By Tylar Bloch

Adolescents today are spending one to two hours each day playing video games. And in one study from 2021, in a sample of 3000 students, nearly 20% of males and 8% of females could be classified as having a gaming disorder

Excessive gaming in adolescents has been known to negatively impact their mental and physical health. Sleep habits especially are shown to be worsening in the wake of rising screen time. With more time dedicated to video games, kids are going to sleep much later and are having a harder time falling asleep, putting them at a greater risk of not reaching the recommended 8-10 hours of sleep each night.

But new research is showing that sleep can directly impact the number of hours kids spend playing video games. Researchers from Pennsylvania State University and Stony Brook University have found that when adolescents have more regular sleep schedules and greater durations of uninterrupted sleep, they tend to spend less time playing video games the following day. This means that there is likely a positive feedback loop in which poor sleep habits can amplify video game use, which in turn can worsen sleep habits. While the reasons for this are not entirely clear, similar research on the impact of sleep on diet highlights how poor sleep habits can lead to poorer decision-making as it relates to nutrition.

With the impacts of poor sleep habits being so widespread, parents should continue to closely monitor their kids’ sleeping habits. In particular, they should encourage consistent bedtimes, limit their kids’ screen use before bed, and help them to develop relaxing bedtime routines that can help them to more easily fall asleep and get a full night of rest.

While parents may still need to shut down the console every once in a while, they should remember the important role that sleep can play in helping their kids to exhibit better decision-making and greater portion control when it comes to technology.

Conversation Starters

  1. How many hours of sleep do you get each night?
  2. How does screen time before bed affect when and how easily you fall asleep?
  3. What does it feel like when you don’t have enough sleep?
  4. What can you do to help you relax before bed?

Resources


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