Research Suggests Gaming Before Bed Disrupts Sleep

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Research Suggests Gaming Before Bed Disrupts Sleep

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Teenage boys who play "fast-paced, violent" games at bedtime lose sleep, according to new study.

Do you have trouble sleeping? If you're a teenage boy and play video games before bed, there might be a connection. A study performed by the Sleep Laboratory at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia suggests that gaming before bed can lead to disruptive sleep patterns in teenage boys, even if they don't stay up any later than usual.

The study, which was conducted by Masters student Daniel King with supervision from child sleep psychologist Dr. Michael Gradisar, included 17 participants. On two different nights, the teenagers played a "fast-paced, violent video game" for 50 to 150 minutes in the Sleep Lab. Sleep and heart-rate readings were monitored, and the subjects were also asked for their subjective reports. As a result of the bedtime gaming sessions, participants had a 27-minute loss in total sleep time after 150 minutes of gameplay, a 39-minute delay in sleep onset, and frequent awakenings throughout the night. Those who played for more than two hours also experienced a 12-minute reduction in REM sleep.

"This may not seem like a significant reduction but REM plays an important part in helping us remember content we learned that day," Dr. Gradisar said of the results. "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."

Teens who played for only 50 minutes before bed didn't have trouble falling or staying asleep; "significant disruptions" were found after 150 minutes. The study didn't compare the effects of playing violent and non-violent games at bedtime, and the actual they played weren't specified. It's a little weird that teenage girls weren't included in the study as well, but since my nights of sneaking downstairs to the family computer to play EverQuest are long behind me, it's not something I'm particularly worried about.

And gamers, Dr. Gradisar isn't out to ruin your lives; he said "the aim of this investigation wasn't to assess the content of video games but to look at the effect of the worst possible thing to do before bed" for adolescents. "At the moment, less than one hour seems okay," he added. The results of the study have been accepted into the international Journal of Sleep Research.

Source: Medical Express via GamePolitics

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I thought it was supposed to be ANY screen activity that's bad to do before bed. Video games would be no exception, I would think.

Oh, studies. You so funny.

pretty sure this is common knowledge anyway... ah well, at least science has backed it up.

CAPTCHA: sick puppy. What the fuck captcha

I already suspected this, good thing I'm an adult which obviously means I'm not affected...

The study, which was conducted by Masters student Daniel King with supervision from child sleep psychologist Dr. Michael Gradisar, included 17 participants.

Ummm, is no one else going to point out how terrible the sample size is?
Because the sample size is nigh on abysmal.
Taking a handful of people is not what constitutes a proper study, you need at least a few hundred to have a certain degree of credibility, more if you're feeling sassy.

Wait, playing an adrenaline pumping activity just as your brain is trying to wind down will affect your sleep? Pretty sure most of us figured that out years ago...

I figured this out when I had a nightmare about being chased by a Big Daddy through a sinking cruise ship. And he also had accurately red eyes the entire time.

So that's why I never slept as a child.

Well, I fall asleep playing games (mainly when intoxicated, but that's beside the point)

I will still play games before bed! I have been playing Final Fantasy IX on my Vita every night for a week! I regret nothing!

Marter:
I thought it was supposed to be ANY screen activity that's bad to do before bed. Video games would be no exception, I would think.

Oh, studies. You so funny.

Any screen activity makes it harder to sleep, yes. Screen activity that gets your heart pumping, even worse. Screen activity that gets your heart pumping and your mind working: you're not going to bed any time soon. So yes, violent action games would logically make it harder to sleep... as would fast paced but non-violent puzzle games.

For that matter, anything that brings the ambient light level of the room up too high can make it harder to sleep. That's why screen activity in general is seen as a bad thing to do before sleep.

I could never fall asleep on time anyway =/

I am living proof of this. They could have just asked me and saved the money doing the research.

Interesting...because I totally never knew this before...

The 17 participants played a newly released...

Wait, 17? What a shit number of people that is. Well, let me tell you about MY "study" that took 20 people and we went on a three-day marathon at a LAN party and only 6 of us didn't make the full time. After that everyone got 6 hours of sleep and was ready to go again. This proves that humans don't actually need sleep at all except very sparingly and only for a few hours every other day.

I would like a headline now.

Owyn_Merrilin:

Marter:
I thought it was supposed to be ANY screen activity that's bad to do before bed. Video games would be no exception, I would think.

Oh, studies. You so funny.

