Video games are a big deal. They've evolved from a niche hobby to a multi-billion dollar industry that sits firmly in the mainstream of society.
But despite their popularity, video games are a recent thing. And because of this, we don't have a fully developed understanding of "healthy gaming". Particularly as the hobby relates to sleep.
In this article, we're going to take a look at how gaming does influnece sleep, and what practices you can put in place to make sure that you, and the gamers you know, are getting the best rest possible.
How does gaming impact the physiology of sleep?
There have been a range of studies performed which investigated the way that games impact our night time rest. The conclusion was unanimous:
Pre-bed gaming is bad for you.
People who played games in the lead up to bed took longer to get to sleep and spent less time in deep sleep, resulting in tiredness, irritability and lack of concentration during the day.
An important point to note here, is that the impact on sleep came from pre-bed gaming. Not gaming in general.
The mental stimulation and blue light that comes from playing games right before shut-eye is what made a real difference here.
How does gaming impact the psychology of sleep?
Another finding from these studies was the simple but important fact that gamers would shun sleep for the sake of more play-time.
In addition to the direct impact of games on sleep, this means that people who play games in the evening are going to slep less because they want to play more.
While this might seem incredibly obvious, it's a factor that's often overlooked and one that's incredibly important to recognize to work out how to best solve the issue.
How can gamers sleep well?
The solution to both enjoy games and sleep well is simple: don't play games before bed.
If after dinner is the only free time you have to indulge in the hobby, then do so, but limit yourself. The hours leading up to bed should be free of games so that the mental stimulation, blue light and temptation to keep playing can all be avoided.
Sleep well, live well.