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Too Much Computer Gaming Can Steal Your Sleep
Date:6/8/2009

Hard-core gamers lose almost two hours of slumber a night, study suggests

MONDAY, June 8 (HealthDay News) -- The thrills and chills of computer games can be a nocturnal nightmare for some people, new research suggests.

Excessive gamers get too little sleep at night, then spend their days struggling to stay awake. But many of them aren't aware of the link between the two, the study found.

The study revealed that college students, who play video games more than seven hours a week and consider themselves addicted, sleep almost two hours less a night than occasional or non-gamers.

The research team, led by Amanda Woolems of the University of Arkansas in Little Rock, collected data on 137 students. Nearly 11 percent said gaming interfered with their sleep, and 12.6 percent said they were addicted to gaming.

"Our statistics revealed that those who admitted addiction scored higher on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale," Woolems said in a prepared 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."

Other health-care professionals weren't surprised by the study's findings.

"These findings are not unexpected," said sleep expert Dr. Alexandre Rocha Abreu, an assistant professor in the division of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida, who was not involved with the study.

A concern is that people who are sleep-deprived don't function optimally in the daytime. "These people may have some cognitive impairment," he said.

It's not just the excitement of gaming that keeps folks wired. Another factor in sleep loss is the environment. "These people tend to be in a room where there is a lot of indirect light from the TV and the screen on the computer. The computer screen tends to simulate sunlight, so even
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