I’m an incredible sleeper.
If it were an Olympic sport, I’d win the gold and shatter records like Usain Bolt with a jetpack.
Allowed to do steroids.
And running against 6 year olds.
I can happily go to sleep at 8pm and wake up the next morning – and a Saturday or Sunday without an afternoon nap is a Saturday or Sunday wasted.
But things have changed since I started gaming. I sleep an average of 6 hours a night these days. Who of us hasn’t lied to ourselves at 23h30 on a weekday promising one more game or mission?
I’ve read that the human body needs 8 hours, and not getting these 8 hours can cause cognitive degeneration over time and the longer you deprive yourself of proper sleep, the worse it gets. In fact, WebMD even says that my very quality of life will decrease.
“You might, for example, be unable to participate in certain activities that require sustained attention, like going to the movies, seeing your child in a school play, or watching a favorite TV show. – Sleep Deprivation (WebMD)
I don’t have a child, but if I did, I’d certainly want to see them in the school play. Knowing my genes and penchant for acting and performing, they’d likely be relegated to having to play a rock or tree, but I’d want to be there all the same, cheering from the audience like a deranged asylum escapee.
I’m not alone in this – every gamer suffers from this problem – too many games, not enough time. And the easiest thing to not do is sleep, so it’s the first thing we abandon. In fact, it’s not even just not sleeping to game – researchers are rubbing it in by saying gaming BEFORE bed is bad – so when are we actually meant to play?
“Prolonged video-gaming before normal bedtime caused a clinically significant reduction in adolescent sleep time. It may be extrapolated that long-term or repeated prolonged video-gaming may produce cognitive deficits associated with chronic sleep reduction.” – Journal of Sleep Research
How do we, as gamers, overcome our chronic sleep deprivation that gaming causes?
The answer is simple – we don’t.
We rely on stimulants like coffee or energy drinks and snacking to power through our lack of shut-eye. It’s no secret that there’s a significant caffeine culture associated with gaming and gamers. None of us are willing to give up one more game or mission to sleep. And why would we?
As gamers we start developing creative ways to catch up on sleep. I’ve slept in my car during lunch or taken days off to just spend the day sleeping. I try my best to not drink coffee or caffeinated drinks during the day so I can sleep easier when I need to. I even went through a patch where I’d sleep from 17h00 to 19h00 so I could game for 2 more hours. You might be smirking, but we’ve all done similar things. Ultimately, as gamers, we’re going to give up some things for the hobby we love.
Researchers suggest that instead of creating a habit of depriving yourself of sleep to game every night, you should rather have a marathon gaming session on the weekend. Don’t be shy to play through the night and sleep the next day or even miss sleep occasionally – trading sleep for gaming occasionally is totally fine. What you want to avoid is the prolonged every-night sleep deprivation habit that’s so easy to get into.
Or, you could do what a real man would do and and power through it.
You should sleep.
He also hosts the nAvTV podcast and this here website is his domain.