It's the one thing that we all know and love: sleep. There's nothing better than waking up after a deep sleep. You're all cozy in bed, you stretch, and it hits you that you are ready for the day. But, there's nothing WORSE than waking up after a terrible night's rest where you're seeing the hat man, and you must go to work. And unfortunately, most of us can't make gaming our sole type of income. Here are tips for having the best bedtime routine on this plane of earth.
Avoid "Gamer Fuel"
Staying away from caffeine and other stimulating substances before bed is crucial for us gamers. We understand how tempting it can be to grab an energy drink at the gas station before a gaming session, especially when you lose track of time. However, it's important to note that caffeine can linger in your system for up to 10 hours. Even at the 6-hour mark, it's only halfway out of your body, potentially causing restlessness and sleep disturbances if consumed too late. The same goes for nicotine, which gives you a rush. So, if you're a smoker or vape (I'm looking at you), resist it before bed, as it may make you stay up longer than you thought, even if you feel you are "used to it."
Jump, Jump Around
We all know that as hobbiests, our most prevalent feature is sitting for hours on end. Some may say, "Go touch grass," but today, we're saying, "Get up and move for a minute." We're not suggesting going all out with intense workouts or weightlifting—just a simple walk around the block or doing some house chores like putting away dishes before bed. Not only will you have less to do the next day, but it also provides an opportunity for some extra body motion. Avoid vigorous exercises before sleep, as they can keep you awake. Keep it moderate and enjoy the benefits. Even if you have an ergonomic chair, sitting for a long time isn't great before bed.
Limit Screen Time
Chances are, you have two screens for your computer plus your phone, a switch, TV (or multiple) cameras, ring lights - we could go on. However, the blue light emitted by these devices disrupts our sleep cycle. Hence, it's best to steer clear of screens for at least an hour before bedtime. Engaging in screen-free activities like reading a book, writing in a journal, or even doodling can help stimulate your brain while allowing you to wind down for sleep. These activities offer an excellent way to unleash brain power before calling it a night and ensure a beneficial transition into dreamland.
Say No To Chips
Chips are a weakness. That salty, crunchy, half-filled bag sitting unopened on top of your fridge is so tempting late at night. Artificially processed foods, especially those that are spicy or have a high-fat content, are a no-go. Which sometimes sucks since we know more than anything that those Flaming Hot Cheetos are a beckoning call. We wrote a whole blog about which foods you can eat to help your sleep rather than hinder it and how sugar can affect your body.
Try 4-7-8 Breathing
We gamers can be notorious ragers. Even winning can bring up too many sleep-inhibiting hormones. Research has shown that the 4-7-8 breathing technique can reduce stress hormones, provide relaxation, decrease anxiety, and induce a sense of calm. The method is simple:
- Breathe in for four seconds
- Hold your breath for seven seconds
- Exhale slowly (making a "whoosh" sound) for eight seconds.
Repeat this cycle at least four times. You can repeat the process eight times as your body adjusts to this technique.
The best everyday routine you can do is get off your matches early; even if your friends get mad, they'll get over it. Move around a bit, do some dishes, eat a healthy(or healthier) snack - we can't be perfect all the time- read something in bed, and rest. You can add supplements like the Gamer Advantage SLEEP drink. And, of course, wear glasses with our Sleep or Dream Lenses since they improve your natural melatonin production by 96-300%. But overall, sticking to a routine is the best course for someone who has been solo playing or co-oping with their friends every night after work. Game on, and get some rest.
American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Is it bad to eat before bed? Retrieved November 24, 2021, from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/nutrition/is-it-bad-to-eat-before-bed#:~:text=However%2C%20some%20foods%20can%20trigger,dairy%20products%2C%20and%20fatty%20meats
Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). Caffeine: How to Hack It and How to Quit It. Retrieved October 12, 2021, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/15496-caffeine-how-to-hack-it-and-how-to-quit-it#:~:text=The%20level%20of%20caffeine%20in,clear%20caffeine%20from%20your%20bloodstream
Aktas, et.al. The Effect of Deep Breathing Exercise and 4-7-8 Breathing Techniques Applied to Patients Ater Bariatric Surgery on Anxiety and Quality of Life. Obes Surg. 2023 Nar; 33(3):920-929. Doi: 10.1007/s11695-044-06405-1. Epub 2022 Dec 8.