A recent survey has found that a significant proportion of gamers are dealing with health issues from their favourite hobby, from poor sleep quality to muscle cramps and pain.
To be honest, it's not the bright and cheery news on a Tuesday morning that you've come to expect from us lot at GAMINGbible. Sorry about that. Still, it is necessary to talk about these topics, and it is particularly pressing information while gaming enjoys a surge in popularity owing to the pandemic. And, to quote that old adage: the more you know. The study, conducted by GamblingDeals, spoke to almost 8,000 gamers as part of its investigation into the impact that the hobby has on sleep patterns. To start with, it was found that PlayStation was the most common console, accounting for 41% of the cohort, yet closely followed by Xbox with 38%, then by PC with 17%, and other gaming devices made up 4% of the total.
40% of gamers spend between five and six hours playing video games in a day on average, which works out to be about 1,825 and 2,190 hours each year. There are 8,760 hours in one turn around the Sun, and we've got to consider that sleeping, eating, socialising, and other activities will take from this total, too. 27% of respondents spend between seven and eight hours gaming in a day, which is a hefty shift. I am very much a "pick up and play" sort of person, so I prefer to play on my Switch for convenience. That is, until the PlayStation 5 arrived, and the speed of that console means that I'm already in the midst of medieval England within minutes of switching the machine on. It's a whole new world, I tell you.
The survey asked whether gamers expect the number of hours spent playing video games will increase as the country remains in lockdown for the foreseeable. 80% agreed, and imagine that their time spent on games will rise by two to three hours a day. I'm counting on my fingers here, and that is a big part of the day dedicated to gaming. The study wanted to learn how many hours of sleep respondents are getting at the moment, and the results are not pretty. Half of the cohort said that they sleep between five to six hours, which isn't sufficient according to medical professionals. 24% of those profiled said that they sleep three to four hours on average, and that's even worse.
The games keeping people awake are Minecraft (21%), then Rust (17%), Fortnite (14%), and Among Us and Call of Duty: Warzone tag along behind. These games are open-ended, and let the players repeat gameplay loops in matches without being aware of the time that's passing. Furthermore, gamers revealed that they suffer from insomnia (73%), nightmares (76%), back pain (30%), dry eyes (26%), hand cramps (18%), headaches (11%), and lack of concentration (8%) from their gaming habits. Poor sleep quality and a lack of sleep is linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, mood swings, and other worrying issues.
Now, we aren't here to panic you: this isn't a sign to chuck the Xbox out of the window and sell all of your games for pennies on eBay. Recently, we chatted to CheckPoint, a charity that connects clinical research with the popular pastime. "Gaming can be a great way of achieving social interaction, can be a meaningful and creative hobby, and can be a great means of dealing with life's stressors. Just getting in there and giving your mind a break from everyday stress is a healthy coping mechanism," said director and founder Jennifer Hazel. As aforementioned, it is important to be aware of the time you're spending on video games versus other parts of your life, and ensure that you're looking after yourself while in lockdown.
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