June 8, 2009

Video gamers may suffer from lack of sleep

People who say they are addicted to playing video games sleep less but generally don't recognize their pastime could be responsible, U.S. researchers found.

Amanda Woolems of the University of Arkansas in Little Rock says previous research had shown excessive gamers spend less time in bed, have longer sleep latency and shorter REM latency.

Our statistics revealed that those who admitted addiction scored higher on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale -- sleepiness, Woolems said in a statement. 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 study examined data from 137 university students -- mostly women -- who had a mean age of 22. Gamers were classified as casual or excessive -- those who spend more than seven hours a week using the Internet and playing computer games.

Of the total sample, 10.81 percent reported that gaming interfered with their sleep and 12.6 percent identified themselves as being addicted to gaming.

The researchers said gamers who reported their playing interfered with sleep slept for 1.6 hours less than other gamers on weekdays. Those who claimed to be addicted to gaming slept one hour less.

The findings were presented at Sleep, the 23rd annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Seattle.