Gaming Instead Of Sleeping Makes You Tired

A research study at the University of Arkansas has indicated that excessive gaming interferes with sleep. Thank goodness that mystery has finally been solved.

Research studies sound like a great deal of fun. You get to arbitrarily assign values and definitions and then cull data based on those arbitrary assignments in order to get obvious answers! Take this University of Arkansas study, which was presented at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies on Monday, surveyed 137 students - 87 females and 50 non-females, you know, to preserve balance...somehow. They then separated the results for excessive gamers from the casual or non-gamers, defining excessive as those who spend more than 7 hours a week playing computer games or using the internet.

My mother spends over seven hours a week using the internet. By this study's standards, my mom is hardcore.

Principal investigator Amanda Woolems indicated that previous research has determined that excessive gamers spend less time in bed. True, though I'd say that depends on the frequency of save points in whatever game I might be playing at the time and whether or not I've fallen asleep in my recliner. This study's findings?

"Our statistics revealed that those who admitted addiction scored higher on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (sleepiness)," said Woolems. "It surprised us, however, that of the people who admitted being addicted to gaming, only about a third of them recognized an interference with their sleep."

The Epworth Sleepiness Scale is based on a test in which you rate your likeliness to fall asleep in several different situations, such as reading a book, watching television, or stopped at a particularly long intersection. It's the sort of scale I'm surprised doesn't come into play more often, like when you're calling in sick for work. "Sorry, I'm about a 22 on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale boss."

As for the results, one has to look at the numbers to have them make more sense. The study found that only 12.6 people admitted to being addicted to gaming, while 10.81 reported that gaming interfered with their sleep. That's 17 and 15 people, rounded up. One also has to keep in mind that they are polling university students on their sleep habits, and basing their findings against the American Academy of Sleep Medicine's recommendation that adults get 8 hours of sleep per night and adolescents get 9. I'd say that to the vast majority of us, those numbers are a bit unrealistic. Eight hours of sleep is what I get if I pulled an all-nighter the previous evening. From what I remember of my college days...well let's just say I don't remember much, probably due in part to lack of sleep.

In case you were interested, those 15 people who reported that gaming interfered with their sleep spend 1.6 hours less than other gamers, while those 17 who claimed to be "addicted" slept one hour less on weekdays. To put that into perspective, between work gaming and recreational gaming, I probably average about 5 to 6 hours per night, though I generally average less during the weekdays, making up for lost sleep by falling asleep at particularly busy intersections.

Anyway, the study still stands. Excessive gaming, especially gaming that interferes with sleep, can make you tired...as can excessive listening to music, excessive watching of entire seasons of Weeds at 2am, and excessively writing up the results of research studies.

Excessive Gaming Associated With Poor Sleep Hygiene And Increased Sleepiness [Science Daily via CVG]