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Doctor: Athletes Should Avoid Games Before Competition

You might be surprised at how many professional athletes play games, but one doctor says it's better to abstain before competition.

As reported by GamePolitics citing the blog of Dr. Marco Cardinale, a PhD and head of the British Olympic Association's Sports, Science and Research division, playing games before a big match may be a bad idea. Thanks to the marvel of portable technology, athletes can take many video games with them on the road, which of course results in more game-playing during the season. And while this can keep the athletes away from trouble in the bars and clubs, Dr. Cardinale believes that exposure to such electronics can have a negative impact on the athlete's sleep patterns. After examining the physiological effect of games, he came upon several conclusions, including the fact that children who played 1 hour of Need for Speed: Most Wanted exhibited impaired sleep patterns and a reduction in verbal cognitive performance. His advice? If you're traveling (especially across time zones), put away the laptop, DVD player, iPod or any video games and just go to sleep. And if you're an athlete, avoid it all the night before a competition.

He also raises an interesting theory in terms of stress and how virtual competition can impact us: he says that recovery time for athletes is designed for rest and peace. So, "you don't want to play Street Fighter with your best mate and have your blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol levels go sky-high because you lose!" That's interesting and it does make a bit of sense. Athletes go all out and getting all competitive with a game can't be the best thing for rest and recovery. As for the impaired sleep patterns, I'm just not sure about that. Perhaps it's more true for those who aren't used to playing games a lot...?

12/24/2009 10:16:57 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (27 posts)

JofaMang
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 10:48:53 AM
Reply

Indeed, games inhibiting sleep was a problem when I was 12. Since putting a few decades of gamer notches into my belt since then, I haven't noticed any sleep issues with gaming since I played my first MMO. Mayhap the good doc is referring to all night dungeon runs in WoW screwing with those puritan athletes biological cycles.

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Hezzron
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 10:52:47 AM
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I wonder if the good Doctor has something he could inject into athletes that would ENHANCE their performance. I bet that would be pretty popular.

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Solid Fantasy
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 7:48:26 PM

That's called doping and it's banned for a good reason!

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NoMoreWar
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 11:01:15 AM
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lol. traveling usually impairs my sleep pattern regardless of any electronic devices

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Jawknee
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 11:03:24 AM
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He may have a point. My sleep schedule is jacked! Oh Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks, I just can't quit you!

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Zorigo
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 11:57:40 AM

yes, i got the chance recently to stay up instead of sleeping, i played mw2 through till 2am, 2 nights runnning. i did have a break involving other stuff... ahem.

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neighber
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 12:38:52 PM

i just got AC2 and played till 4am when i have work at 11am. but im use to it tho ,buildin up endurance for FF13 lol

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Jed
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 10:18:44 PM

I will be up until 4 after every midnight release. Actually, I stay up that late everytime I get a new game. My boss hates me for it.

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mexgeo86
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 11:39:24 AM
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The reason we have a DS or PSP is so that we DON'T have to sleep while traveling. I'd think that games help your relieve some stress or anxiety before a big match.

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Jed
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 10:19:20 PM

Amen to that.

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godsman
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 11:44:18 AM
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From reading the title, i thought video games give atheletes the hopes that they can have superpowers too.

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Scarecrow
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 11:48:06 AM

Haha! They all wanna be like Cole

Strong, fast, electric, and being able to glide through the air :D

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Banky A
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 3:30:21 PM

They all wanna be like Cloud...
Able to effortlessly hold swords their own size and 10x their own weight, for Busting rocks - things like that.

(:

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Jed
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 10:20:20 PM

That makes me think of Chad Ochocinco.

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Scarecrow
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 11:47:16 AM
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It really depends on what type of game it is

If it's a fighter, shooter, or racing (basically the sports games) it'll raise your stress level.

If it's an rpg, or even a normal action adventure game you'll be fine.

But if it's competitive stuff like Street Fighter there's a lot of human to human reaction going on (raises brain and body activity)

I know for a fact that when I play Street Fighter IV it's a workout! And you can even see fatigue settling in after 20 matches or so (start to play worse and worse)

This might be the first "research" I agree with

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Jed
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 10:22:33 PM

I have actually fallen asleep while trying to level up in Crisis Core.