Any screen activity makes it harder to sleep, yes. Screen activity that gets your heart pumping, even worse. Screen activity that gets your heart pumping and your mind working: you're not going to bed any time soon. So yes, violent action games would logically make it harder to sleep... as would fast paced but non-violent puzzle games.

For that matter, anything that brings the ambient light level of the room up too high can make it harder to sleep. That's why screen activity in general is seen as a bad thing to do before sleep.

Surprisingly I've never heard any of this, and I've been diagnosed with sleep disorders. Would screen activity even include reading from a tablet? Not sure if its the screen or the activity causing the issues.

Guess I gotta stop ending my night with Stewart and Colbert.

I never had any problems sleeping after a gaming session back when I was a teenager,
But well, who knows, maybe I just collapsed out of exhaustion...

The Hungry Samurai:

Owyn_Merrilin:

Marter:
I thought it was supposed to be ANY screen activity that's bad to do before bed. Video games would be no exception, I would think.

Oh, studies. You so funny.

Any screen activity makes it harder to sleep, yes. Screen activity that gets your heart pumping, even worse. Screen activity that gets your heart pumping and your mind working: you're not going to bed any time soon. So yes, violent action games would logically make it harder to sleep... as would fast paced but non-violent puzzle games.

For that matter, anything that brings the ambient light level of the room up too high can make it harder to sleep. That's why screen activity in general is seen as a bad thing to do before sleep.

Surprisingly I've never heard any of this, and I've been diagnosed with sleep disorders. Would screen activity even include reading from a tablet? Not sure if its the screen or the activity causing the issues.

Guess I gotta stop ending my night with Stewart and Colbert.

I am not a doctor, but I'm pretty sure it's mostly the whole staring-at-a-spotlight/trying-to-sleep-in-artificial-daylight thing. If you're using your tablet as an e-reader with an appropriately darkened theme (a standard one is dark blue text on a black background, you can't make out the text unless it's pitch black in the room) I don't see why it would be worse than reading a regular book.

The thing is, though, we're talking about stuff that probably doesn't make that big of a difference. It's fully possible to fall asleep while watching a movie with a sound system on full blast. I've done it. You're just less likely to do it than you are lying down in a darkened room. You're less likely to notice that you're tired in the first place, for that matter. For example, leaving me in a room with an open internet connection and no need to be up in the morning is a recipe for me going to bed when the sun rises XD

Edit: that said, if you've got a diagnosed sleep disorder, I have no idea how that would change things. Why don't you ask your sleep specialist about it? Or barring that, your general practitioner?

Who doesn't already know this?

This is why I usually avoid playing games after work, besides like, Minecraft or Tetris or something relaxing.

I already knew this. I try and relax leading up to when I plan on crashing.

I think this falls into a 'no shit' category of science.

Also we fund this. Ain't this a good feeling. Fuck these 'scientists'. Seriously.

What a surprise, intense mental activities right before bed make you lose sleep.

Give that man a Nobel Prize.

King of Asgaard:

The study, which was conducted by Masters student Daniel King with supervision from child sleep psychologist Dr. Michael Gradisar, included 17 participants.

Ummm, is no one else going to point out how terrible the sample size is?
Because the sample size is nigh on abysmal.
Taking a handful of people is not what constitutes a proper study, you need at least a few hundred to have a certain degree of credibility, more if you're feeling sassy.

The sampling size is terrible.. But playing fast paced shooters that get your adrenaline going immediately before you go sleep is hardly going to help you is it?

Honestly, he didn't even need a sampling size of 17. The guy could have just read an already existing book

This is something I've suspected for a long time but just secretly hoped my parents would never find out about >_>

but yes the 'sample size' issue that people are mentioning ITT is pretty legit also

Stop posting this propaganda.

This is Illuminati brainwash.

I propose a second study. If "video games" are indeed the "worst possible thing to do before bed", as this study "suggests", I propose we perform another study to find out which type, genre, or content of the game is the "worst of the worst" (so to speak). Then, compare the results across the board to this study's results to see if/how other activities compare.

I, for one, tend to sleep better and wake up more energized after playing Pokemon for an hour just before sleep compared to doing nothing, but find it more difficult to reach restful sleep after playing Golden Sun or Final Fantasy... something with a more intense story.

All we need is a massive laboratory with lots of EEG machines, loads of grant money, and a few hundred volunteers. If anybody happens to have any of those, a donation would be greatly appreciated.

