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Gaming addicts suffer from poor sleep hygiene, increased sleepiness

Washington, June 8 (ANI): Gamers who are hooked on to their computers or consoles for more than seven hours a week, and who identified themselves as addicts, tend to sleep less during the weekdays and experience greater sleepiness than casual or non-gamers, according to a study.

The new findings suggest that excessive gamers have significantly poorer sleep hygiene, and sleep less on weekdays than other gamers.

The researchers also found a significant positive correlation between the hours of game play and sleepiness.

They observed that gamers who reported that their gaming interfered with sleep slept for 1.6 hours less than other gamers, while those who claimed to be addicted to gaming slept one hour less on weekdays.

Principal investigator Amanda Woolems, at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock, AR., says that previous research has shown that 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). 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,” said Woolems.

During the study, the researchers examined data from 137 students recruited from the university who were enrolled in introductory psychology courses.

The mean age of participants was 22 years and a majority of the sample was women (86).

Gamers were classified as casual or excessive (those who spend more than seven hours a week using the internet and playing computer games), based on a demographic questionnaire and sleepiness was assessed subjectively through questionnaires.

The researchers found that out of all the participants, 10.81 percent reported that gaming interfered with their sleep and 12.6 identified themselves as being addicted to gaming.

Authors suggested that maladaptive sleep hygiene found among excessive gamers is a target for intervention to promote improved sleep.

The study was presented on Monday at SLEEP 2009, the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. (ANI)

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