Video Games Affect Sleep

Wednesday 21st April 2010

New research shows that playing a video game before going to bed can causes gamers to stay awake for longer. Research published in the April issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine shows that male adolescents take almost twice as long to fall asleep after playing a video game than after watching a calming documentary.

Researchers at Flinders University Sleep Laboratory in Australia studied the sleep patterns of 13 adolescent males aged between 14 and 18 years of age. The participants kept a detailed sleep diary before commencing the study. During the study the sleepiness and rapid eye movement of the young men were assessed in order to document the changes in their sleep patterns caused by video-gaming. Researchers found that participants took over seven minutes, on average, to fall asleep after playing violent video game Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, but only took 3 minutes to fall asleep after watching documentary the March of the Penguins. Researchers also noted that whilst some participants fell asleep during the documentary screening, none fell asleep whilst gaming. Researchers, however, are surprised by the results - they had expected sleep to be further disturbed by playing violent video games prior to bedtime.

Scientist are keen to carry out further research on the subject as they are concerned that the study may not fully reveal the link between sleep disturbance and video-gaming. Participants in the study were all good sleepers who were able to fall asleep easily, regularly, however researchers believe that video gaming immediately before bed may have a greater disturbance on individuals who experience more difficulty falling asleep generally. The team are also eager to measure the sleep disturbance video gaming has on even younger adolescents whose sleep patterns may be more subject to change and disturbance.

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