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Playing a video game before bedtime has only a mild effect on adolescent sleep
Date:4/14/2010

ed beneath the covers with electrodes attached and lights dimmed for both testing conditions. During the 50-minute experimental session the teens played the Sony PlayStation 3 video game "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare," which was the top-selling game of 2007. During the control condition on a separate night they spent an equal amount of time watching "March of the Penguins," which won the 2006 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. The two visits to the sleep lab were separated by exactly one week.

"We purposefully chose a very tranquil movie to contrast against the very stimulating effect of playing a violent video game in the hope of producing the greatest effect on sleep." noted Gradisar.

Sleep-onset latency and sleep architecture were measured by electroencephalography (EEG), electromyography (EMG) and electro-oculography (EOG). Cognitive alertness also was measured by EEG, with a higher maximum alpha-power reading indicating reduced cognitive alertness. Participants wore an oximeter probe on their right index finger to measure heart rate, the most common index of physiologic arousal. Subjective sleepiness was assessed using the Stanford Sleepiness Scale.

Eleven adolescents took longer to fall asleep after playing the video game than after watching the documentary, while two of them fell asleep faster. Seven teens reported that they felt less sleepy after playing the video game than after watching the DVD, four indicated the same level of sleepiness and two felt less sleepy after watching the movie. No significant differences were found between conditions in the percentage of total sleep time comprised of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep or slow-wave sleep.

According to the authors, the extent to which the results reflect genuine sleep impairment is questionable. The increase in sleep-onset latency was small and may have few perceptible ramifications for adolescent sleep. However, the observed reduction in subjec
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Contact: Kathleen McCann
kmccann@aasmnet.org
708-492-0930
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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