EDIT: Captcha: "It's super delicious". Indeed it shall be, captcha. Indeed, it shall be.

My psychologist told me that, if I couldn't go to sleep, getting up and doing any hour of something - watching movies, reading a book, playing a videogame - would help make me more tired, so I could then fall asleep quicker.

So I guess your research is gonna contradict the advice of my psychologist, huh? What do you expect me to do now, as a patient? I guess I'll stop taking my brain medicine and <@UEAU3owaahhzhaw2786117 &dwkd& dha72 ffftztztztztz. zzzzzzt. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzt.

Uh, duh?

Didn't they previously conclude that "looking at a monitor or TV less than an hour before bed" was bad for your sleep patterns?

Good to see supporting evidence... I... guess?

This just in, the sky is blue. More at 11.

Seriously we've known this for years lol.

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What?

No real surprise there. Anything that makes the mind active before bed will keep it going. I do some graphic arts as a hobby, and if I am working before bed all my mind does is race. That is why TV is perfect before bed. Your mind is passive when watching TV. The only time I watch anything on my TV when I'm ready for bed. Now I can't even make it through a whole movie on a Friday night.

Marter:
I thought it was supposed to be ANY screen activity that's bad to do before bed. Video games would be no exception, I would think.

Oh, studies. You so funny.

That last line made me laugh.

But yeah, it is any screen activity that causes sleep disruption.

To this study: In other news, the sun will rise again and water is wet. Also, explosions are...boomy.

TheLazyGeek:
Interesting...because I totally never knew this before...

The 17 participants played a newly released...

Wait, 17? What a shit number of people that is. Well, let me tell you about MY "study" that took 20 people and we went on a three-day marathon at a LAN party and only 6 of us didn't make the full time. After that everyone got 6 hours of sleep and was ready to go again. This proves that humans don't actually need sleep at all except very sparingly and only for a few hours every other day.

I would like a headline now.

A Smooth Criminal:

King of Asgaard:

The study, which was conducted by Masters student Daniel King with supervision from child sleep psychologist Dr. Michael Gradisar, included 17 participants.

Ummm, is no one else going to point out how terrible the sample size is?
Because the sample size is nigh on abysmal.
Taking a handful of people is not what constitutes a proper study, you need at least a few hundred to have a certain degree of credibility, more if you're feeling sassy.

The sampling size is terrible.. But playing fast paced shooters that get your adrenaline going immediately before you go sleep is hardly going to help you is it?

Honestly, he didn't even need a sampling size of 17. The guy could have just read an already existing book

King of Asgaard:

The study, which was conducted by Masters student Daniel King with supervision from child sleep psychologist Dr. Michael Gradisar, included 17 participants.

Ummm, is no one else going to point out how terrible the sample size is?
Because the sample size is nigh on abysmal.
Taking a handful of people is not what constitutes a proper study, you need at least a few hundred to have a certain degree of credibility, more if you're feeling sassy.

No, it doesn't matter how large your sample size is as long as you have 95% certainty- where 95% of your test subjects fall in the first standard deviation of what you were testing. While sample size helps, it doesn't necessarily matter in the long run.

Learn how research actually works before you go shitting on it. There is no lab in the world that has the money to get a sample size of hundreds of people, so if you expect that you need a massive sample size to determine something, then you must think that basically every scientific paper put out ever is invalid.

All I know is I get alot of Tetris-effect, but it happens with everything I do before sleeping, not just videogames.

hmm then why do i sometimes fall asleep in my chair even when playing action games or damn near anything. plus i can sleep in a build where i need ear plugs and its still noisy

This is why the only games I play before bed are visual novels.

Makes sense. Any activity that involves continuous exposure to bright light and rapidly moving pictures would disrupt sleep, I'd think.

Quite a few issues with this study, the sample size was not of a sufficient size to properly determine accurate results that are verifiable, 25-30 would have been a better size for a smaller study as it allows for a greater margin of error, using one gender does not help all adolescents. Also it should have been state what game was being played not just calling it a "fast paced violent game" as there are heaps of those and they span across many genres from shooters to horror and more, the researcher also should have tested other types of video games, puzzler, RPG, platformer etc. to see how the body's REM cycle reacts to various types of games.

TLDR: It seems that the focus of the study was how long games were played, leaving out the factors of type of game, teenage female gamers, using only one type of game etc. Not exactly a totally comprehensive study is it?

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