Select & Compare Top UK Mattresses
Close button
Header burger open
Search Logo

Jump To

Currently Viewing:

Stop Playing Video Games Before Sleep. Here's Why!

a headshot of our reviewer Connie

Written By Connie

CPD Sleep Consultant

stop playing games before bed

9 April 2024 4 min read

If you’re a passionate gamer and you find it hard to lay off your gaming gear at the end of the night, you’re one of the many.

Video games are one of the reasons we are a sleepless society. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should give up gaming in its entirety, since gaming has a lot of benefits to your brain. Nonetheless, you should be aware of the consequences of too much late night gaming, and how it can affect on your sleep patterns.

The research

There's only a limited amount of research on the effects of playing video games on sleep, and these studies are aimed at children and teens because they are more likely to take part in gaming before bed.

A 2012 study held by Flinders University found that participants who played video games for 2.5 hours or more at night experienced a delay in falling asleep of 39 minutes. They also lost an average of 27 minutes in total sleep loss during the night.

The researchers also found that playing games caused a drop on the amount of time spent in the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep – a loss of 12 minutes for those who spent over two hours playing games. 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.

A much earlier study published in 2003 also found that performing exciting activities, like video games before bed, can actually cause your body to produce less of the “sleep hormone” melatonin. Melatonin is used to regulate sleep cycles and is produced in the pineal gland in the brain. It is likely, however that this effect was mostly due to the effect of blue light emitted by screens which has been shown to affect melatonin production.

an image of a woman in a bed having a migraine headache

Active or passive

It’s quite common for people to fall asleep in front of the TV at night. Watching a movie or television show is a passive experience. It doesn’t require any interaction other than pressing the remote to change channels.

Modern video games on the other hand often have extensive built-in interactive components. Strategic multiplayer shooter games like Fortnite and PUBG even allow you to talk through headsets to fellow game players. This adds a social reason to continue game play into the night.

Also, it depends on the level of immersion in the game. First person shooters are more “involving” than other types of game. You are directly “in” the game, rather than controlling an object/person on the screen. This will tend to get you more excited and therefore you’ll find it harder to get to sleep.

That’s why gaming has a lot more in common with social media than watching TV or movies. The two-way stimulation from games, Facebook, or instant messaging can be almost impossible to resist at times. This is the reason 90% of 18-29 year olds are known to take their smartphones to bed with them.

an image of a woman playing games before bed time

Lucid dreaming and video games

Video games and dreaming are both a form of alternate reality. That’s why there are very clear correlations between playing video games and our dream lives. Studies found that avid gamers were more likely to be able to control their dreams than people who didn’t play video games. It is difficult to know if these enhanced lucid dreaming abilities help or hinder the sleeping experience. In most cases, they are just fun. However, they are an interesting component in sleeping habits of hardcore gamers.

an image of a woman playing video games before sleep

Conclusion

It’s not that easy to tell exactly how video games affect our sleep. Our common sense tells us that any stimulating activity before bedtime is likely to disrupt our sleep pattern. We know for sure that exposure to bright lights has the effect on us. It’s preventing our bodies from producing melatonin, which helps us to get to sleep. Based on research, it’s advisable to stop all your activities involving bright screens at least an hour before going to sleep. Playing into the night will take a toll on your health, energy and mental capabilities.  

Spread the word

Comments (1)

Ethan Williams 14/02/2024

I had no idea.


About the author

Connie
As a CPD certified Sleep Consultant I know how important sleep is. And as a combination sleeper, I have found it difficult to get products to suit my sleep style. I have more than 2 years product testing experience with The Sleep Advisors which means I have slept on, with and under more than 500 products with varying degrees of success. This is added to more than 2 years experience as a product reviewer for Closer, Heat and Grazia magazines, so I've got a rigorous process. I love sharing my sleep testimonials with our readers and hearing their experiences too.
Related Posts

Best of our Blog

Featured image of canopy bed frame.
03 April 2024

Canopy Bed Frame

Back in the medieval ages, it was pretty much impossible to have your own bedroom - even for the wealthy. Poor people shared their bedrooms ...
what do sleeping positions say about you
09 April 2024

Sleeping Positions and What They say About you

Many scientists believe that our sleeping positions can say a lot about our personalities. They have analysed numerous positions and found c...
Don't Miss Out!
Get the latest reviews, special offers, new releases and more…
@thesleepadvisors
The awards continue! @silentnightbeds 'Just Breathe Eco Comfort' receives one today 🥳

Tried and Tested by The Sleep Advisors, we've awarded them the 'Best Pocket Sprung Mattress'🏆

#thesleepadvisors #silentnightbeds #thesleepadvisors #comfortmattress
Details are key for TheSleepAdvisors... especially for those close-ups 👁

We look at every nook and cranky to capture every detail when reviewing mattress and bedding🎥

For our Latest reviews head over to our website via the link in the bio 🔗

#thesleepadvisors #mattressreview #thesleepadvisorsuk
If you want Luxury check out @nectarsleep Premier Hybrid Mattress!😎

Tried and Tested by The Sleep Advisors, we've awarded them the 'Best Luxury Mattress'🏆

Click the link in bio to read the full review 📖🥸

#thesleepadvisorsuk #awardwinningmattress #nectarsleep #mattressreviews
We know how hard it is to find the best mattress online!🧐

Don't worry, The Sleep Advisors are here to solve your problem and it has never been easier to compare mattresses thanks to our Mattress Comparison Tool!

Click the Link in our bio to find the mattress brand that suits your individual needs 🤩
For all your bedding needs, TheSleepAdvisors have you covered! 😁

From Price to Quality, we look at all aspects to enable you to make the best purchase for your needs.

#ɪɴsᴛᴀʀᴇᴇʟs #instareels #sleepadvisorsuk #BeddingEssentials #TheSleepAdvisors
Sent an embarrassing text? Just say you were asleep 😆

Turns out, our brains can get so wired even while catching Z's that we end up sending messages without even waking up! 

 #funfacts #sleepadvisors #TheSleepAdvisors  #DidYouKnow #DidYouKnowThis
Mattress Toppers are key! 🔑  They can bring your mattress to life. Want to learn more? 

The Sleep Advisors have got you covered!😎

#ɪɴsᴛᴀʀᴇᴇʟs #instareelsdaily #instareels #sleepadvisorsuk #reelsofinstagram #MATTRESSTOPPERS
@emmasleepuk  has picked up the award for 'Best Cooling Mattress ' 🥳. If you're a hot sleeper this is the one for you!🥵

Click the link in our bio for the award-winning details 😎

Make sure you keep your eyes on our profile for more award winners 👀🏆

#sleepadvisorsuk #emmamattres #emmamattress #thesleepadvisorsuk #bestmattressaward
Your sleeping position isn't just about comfort—it can also impact the intensity of your dreams! 🌙💭 

Whether you're a starfish sprawler or a curled-up cuddler, the way you sleep might just dictate the adventures you embark on in dreamland. 😴✨

 #DreamScience #DidYouKnow #sleepadvisors #sleepadvisorsuk #funfacts
Sleeping on the job? That's our specialty! 😴 

Meet Our Team of SleepAdvisors, they love their job and you can see why!😆

We're your ultimate destination for all things bedding – from dreamy mattresses to fluffy pillows. We've got your sleep covered! 💤 #TheSleepAdvisors #thesleepadvisorsuk #instareels #reelsofinstagram #reelsofinsta
Close button

Don't Miss Out!

Get the latest reviews, special offers, new releases and more…

By submitting this form, you are opting into our mailing lists.
See our privacy policy.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.