Can Videogames Reduce Stress?

March 4, 2013

If you’d ask any young adult between the ages of 15 to 23 about two immediate yet satisfying luxuries that they’d prefer to have, it would most likely be videogames and sleep – especially among guys. I mean, I wouldn’t blame them if they come up with those answers since they’re both pleasurable and fulfilling. In this day and age of technology, coupled with the advancement and increasingly rapid pace of life, living gets even more marked by stress. Videogames are used as a form of escape from the impending reality of this postmodern age, and sleep is used to compensate for all the workload that dominates your hours. But is there a link between videogames and sleep?

Well, individually splitting the two activities, sleep is a need but the same time a luxury. With it, you escape from stress, though it’s something that becomes harder and harder to do. Now, videogames aren’t a need but it’s hard to do without thinking of whatever advantages it may give you. Throughout the years, it has been proven by scientific studies that it improves eye-hand coordination, mental reflexes, alertness, and even problem-solving abilities. But with regards to sleep, can videogames contribute to give you those “Z’s” by lessening stress and therefore facilitating sleep?

Thinking about it, technology’s effects on sleep has been mostly for the worst – including videogames. They have been rightly branded as one of the many distractions from sleep, and since playing videogames stimulates brain activity, it leads you away from getting slumber. It’s not looking good if we view videogames and sleep directly in that sense. But what has videogames to do with lowering stress?

Can Video Games Reduce Stress

The Great Escape

Videogames are good with helping your mind un-focus from deadlines and problems. As your mind tends to move away from pressing concerns, Such an activity can give your mind a needed break from pressing concerns. It may seem unproductive, but just remember the principle that too much of anything becomes bad. Playing in moderation is enough to keep your mind away from stress, but too much of it will give you stress.

The Right Genre

Not all videogames is stress-relieving, so don’t use this as a license to play addictive games at 2 in the morning when you allegedly “can’t sleep.” The games that are best suited for relaxation are the ones that are repetitive, satisfying, and have “stages” that are not seemingly impossible to achieve. Sandbox-type games that don’t end are out the picture since, even though you know it won’t end, you still subconsciously try to find a finish line. Sorry, Minecraft and Skyrim.

First-person shooters are also not ideal since it requires more alertness from your mind and can cause frustration caused by being killed again and again. Real-time-strategy games are also not preferred since multitasking is encouraged and will therefore use up brain activity more. The answer is the simpler type of videogames – Tetris, Snake, or other simple Smartphone game applications that are both puzzling and require skill.

The Right Time

Playing videogames while lying down and when you’re about to sleep is a bad idea. It defeats the purpose of why you want to sleep. Let me remind you that videogames don’t induce sleep, but they reduce stress. It’s recommended that you play when your time can afford it, and when you’re feeling stressed. After all, you need to reduce stress as soon as it shows up to prevent their consequences.

I admit that using videogames to reduce stress isn’t the best way. It can actually be pretty dangerous since if it exceeds the recommended 30 minutes of gaming, you could become addicted to it, resulting in sleep-deprived nights. You might get too busy with your escape in a fictitious realm that you’d actually forget that you need to sleep. It depends on the person too, and it’s not for everybody. But I hope you were informed with the additional benefits that gaming can give.

Above all, don’t forget that your health is more important than your high score. If the goal of gaming is to reduce stress to improve your health, don’t allow gaming to be the cause of your stress and therefore cause the opposite. Good night!