Two years ago, sleep researchers at Flinders University found that playing video games before bed was indistinct from watching a movie, in terms of the good night's rest a teenager would have after either. This week researchers at the same university said that "prolonged gaming" before bed is disruptive to that longtime childhood remonstration, getting a good night's sleep.
It's not exactly the same thing: In the first study, scientists determined simply that video games didn't disrupt sleep more than watching movies. In the second, they're saying only that, duh, playing a lot of video games right before bedtime — even if you're not staying up late — isn't particularly conducive to sleeping through the night. Participants in the latest study lost on average 27 minutes of sleep and took 39 minutes more to get to sleep.
"While they went to bed at their regular bedtime, the adolescents still experienced significant sleep disruptions caused by frequent awakenings throughout the night," said one researcher. "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."
Still, the 2010 study suggested that gaming before bed wasn't an inherently bad idea. Now, yeah, the same university is saying it is. Which I suppose is an extension of common sense. Researchers said the study was content-agnostic; that is, it didn't matter if they were playing violent video games or some other type of game. "At the end of the day we want to better understand what affects adolescents' sleep," said Dr. Michael Gradisar, who supervised the study. "At the moment, less than one hour [of gaming before bed] seems OK."