Study finds video games increase heart rate

Study finds video games increase heart rate

Grabbing a few headshots can affect your heart rate long after you finish pwning n00bs.

Research recently published by the Swedish Research Council (and reported by Science Daily via Wired) into the effects of violent video games on teens has found that playing violent games affected subject heart rate variability not only during gameplay (no surprise there) but also when they were sleeping that night.

A group of boys aged between 12 and 15 were asked to play two different games in the evening, one focused on violence, while the other had no violent features. Heart rates were monitored both throughout the gameplay, then during the rest evening and finally while they slept.

The research, carried out by researchers at a number of Swedish universities, seems to show that effects of gaming don’t just stop when you switch your system off, but have a continued physiological effect without you even being aware of it, although none of the test subjects reported grabbing a few headshots before bed had resulted in a bad night's sleep.

Anyone who’s been playing Left 4 Dead recently will know all about how a violent game can get your heart pumping, but we have to wonder if this study isn’t a little flawed; violent video games usually tend to be more exciting and involving than their more peaceful counterparts, and so are bound to see heart rate rise – it’s the difference between watching a documentary on mould and the last lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Have you ever lost a night’s sleep after a particularly intense gaming session? What games in particular get your heart beating faster and give you the shakes? Let us know in the forums!


Discuss in the forums Reply
steveo_mcg 17th November 2008, 11:12 Quote
First time i came across a witch (and subsequently pissed her off) my heart rate went up, a LOT. How ever my nerves recovered after a few hours of my little pony.
1ad7 17th November 2008, 11:24 Quote
maybe I need my heart rate elevated at night just encase a tank attacks me. gotta be ready!!!! cant wait till the 18th and people please leave video games alone they arnt destroying the world.
OnyxLilninja 17th November 2008, 11:45 Quote
I certainly find it hard to sleep for an hour or two after playing any 'fast' games, such as FPS's. I don't think it's do with the violence, just the amount of concentration and swift reaction needed to perform well. For example the driving game Trackmania Forever will get my heart going and palms sweaty, with no violence at all. I certainly wouldn't be able to sleep straight after a game.
Arkanrais 17th November 2008, 11:48 Quote
I've lost sleep from playing soul caliber 3. had nothing to do one day, so played the game for a good 6 hours, and swore my head off rather loudly the whole time. I got about 2 hours sleep that night as I was stuck in a many hour long Hypnagogic hallucination where my covers/pillows on my bed turned into characters off the game as if I was still fighting them (my mattress turned into a rather large PS2).
I had the same problem a few nights in a row, though of less magnitude, despite my playing the game again for a couple hours each day. I'm sure I've had this happen with other games , though diablo 2 is the only other that comes to mind - looking down at myself in an isometric dungeon like the flayers dungeon in act 3, though I couldn't move. that was a pain in the ass.
I've since stopped playing such engaging games before bed or for such long extended periods of time
Sebbo 17th November 2008, 12:19 Quote
hasn't been alot of lost sleep, but i've gotten some weird dreams from playing certain games before going to bed... most notable for weirdness are tetris and guitar hero. of course, i've had the fallout 3, gears of war et al induced dreams too
sam.g.taylor 17th November 2008, 14:43 Quote
I got Fallout 3 on Friday, played it all weekend (Wakoopa says for almost 18 hours... and it's really gotten to my head.

Anyway, last night I had a really weird dream about going shopping for groceries (real-life, not in game), then while having a conversation with the cashier, I choose the wrong conversation option and she, along with all the bag boys, turn red in my radar and start attacking me. I should have remembered that Florida now allows automatic weapons...

I threw one grenade and then - I kid you not - everything froze, the scene "crashed", and I woke up. CTR (crash to reality) I suppose.
FeRaL 17th November 2008, 16:44 Quote
I wonder if they did an blood tests... They probably would have found an increased amount of adrenalin in the one who played the "violent" games. That would probably be the cause of the increased sleeping heart rate.
Jaguar_Infinity 18th November 2008, 12:25 Quote
I've experianced loss of sleep associated with gaming once. I had been playing one of the LOTR RTS games attacking the mordor walls. That night i had a huge migrain attack and kept hallucinating that i was still in the game playing beleiving that the walls of mordor were the source of the migrain. I think the extreme pain from yet annother migrain attack had alot to do with the lack of sleep and the hallucinations than the gaming though....
Project_Nightmare 18th November 2008, 15:42 Quote
What a stupid test! They make it seem like its has bad effects on the person. Give me a break, things like caffine, school tests, violence, exercise, sex, ect. increase heart rate so this test is just stating the obvious. Stupid people wasting everyone's time:(
Cthippo 19th November 2008, 03:18 Quote
I've lost plenty of sleep after gaming. Stalker was the worst, but HL@ and the episodes have claimed more than a few nights too. Part of the reason I don't game much anymore
GregTheRotter 21st November 2008, 10:20 Quote
At one point a few years ago, I'd be playing CSS for nearly eight hours a day. I'd wake up at around 1/2pm, have lunchfast, game till 6, have a cup of tea, game till 9pm, have dinner, game till 3/4am, and do the same again.
GregTheRotter 21st November 2008, 10:22 Quote
Speaking of weird dreams, from playng either Fear, or Far cry, i cant remember, I dreamnt I took a chain saw/drill to someones head :/
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