Gaming Before Bedtime Could Be Ruining Your Sleep

Texting, watching television, and playing games before bed could be responsible for 63 per cent of Americans not getting enough sleep. The latest study from the National Sleep Foundation has experts suggesting an electronics curfew an hour before bedtime.

It's sad that I'm not sure what I would do in the hour before I go to bed without some sort of electronic stimulation. I've either got Netflix running on the iPad on my bedside table, some sort of game on my DSi, iPhone, or Windows Phone 7, or I simply wait until I'm too tired to play on a console or PC before collapsing into bed.

Sad, but I am not alone. According to the annual Sleep in America poll, which surveyed 1508 people between the ages of 13 and 64, 95 pe rcent of Americans use some sort of electronic device in the hour before they fall asleep. Folks over the age of 30 are watching television in bed. Those under 30 are gaming or texting.

While the study isn't claiming to establish a link between electronics use and poor sleep, it does have many experts concerned with the effect of these bright devices during the time we should be winding down for the day.

"Falling asleep isn't like flicking a switch. We don't put our heads on the pillow and fall off to sleep," said Allison G. Harvey, a sleep specialist and professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley. "We take time to wind down at night. If we've got bright light conditions, we're not giving ourselves a chance to get off to sleep and stay asleep."

It could be the bright light keeping us awake. Dr Matt Travis Bianchi, a sleep specialist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, suggests sleepers that can't escape the glow of a computer or television try using dampening glasses to dim the light artificially.

Bianchi also suggests that if the problem isn't light, it could be the anxiety of receiving an anger-inducing email just before bed. I'd imagine the frustration of being unable to complete a video game level or anger over someone being wrong on the internet (it happens!) would have the same effect.

Harvey recommends folks take 30-60 minutes an evening to simply wind down. I'm not sure what winding down would entail. Perhaps listening to soothing music in the dark, sipping at some sleepy time tea and reflecting on the day.

Sounds terrifying, doesn't it?

Using Electronics Before Bed May Hamper Sleep [U.S. News & World Report]

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Comments

    That's not entirely implausible.

    Geez I could even start reading books of an evening again...

    What about reading a good old book under the light of a beside table?

    That's it electronic junkies, here is the solution: no need to put down your electronic device before bed, we can read an eReader before sleeping, no glowing screen but still your favorite bunch of plastic and pcb :p

    I have to agree with this based on my own experience. I find that I get to sleep much easier, and sleep better, if I spend 30 minutes or so before bed doing something other than watching TV or playing games. It doesn't need to be 30 minutes with out electronics (because who could handle that) but just something a little more "passive" and darker. I often spend this time either reading on my eReader or listening to an audio podcast.

    I'll have to disagree on my behalf. When I play a game in bed it makes 'me super tired, so I turn it off and fall asleep. And then I have an epic game. Just woke up to the a dream where the world needed to be flipped over to stop demons from entering it. Though 1 guy ('me) had to stay behind. Though the rest of the world was trying to help 'me get back home.
    Crazy eh?

    Does a Ebook count? lol

    I don't often game before bed, as (depending on the game) it will make it harder for me to sleep. Games like COD or Battlefield always get me amped up, and its definatley hard to sleep afterwards, but then there is others that I find sleep no problem, usually RPG's.

    where did that picture come from, is there plans to build that??

      found it...

    Interesting, 'cause the last study like this based on young kids playing FPS style games like Call of Duty showed that the "gaming" group only took about 18mins longer to fall asleep from the control.

    Gotta tell you, 18mins isn't a whole lot.

    I find that watching a video on my laptop or something before bed helps me get to sleep. Especially if it is something I've already seen. The backlight/volume are usually down pretty low, too.

    Simple handheld games (ie. Pokemon/anything that doesn't rely on reaction times) are alright as well.

    I'm not American so this study doesn't apply to me ;)

    Sometimes I read in bed, sometimes not but i rarely if ever play videogames in bed just prior to sleep. Movies on the other hand I watch on occasion in bed. Most of the time it puts me to sleep.

    Would laugh so hard if that TV came away from its mountings and landed on that dude's face. He'd be catching on some of that sleep he missed out on.

      That would be well funny. I bet his mum is just in the next room and would answer his face-mashed squeals as he is clearly a 30-something living at home.

      A grown man who takes the time to set up a rig like that but won't take the time to make the single bed. Clearly he needs to get out more.

      A good shot to the noggin may do him some good.

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