Call of Duty has the same effect on your sleep as March of the Penguins

Perhaps you've noticed that playing games immediately before you go to bed has an adverse effect on how well you sleep. Masters students at Flinders University have been looking for evidence to make this link official, and have come to a shocking conclusion: Playing Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare before you go to bed does affect how well you sleep, but only as much as watching wildlife documentary March of the Penguins. Oh.

Yes, it seems the type of entertainment that keeps your brain active doesn't seem to matter, but attempting to sleep right after audio/visual stimulation is a bad idea. In the study, 17 participants played a newly released, fast-paced, violent video game for either 50 or 150 minutes on two different nights, with sleep and heart-rate monitors as well as subjective reports from the teenagers used to assess the arousing effects of prolonged gaming.

According to child sleep psychologist Dr Michael Gradisar, who supervised the study, there was a 27-minute loss in total sleep time after 150 minutes of gaming based on the polysomnography tests and a 39-minute delay in sleep onset according to the participants' sleep diaries. Crikey.

"Based on the self-reports, those who played for 50 minutes said it took them 22 minutes to fall asleep, which is within the normal amount of time teens take of 30 minutes or less," he said. "But their sleep onset delay almost doubled to 39 minutes when they played for two and a half hours so clearly there's a limit to how much you should play before bed."

The doctor pointed out that his past research showed little difference in teens who watched 50 minutes of the March of the Penguins documentary or played 50 minutes of Call of Duty 4 before bed.

Personally, we find that old Resident Evil games give us dreams about zombies and reloading several guns in preparation for more zombies... Perhaps watching March of the Penguins will yeild similar results. Reloading penguins in preparation for more penguins, perhaps?


Call of Duty


  • matthew-jackson - October 25, 2012 12:46 p.m.

    pretty cool info, i think this is something gamers already knew though. i have a few airsoft guns as well because of the games i play and its a lot of fun to be able to play as a video game and in real life, bet that also takes longer to sleep
  • JarkayColt - October 23, 2012 4:45 a.m.

    Hang on, they're trying to make this link official? As in, it's apparantly not already common knowledge that watching TV/playing games/reading books before bed makes it harder to fall asleep? I've been told for ages that you need to 'relax' for a good half hour or more before sleeping, by which I mean, not engaging in any stimulating activity. Which is, I gather, what this study is trying to prove... despite it already being known? Eh? In any case I bought Potzol's Puzzle off the Nintendo eShop recently and played it before bed the last two nights; I found myself turning in my sleep more often. COINCIDENCE?
  • bebl09 - October 24, 2012 5:37 a.m.

    Pretty sure books don't fall under the same category as TV or video games. As far as I know, reading before bed actually makes it easier to fall asleep.
  • JarkayColt - October 24, 2012 12:19 p.m.

    Sure, you're right. I was wrong to throw books in there as a comparable equal. But I still think they can have a mild effect too which is why I brought it up. If I read a really fast-paced novel or something, it takes me just as long to get to sleep as I might've required after playing a game. However, reading something like a newspaper wouldn't have nearly as much impact...makes me wonder if anybody's researched this properly too, actually. I guess the main thing with any of these is how LONG you do it, as evidenced by the March of the Penguins thing. So what if you read a newspaper for 2 hours (aside from being a horrifically slow reader)? :/
  • bebl09 - October 24, 2012 6:33 p.m.

    Yeah I guess it depends on the type of book. If you're reading Tom Clancy or Robert Ludlum it'd probably be a lot less relaxing than a normal story, or less mindnumbing than a textbook lol.
  • wheresmymonkey - October 23, 2012 3:49 a.m.

    That picture reminds me of that episode of futurama where Bender thinks he's a penguin.

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