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On Our Minds is the name of KERA's mental health news initiative. The station began focusing on the issue in 2013, after the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Coverage is funded in part by the Donna Wilhelm Family Fund and Cigna.

Adult Gamers Sacrifice A Lot Of Shut-Eye To Keep Playing, UNTHSC Study Shows


Video gamers will opt to lose sleep if they're about to reach a new level or accomplish a satisfying goal. But some gamers can acquire what's called "sleep debt" if they're unable to stop playing, according to new research.

KERA’s Justin Martin talks with Dr. Brandy Roane with the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth about her findings published in the journal Sleep.

Interview Highlights: Dr. Brandy Roane

... on what the study involved: "This study involved almost a thousand gamers over the age of 18. I asked them a variety of questions, ranging from their video game genre preference to consoles they owned to how frequently they delayed bedtime, and if it affected them going to school or work or some other main activity the next day, and some of the self-reported reasons that they delayed."

... on how lost sleep will affect the average person the next day: "Loss of sleep at 101 minutes is kind of going to depend on you as a person; meaning everyone is a little different as far their ability to handle sleep loss. But, you're looking for the average person, loss of ability to sustain attention, so poor concentration, moodiness, irritability, might increase the road rage that goes on, that kind of thing."

... on what sleep loss leads to over time: "Over time you're going to build what in the sleep field call "sleep debt". Which means that your pressure to sleep gets higher and higher and higher, and thus results in you either shutting down unexpectedly, so middle of watching a TV show, sitting in your car at a stoplight, sitting at your desk at work, to other consequences that can sometimes be even more severe such as cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders like diabetes, obesity, that type of thing."

... on what a gamer can do to return to a normal sleep cycle: "It kind of depends on what they're doing currently; if it's just shortening their sleep, so they're going to bed but it's still trying to maintain a consistent wakeup time; the question is are you over sleeping on the weekends, which can then further facilitate wanting to stay up later on weekdays because they delay their schedule. So, starting to slowly shift things earlier, try to keep a more consistent schedule weekday to weekend. Maybe at most an hour difference, and just shift the game play time, if you're going to play on the weekend that's great, play in the morning when you get up, at your normal work time, and do that first thing in the morning instead of starting chores around the house, whatever you have to do on the weekends, so you can maintain some consistency with the schedule."

Dr. Brandy Roane is a sleep specialist with the UNT Health Science Center

Justin Martin is KERA’s local host of All Things Considered, anchoring afternoon newscasts for KERA 90.1. Justin grew up in Mannheim, Germany, and avidly listened to the Voice of America and National Public Radio whenever stateside. He graduated from the American Broadcasting School, and further polished his skills with radio veteran Kris Anderson of the Mighty 690 fame, a 50,000 watt border-blaster operating out of Tijuana, Mexico. Justin has worked as holiday anchor for the USA Radio Network, serving the U.S. Armed Forces Network. He’s also hosted, produced, and engineered several shows, including the Southern Gospel Jubilee on 660 KSKY.