How Can Playing Video Games Affect Sleep?

by Joshua Welker on Oct 9, 2017 11:28:18 AM



Ask any gamer and he or she will admit to losing sleep over a video game at least once. What’s more, they will proudly claim that it’s worth it. CBS News reported a study that found 1000 gamers were willing to skip a good night’s rest to continue playing games.

While people who play video games may suffer from sleep deprivation, the blame can’t be placed on video games alone. When it comes to enumerating the reasons why you can’t sleep, one obvious culprit is the brain. In a previous 4Sleep post, it was mentioned that the mind is still active while you’re snoozing. But it also impacts how well you sleep, especially if you are going through mental stress.

External elements may also be the reason. Harvard Medical School iterated that light in the evening influences the timing of your internal body clock, resulting in disruptive sleeping pattern. They also explained how medications and stimulant substances can affect the quality of sleep. Even with these factors, many believe that video games themselves have a bad effect on your quality of shut-eye.

Flinders University discovered that teenage boys who played for long hours experienced disruptive sleep, even when they went to bed at the usual time. Playing a video game can evoke an array of feelings like joy, anger, fear, sadness, and pride. Of course, this isn’t unique only to video games; movies and music can do the same. But unlike those forms of media, video games are interactive. You can have a song or a movie play in the background and you will still appreciate it. But you can’t enjoy a video game without actively participating in it. Because of all this worked up stimulation right before hitting the hay, the Z’s tend to decrease. Despite this, playing video games before bedtime is not a completely bad idea.

According to an interview The Verge did with researcher Jayne Gackenbach, hardcore gamers tend to experience lucid dreaming. What is more fascinating is that gamers have more control over what takes place in their dreams. That’s understandable, because dreams and video games are both alternate realities. By being invested in the dream, you go into a deep state of slumber, which naturally improves your quality of sleep. An interesting point to note is that the same study by Flinders revealed that the subjects encountered no problems in sleeping after 50 minutes of game time. If this is the case, the key then is to simply regulate your hours of gaming.

To help with sleep quality however, the type of video game should be considered. Of course, notoriously difficult games like the hack-and-slash titles Dark Souls and Nioh are out of the question. The frustration will only stress you out. Similarly, you shouldn’t go for games that require physical activity. Too many rounds of Just Dance will only increase your adrenaline in your body. The best option is to go for casual games with Science Daily specifying that casual games such as slots played on smartphones are a great way to combat stress at work and help people sleep at night. Due to these types of games not being too strenuous, the lighthearted nature of their gameplay helps players forget about their stress. The Slingo gaming portal has a number of mobile-friendly slot titles that have simplistic gameplay, which mean players can play on-the-go whether it’s at the end of their daily commute or just before they retire to bed. Because this type of game isn’t particularly demanding it may even help you calm down.

It is generally known that a relaxed state easily induces sleep, so if certain games can aid in achieving this, go for it. This is especially helpful for adult gamers, who experience a lot of stress from work and other work-related problems. The bottom line is, spending time on video games doesn’t necessarily equate to a “game over” for sleep. The ideal scenario is to not play them right before bedtime, but if that isn’t a choice, compromises like the ones previously mentioned can still be made so that everyone can doze off happy.



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