We’ve all heard the advice that sleeping is good for our health. Sleeping early and getting good quality sleep are known as great ways to keep healthy and to have a regular lifestyle. We all know that sleep is of utmost importance to our health, since both our physical and mental health relies on good quality sleep to recharge and to function well. For individuals who require large amounts of physical energy, like professional athletes who play competitive sports, sleep is extremely important. When athletes get an adequate and good quality of sleep, it helps to boost performance and aid recovery, But what about gaming? Gaming requires long periods of focus and can be draining mentally. So how does gaming affect sleep?
Does gaming really affect sleep quality?
Gaming has been associated with many bad habits and lifestyle traits— sitting too much for prolonged periods of time, lack of exercise, poor eating habits, and of course affecting sleep by staying up late frequently. Although these poor and unhealthy habits apply to gamers, they can also be caused by other factors. Yet, most people see gaming as an unhealthy lifestyle choice that leads to bad habits, including affecting sleep. Despite limited research, results have suggested that gaming before bedtime can disrupt REM sleep, which we also know as deep sleep, although there are also reasons beyond gaming that affects our sleep cycles and its quality. To decrease the negative effects of gaming, it is helpful to use the best gaming equipment, like the best razer gaming mouse for instance; this will enhance the gameplay experience as well.
How it disrupts sleep
So how does gaming really disrupt and affect our sleep? As mentioned earlier, it seems that limited research has been done. Furthermore, most of the studies and research conducted mainly target children and teens due to the fact that they are “most likely” to the game before sleeping. However, in reality, many adults also engage in gaming and often stay up to game right till the moment before bed. Therefore, the results may not be entirely accurate and may not be entirely reflective of how gaming can disrupt sleep.
In fact, a study conducted in 2010 had suggested that gaming before bed did not have negative effects on sleep for its participants. The study conducted in Australia had sampled 13 male youths and found that gaming may not affect sleep as heavily as previously thought.
Two years later, the same team that conducted the study in 2010 launched another study. This time around, the research made participants play “violent video games” before bed to see if the results were similar. The results from 17 participants turned out to be different from 2010. It found that engaging in “violent video games” right before bed for at least two hours can almost double the time it takes to fall asleep, disrupting and interrupting natural sleep cycles.
Although the research has done thus far is limited and may not be entirely accurate, we cannot take the results lightly and dismiss it entirely. The fact is that gaming is extremely interactive and requires high amounts of concentration from participants for a long period of time. When talking about going to bed, we often think about winding down and relaxing, and gaming is definitely not an option that belongs to either. Gaming may affect our sleep cycles in ways that we have yet to realize.
What you should do for better sleep
If you are having trouble falling asleep on a regular basis, you should definitely avoid gaming before bed since it is highly interactive and mind stimulating. In essence, if sleep is your priority, you definitely should not game before bedtime in order to get good quality sleep. However, if you’re a competitive gamer, avoiding gaming at night is easier said than done.
For many competitive gamers, they often do not have a choice on whether they can avoid gaming at night. For gamers that are playing in competitive leagues and small online tournaments, they often have to play deep into the night or even early into the morning as part of the competition. This is because online gaming competitions take place all over the world and teams compete with other teams from across the globe.
If a gamer is looking to up his rank and climbs ladders, the best time to do it may end up being late at night or at different times. For a North American gamer, two in the morning may be the best time to climb their ranks quickly and efficiently. If players want to move up the ranks quickly and make progress in-game, they may have to sacrifice sleep and choose to game at wee hours in the morning to seize the opportunities. This undoubtedly results in irregular sleeping schedules and lifestyles. Most, if not all, know that sleep is important for our health and we should sleep early and follow a regular schedule. Yet, for competitive gamers, they may not have the option to choose sleep and may have to game right up until bedtime.
Benefits of sleep
This is really straightforward. It is general knowledge that sleep is good for our bodies and we should get plenty of it for a healthy body and a clear mind. For competitive gamers, quality sleep will not only ensure that you stay in your top condition for your mental and physical health, it actually helps you to focus better and for longer periods of time. Getting good quality sleep can even result in weight loss for some competitive gamers since it prevents hunger especially late at night. Sleeping enough for adults, like seven to nine hours of a deep sleep, also recharges the brain and can help gamers pick up strategies and tactics easier compared to when on low levels of sleep.
In conclusion, we all know that sleep is important for our bodies and minds. It helps us to focus on and recharges the body when it is resting. If you are thinking of getting good quality sleep, you should definitely avoid gaming before bed since gaming is highly interactive and mind stimulating, leading to a longer time required to fall asleep and thus disrupting your natural sleep cycle.