Sydney: Teenagers wanting a good night’s rest should avoid prolonged video gaming, says a new study.
The study – conducted by masters student Daniel King at the Flinder’s University Sleep Lab – found that long hours of video gaming immediately before bed caused significant sleep disruptions in a group of teenage boys.
Participants played a newly-released, fast-paced, violent video game for either 50 or 150 minutes on two different nights in the Sleep Lab, with sleep and heart-rate monitors as well as subjective reports from the teenagers used to assess the arousing effects of prolonged gaming, the international Journal of Sleep Research said.
Flinders child sleep psychologist Michael Gradisar, who supervised the study, said there was a 27-minute loss in total sleep time after 150 minutes of gaming based on the polysomnography tests and a 39-minute delay in sleep onset according to the participants’ sleep diaries, according to a Flinder’s statement.
“While they went to bed at their regular bedtime, the adolescents’ still experienced significant sleep disruptions caused by frequent awakenings throughout the night,” Gradisar said.
“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,” he said.
“This may not seem like a significant reduction but REM plays an important part in helping us remember content we learnt that day so for adolescents in their final years of school who are revising for exams, winding down at night with a video game might not be the best idea.”
Gradisar said the teens who played for 50 minutes had almost no trouble falling or staying asleep, yet significant disruptions were reported after 150 minutes of game time.