Shocker: Gaming Before Bed Affects Teen Sleep

Australia’s Flinders University has conducted a study that shows teens who play video games before bed experience sleeping problems. This news must come as a shock to people who thought that looking at bright flashy lights and absorbing adrenaline-soaked media just before heading off to sleep was as useful as drinking a pot of coffee, but apparently the conventional wisdom was wrong.

The study was conducted on 17 participants who, on two subsequent nights, played an unnamed, newly released, fast-paced, violent video game for a period of either 50 or 150 minutes. Subjects were connected to sleep and heart-rate monitors, and were also asked to provide their personal description of their experience to augment the machine test results. The study found that even if test subjects went to sleep at the normal time, they experienced problems achieving restful sleep. Overall, the study found that 150 minutes of play resulted in a loss of 27 minutes of sleep. Test respondents reported that it took them about half an hour longer to fall asleep on average.

“While they went to bed at their regular bedtime, the adolescents’ still experienced significant sleep disruptions caused by frequent awakenings throughout the night,” Dr Gradisar said. “Sleep is made up of many different stages and the REM sleep, also known as the dreaming sleep, was reduced by 12 minutes among the teens who played for over two hours,” he said. “This may not seem like a significant reduction but REM plays an important part in helping us remember content we learnt that day so for adolescents in their final years of school who are revising for exams, winding down at night with a video game might not be the best idea.”

Really, who would have thought that spending nearly 3 hours gaming until right before you go to bed would affect your ability to sleep? Not me! Why, I routinely drink a pot of coffee and a gallon of wine while playing video games for that length of time before bed, and I always get at least 3 hours of sleep!

Har har, anyway, obviously 3 straight hours of gaming is not something most teens are doing just before they go to bed. Typically it’s going to be a shorter period of time, and fortunately, that’s no big deal. As the study shows, people who gamed for 50 minutes or less had no sleep problems. So I think we can all stop freaking and put this little medical concern to bed. Oh, see what I did there? I must be sleepy.

Via Medical Xpress.

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1 Comment on Shocker: Gaming Before Bed Affects Teen Sleep

R-man

On October 23, 2012 at 6:59 pm

hahaha that’s awesome. I mean your article, not the study… People will do anything to try to make gaming sound so unhealthy… Why don’t they use the money for studies that will actually be helpful, rather than trying to tell us something that’s probably already a bit obvious (understatement)? Thanks for the amazingly sarcastic article, Ross. lol