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People Who Are Addicted To Video Games Are More Observant, Study Surprisingly Finds

People Who Are Addicted To Video Games Are More Observant, Study Surprisingly Finds

Video games have inspired numerous debates among game manufacturers, gamers, parents, educators, and psychology experts. Many of those debates stem from the potentially damaging impact of video games on the adolescent psyche.

A new study flies in the face of those assertions, identifying connections between video game addiction and observational skills, cognitive efficiency, and task execution. People who play video games compulsively could derive benefits from the skills and behaviors they learn while playing.

Medical Research: Identifying the Impact of Video Game Addiction

According to IFL Science, the aforementioned study involved MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans of 78 adolescent boys with IGD (Internet gaming disorder) and 73 boys in the same age group who demonstrated no symptoms of IGD. Based on those scans, researchers determined that boys with IGD exhibit “increased connectivity between seven pairs of regions” in the brain. Researchers based at the University of Utah and at Chung-Ang University propose that these connections could account for the cognitive symptoms of IGD.

For instance, people with IGD might have difficulty concentrating and might even experience withdrawal symptoms when pulled away from a game. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), IGD symptoms mimic those of an alcoholic or drug addict.

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Hyperconnectivity: Wiring Differences Between Gamers and Non-Gamers

However, it’s not all bad news. The research also found that boys with IGD exhibited behaviors that could prove beneficial in the non-gaming world. Increased observational skills allow gamers to identify important elements of a game, but they could also help students and professionals succeed in their careers and their personal lives.

Gamers can process many different cues in a stressful environment because of their experiences playing games. They are able to react quickly in situations that might seem overwhelming to others. From subtle visuals in the background to audio clues from video game voice over work, gamers are bombarded with copious amounts of information throughout the entire game.

Additionally, the University of Utah reports that this research could suggest a connection between Internet gaming disorder and an individual’s ability to process new information. Increased coordination, improved response speed to stimuli, and other beneficial consequences might also result from IGD.

This research suggests that the areas of the brain most impacted by IGD include the hearing and vision sectors.

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Research Results: Hope for People Who Love Gaming

The results of this landmark study provide hope for teenagers and adults who have IGD. Many experts and laypeople alike have expressed their concern over the long-term impact of video games, especially since people with severe IGD can suffer serious withdrawal symptoms and give up other aspects of their lives in favor of their games.

However, despite the fear surrounding video games, this research demonstrates a clear link between video gaming and positive life skills. Adolescent boys who spend a considerable time playing games can actually develop skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

Other Benefits: Exploring the Positive Impact of Video Games

While this research constitutes one of the first studies of its kind, psychologists and other experts have previously theorized about the potential benefits of video games. In 2014, for instance, Lisa Bowen of the American Psychological Association wrote about video games’ impacts on kids’ spatial, analytical, and problem-solving skills.

Additionally, Bowen points out that video games can serve as mood boosters for kids – particularly short, simple games, such as those found on smartphones and tablets. They put kids in good moods so they can tackle other tasks in the right frame of mind.

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Violence in Gaming: Possible Benefits from First-Person Shooters and Other Action Games

In addition to Bowen, other experts have theorized that violent, action-packed video games can have demonstrable benefits for kids and adults. Writing for Psychology Today, Boston College research professor Peter Gray specifically mentions action-oriented games, stating, “Many of the abilities tapped by such games are precisely those that psychologists consider to be the basic building blocks of intelligence.”

Many adolescents prefer the most violent and action-packed games. However, this surprising research (and other studies before it) suggest that kids might derive more benefits than drawbacks from their favorite games.

Life Balance: Drawing Benefits From Video Games Without Consequence

Although video games offer numerous benefits to adolescents and adults, they can also create negative consequences when they’re abused. When an individual spends all of his or her time in front of the computer or console, other aspects of his or her life suffer.

For instance, it isn’t healthy for anyone, regardless of his or her age, to neglect work, school, family, and friends for the sake of a game. It’s essential to balance gaming time with other activities, such as physical exercise, reading, non-video games, and extracurricular activities.

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Playing video games for a modest period of time each day can produce the benefits described above without allowing the games to take over the individual’s life. Video games will likely continue to cause discourse and debate among gamers and non-gamers. However, understanding the research helps every individual make healthy, informed decisions.

Featured photo credit: Benefits of Video Game Addiction via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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