Can Screens/Video Games Potentially HELP Sleep?

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    • #189934

      Disclaimer: The purpose of this post is NOT to spread misinformation, but rather to discuss the topic of electronic devices and whether or not there is a way to prevent them from disrupting sleep

      We’ve all heard it so many times.

      One of the best ways to fall asleep is to turn off your electronics an hour before bed because of the Blue Light Effect, the disruptive auditory stimulus, and other distractions they cause. But what about those of us that physically can’t stand simply laying completely still in the dark and waiting for sleep to come? Have there ever been studies on simply combatting the negative effects of screens rather than ditching them altogether?

      My name is TJ, and I have seemingly had troublesome sleep patterns for all 21 years of my life. I feel as though things have gotten better two or three years ago when I started attending college, having the luxury of becoming a night owl, and – as the title of this post suggests – using video games as a means to help me fall asleep. In order to account for the concerns that I prevalently read about when it comes to the use of screens before sleep, I have taken countermeasures to ensure I have a filter on the screens I use before bed, have the sound completely muted, and ensure that the games I play are intentionally mundane and require as little brain activity as possible.

      I have since moved back home with my parents in order to wait for the pandemic to blow over. Among other conflicts, my parents seem most concerned about my sleep. They don’t seem to understand just how unbearably slow it feels to fall asleep without some kind of distraction from the dark, empty silence. This has started to make me wonder about the viability of this technique I have developed.

      I have made similar posts on r/ADHD and my personal Twitter about this and most of the responses I’ve received have been from other people who use similar strategies. This gave me the general consensus that screens affect different people’s sleep in different ways, but that more notably, many other people (ADHD or otherwise) use their screens to (what they seem to describe as) a positive effect. I am fully aware that the sample of responses I received may be subject to bias (particularly in the case of polling my Twitter following as they – by the very nature of following me – already look up to me to some extent).

      All of this said the most prevalent and unignorable issue I continue to face is a lack of reputable sources from experts actively attempting to combat the known negative effects of electronic devices on their default settings. Despite feeling as though the use of screens is helping me, I fear my own confirmation bias runs the risk of making this technique of mine feel more effective than it actually is.

      Does anyone have any useful information regarding how viable it is to combat the side effects of using screens before bed, and if not, what are some alternative strategies for falling asleep that you could recommend?

    • #190181

      The first thing I’d like to say is, “If it works, don’t fix it!”

      I go to sleep every night watching a Netflix show on my phone. (I do turn the volume and brightness down.) I find that I rarely last 10 minutes before I fall asleep. If I don’t do this, my mind is likely to be racing and keeping me awake for hours.

      You have found something that clearly works for you. Don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t, you already know better.

    • #190240

      Me too. I’ll watch the same type of program each night, Dragons Den. My ADHD mind can be buzzing so I can have it think about the same thing before I go to bed. Routine is good. Also I suffer from rumination, so this stops that.

    • #190362

      I agree with Galen, whatever works for you, do it. It may not apply to all, but at least it does the job for you.

    • #190396

      Having a routine works for some. Find something that you are interested in.

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