Here’s your dilemma: another game of Team Deathmatch on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare… or a shag?
If you’ve played games growing up, you’ll be familiar with the vacuum: as you descend deeper and fiercer into the match-to-match cycle online, time becomes a loose concept, much like being in a casino.
However, like inducing the feeling of falling in Inception, surely a partner’s sexual hints and advances would be enough to pull people out of the gaming vortex? Well, apparently not.
In line with the stratospheric rise of gaming as an entertainment medium, The Sleep Judge has carried out a thorough study of how it’s affecting our lives – more specifically, our bedtime routines.
The Sleep Judge’s study reads:
While TV revenue decreased by 8%, the gaming sector experienced a 10.7% growth, with even higher figures reported in emerging markets like China (14%).
This translates to an average of just over seven hours spent gaming per week, although for some, it’s much, much more. Gamers of all ages increased the number of hours they spent gaming between 2018 and 2019, and more than 10% of gamers between the ages of 18 and 45 spent more than 20 hours per week playing video games.
For the study, the group surveyed 982 people who play video games at least once per month, assessing how it affects their sleep and related activities, such as sexual relationships.
While some may scoff at the notion of brushing off their partner’s hints at some coital action, the study is damning: nearly one in five gamers would rather keep on playing than get frisky.
The Sleep Judge’s study explains:
How many people were willing to trade canoodling for controllers before bed? On the whole, a modest 15% of respondents said they had brushed off their partner’s sexual advances in favor of continuing to play a video game, a behavior slightly more common among women (16% versus 13.9% of men).
The article does take care to mention ‘a thriving sex life doesn’t mean you need to be intimate with your partner every night’ – however, you should be very wary of how often you’re choosing FIFA or Fortnite over some sexual congress.
Gaming before bed is very common: according to the study, when asked if they played anything (from Candy Crush to Fallout) before going to sleep, 41.6% of men and 38.8% of women responded with ‘every day or often’.
As for how it affects your sleep, the study explains:
One-third of people who gamed before bed either ‘every day’ or ‘often’ said the quality of their sleep was poor, compared to less than 20% of people who played video games less frequently.
Frequently playing video games before bed was also strongly associated with taking longer to fall asleep, as well as waking up during the night.
These adverse effects are likely due to the fact that stimulating your brain with screens right before you’re supposed to fall asleep actually messes with your biological clock, causing your body to release less melatonin (the hormone that makes you feel drowsy and ready for sleep).
People who frequently played games before bed reported recurring symptoms while trying to sleep, with side effects like ‘waking up in the middle of the night, having trouble drifting off, and sleeping fewer hours were more common among those who frequently fired up their phones or consoles before bed’.
The Sleep Judge’s advice is to ‘create some space between game time and bedtime’ – so try and tame that urge to stay up through the twilight hours of the night, and don’t neglect your partner.
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.