I am not in any way saying it's a boring game, but that I am a perfectionist

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coyo18
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 11:55:48 AM
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I understand where he's coming from, but I think it depends on how addictive the game is, and how much adrenaline it can pump into you. If it's addictive, your might pull an all nighter reaching level 13. If it gets the adrenaline pumpin, you won't be able to go to sleep so you keep playing

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Zorigo
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 11:56:31 AM
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well i'll put it this way, it's just common sense not to do anything you don't do regularly before something heavy like sport. If you are a heavy gamer, yh sure, relax with a relaxing title. not bl**dy street fighter.

but that's the thing, it's all about you as a person, usain bolt broke the world record and he himself said he had chicken nuggets from mcdonalds the morning of the race. :D

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Banky A
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 3:35:52 PM

I like to relax by playing Deadspace and restarting 1,000,000 times on old MegaMan games...

Mmm chicken nuggets..

Last edited by Banky A on 12/24/2009 3:36:23 PM

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www
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 1:54:55 PM
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Well after spending several hours with MW2 before going to bed. I keep hearing voices when I close my eyes like 'enemy UAV is airborne'. 'friendly care package incoming', 'we've taken the lead', 'friendly harriers inbound'......etc. and I keep picturing me M4A1-ing with the 100+ popping up till am deep in the sleep....Lol

Last edited by www on 12/24/2009 1:55:16 PM

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Sk8monkey
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 2:34:36 PM

Lol sounds like LSD, too bad it's not as fun as LSD.

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www
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 2:37:31 PM

Haha.

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BikerSaint
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 3:44:46 PM
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But STP was 10 times better

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Solid Fantasy
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 8:19:05 PM
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As an aspiring professional athlete I'm not sure if I fully agree with this article. Some games actually put me to sleep. For some athletes/sports I'm sure this might be a good advisory. On the other hand some sports have so many variables in them that video games don't add up to much enough to keep you up at night. Jet lag isn't much of an issue until you're going to Europe anyway.

I honestly play my PSP more than my PS3 because I'm on the road so much and I wouldn't want to go through a day of travel without it.

I will admit that I do often equate a boss fight to a competition. Dissida does this all the time to me, but I don't see this as a bad thing by any means. If anything this can help athletes deal under pressure.

Worrying about sleeping is a problem in itself. In closing I will say that: Video games are awesome = so why not play more of them.

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Linseed
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 10:18:17 PM
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the fact that children who played 1 hour of Need for Speed: Most Wanted exhibited impaired sleep patterns and a reduction in verbal cognitive performance.

REDUCTION IN VERBAL COGNTITVE PERFORMANCE??? WHAT???

I thought that was one of my strong points, and I've been playing all my life.

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___________
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 10:19:48 PM
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thats a complete load of utter tripe.
ive finished tafe a week ago and ever since ive been going to bed really late and ive slept like a baby.
im less tired now, than when i was going to tafe.
i actually find it easier to go to sleep after playing a game for a while because it relaxes me.
like last night was the first night in a few weeks that i did not turn my ps3 on, and i was tossing and turning for hours at 2 in the morning.
you can not listen to these people anyway there always making things up.
i remember a few years ago they were saying to drink at least 2 cups of coffee every day to help your digestive system.
they said the same thing about red wine, and now there going back on it.
they say one thing, than go against it whenever the tide suits them.

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ffyfe7
Friday, December 25, 2009 @ 8:20:47 AM
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Yeah I think that it varies from person to person. I play games for fun and I may have a late night or two (depending on the game) but it just means that I sleep in longer to make up for it. If I can't sleep in (due to school or other reasons) it doesn't affect me too much, it just means that I a bit more sluggish in the morning and it takes me longer to "put a spring in my step" so to speak.

P.S - It is Dec. 26 12:50am in Australia so Merry Christmas/Xmas/Kwanza/Hunakah(sp?) to everyone at PSX

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