Two Years Later, Aussie Sleep Researchers Now Say Gaming Before Bed Is Bad

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."

Research: Prolonged Gaming Before Bed is Not Good for Teenage Boys [Game Politics]


Comments

    I'm not super surprised that they found a lot of gaming before bed is disruptive to sleep.

    I find it difficult to switch off and relax if I've been playing something just before bed.

    It should be noted that the first study had teenagers playing COD4 in bed, while the second had teens playing a 'newly released, fast paced, violent video game' for '50-150 mins' (approx 1-2 and a 1/2 hours!) before going to bed (I assume at a normal tv or desk). If I was playing a new game, which was fast, violent, and sucked in my full interest for over 2 hours, and then had to get into bed, i'm pretty sure i'd be wired too! It'd be almost like going for a quick jog at night!

    It should be noted that someone is urinating in Mario's mouth whilst he sleeps.

      you made my day, rofl.

    Gaming before bed actually gets me more tired and makes me fall asleep very quickly (like 5-10min) and then I proceed to sleep for 8 hours without waking up at all. Certain things will always affect people differently.

    Really hard to judge the evidence without first seeing what the testing conditions were. It just seems to me there is a problem with the set up of using a "newly release, fact paced, violent video game" for the trial, since if it is new, and especially fast paced and violent, you'll probably more fired up than if you played a game you've played before and/or if it's non-violent. Additionally if the study was conducted at one night, you can't really tell if that was a short-term effect or if it will recur each time if you did it over successive weeks.

    The only reason it wrecks my sleep is because I game... And don't sleep :p but seiously... After a good sesh, I'm out like a light haha

    I've had a few conversations with doctors about sleeping issues. Their recommendations are similar. Do low key things that don't involve a lot of thinking (games involve more mental activity than movies) because your brain is going to continue thinking about it afterwards, even if you're not consciously thinking on it. Make sure you don't use your bed for anything other than sleep and sex otherwise your mind will associate it with "non-sleep" activities. (Similar to the advice that studying in the place you have the exam can help)

    Don't use back-lit devices just before sleeping and turn off the lights a little before you actually intend to sleep. Light plays an important part in cuing the release of melatonin which helps us sleep, and having lights on while sleeping, or preparing for sleep will break that. It may also be why prolonged gaming has an effect as well, because games have a lot of bright tones, so it's going to have more effect on you than just normal lights.

    I play games like Pokemon before bed. I get great sleeps, and some time to train my pocket monsters.

    Generally yes, although I've found playing Flower, Flow or Afrika after a long & late session helps.

    Before bed I prefer to rekindle my man to hand relationship

      There's something very satisfying about completing a co-op session. Can't quite put me finger on it though...

    I also like to train my squirtle while rubbing my pokeballs

    there's always Stilnox...

    lol fuck that i got a prescription for liquid melotonin and it tastes like vanilla

    yes it also depends on the games ur playing and how tired you are, if u play a heavy sound blasting action game, any kid would find it hard to sleep....
    but if u play a slow simulating game..... yeh that stuff will make u fall asleep instantly.
    one night i really wanted to replay ace attorney, turned on my ds for like 5mins then im out >.

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