnus Therapy.
“Nightmares are predominantly caused by stress and horror films are designed specifically to heighten emotions,” Hall said regarding the effect of scary movies on people’s sleeping patterns. “They use psychological tricks to create illusions of suspense and danger which cause stress and anxiety. We then bring this stress to bed with us making our brains unable to relax and switch off.”
She continued, “Those dealing with anxiety and trauma may feel that these fears are intensified, but that is just the body’s flight or fight response being triggered. Try leaning into those feelings, as feel-good hormones such as dopamine and serotonin are also released as a response which can boost your mood after the nerves have settled.”
Hall asserts that avoiding stimulants like caffeine or sugar, developing a night routine, talking through the movie with friends afterward, and watching something lighthearted to decompress are the best strategies to handle the sleep anxiety brought on by terrifying movies.
Comprised of seven hour-long episodes, The Watcher is based on an article by Reeves Wiedeman titled, “The Haunting of a Dream House,” based on a screenplay by Brennan. The series was directed by Paris Barclay, Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman.