Call Of Duty Before Bedtime Not As Unhealthy As Feared

Parents, prepare to lose more arguments with your kids about late-night gaming. Teenagers, clip and save this post.

Researchers in Australia recently made teenagers play Call of Duty IV before bedtime - really twisted their arms, surely - and found that a 16-year-old's ability to fall asleep may only be slightly delayed by night-time gaming.

These are the findings of sleep scientists at Australia's Flinders University and published in the April 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Fourteen teenagers, average age of 16, needed less than 10 minutes more time to fall asleep after playing a game than they did after watching a movie. "Such an increase in unlikely to have any perceptible ramifications for adolescent sleep," the study states. The tests compared the teens' experience after finishing a 50-minute PlayStation 3 session of Call of Duty IV: Modern Warfare compared to the same amount of time spent watching a DVD of the documentary March of the Penguins.

This is good news for teenagers who want to shoot down parental arguments that staying up and playing games will make them too excitable to fall asleep quickly and get a good night's rest.

"Although presleep video-game playing negatively influenced adolescents' sleep initiation, the extent to which the results reflect a genuine impairment is questionable," the study states.

The researchers conducted multiple sessions over the course of a few weeks with each teen, subjecting them to both the Penguin-watching and the Modern-Warfare-fighting experiences. The teens had to get into a bed in a research facility, lights dimmed, body maintaining a semisupine posture while playing/watching. They had to allow their heart rate and "alpha power" - a gauge cognitive alertness - to be measured during breaks in the action/Penguins. Then, when the pre-sleep activity was done, each teen had to go to sleep, during which the "architecture of their sleep" was measured.

The study found no significant differences in physical or cognitive alertness from the movie watching compared to the game-playing. Of the nine teens measured for it, the "sleep architecture" of those who had just played games, a measure of the quality of their actual sleep, did not appear to be impaired, according to the study.

The Flinders researchers allow for some loopholes that parents might want to be aware of. They consider that different results could be found if less avid gamers had been studied and note that a related study of 13-year-olds did reveal more gaming-based impairment of sleep. Perhaps, the researchers speculate, getting older and playing more games improves a person's ability to fall asleep right after playing. Those studied were also all considered "good sleepers", the study notes, allowing for the possibility that poor sleepers could be more adversely affected by some nighttime Call of Duty.

"In a practical sense," the study concludes, "although presleep video-game playing may not be the destructive force many thought, the old adage 'everything in moderation' may presently be the best advice for parents of adolescents."

Also notable: Four of the teens in the study fell asleep while watching March of the Penguins. None conked out while playing Call of Duty.

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Comments

    Why not compare apples with apples, and have them watching Black Hawk Down and playing Modern Warfare?

    March of the Penguins? Seriously?

      Because otherwise the time it takes for them to sleep (if they watched Black Hawk Down and played Call of Duty) will be the same, and there will be no results gained from the study. They have to somehow compare exciting games to less exciting activities and see how much games excite them to cause them not to sleep.

      Dam right, March of the Penguins would HELP put them to sleep!

    They're 16 year olds. 16... You see where I'm going with this.... There's a special move they're hands have mastered on their controllers (yes they have little brains in there), which although messy, ensures a <1 minute drop of to sleep.

    Watching 16 year olds falling asleep is surely not going to be an accurate study. Mastabatory sleeping pills will surely not be undertaken whilst being watched. I was 16 once.

    Stop looking at me funny.

    Yeah to me it doesn't prove a thing. I know from personal experience that gaming can both help, and hinder sleep.

    Playing a game like COD would definately keep me up a bit longer due to the intensity of playing online, where as if i was to play heavy rain or another slower paced game, i'd drift off without a problem. Same goes with movies.

    50 whole minutes???

    I don't care if these results are "beneficial" arguments about gaming.

    14 teenagers in NOT a decent enough sample size.

    It proves absolutely nothing. The researchers were just looking for a way to implement some game time into a study...

    When I used to play a lot of L4D versus I had a lot of trouble getting to sleep afterwards, I think cuz of all the adrenaline or something. Its certainly a high tension game.

    Where do they DO these tests?

    I want to earn five bucks playing games

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