Study Shows Playing Video Games Can Help Quell Nightmares

There is no doubt that video games today get too much bad press, but a recent study could change some of that negative attitude towards games. The study is trying to find out if playing video games can help soldiers sleep better, and have fewer nightmares. The whole concept is that playing video games can desensitize people, and it decreases the level of harm and aggression when dreaming.

Jayne Gackenbach who conducted the survey said that soldiers who didn’t play video games had more violent dreams with senses of helplessness.

The strain of daily life for soldiers who go on patrols in active war zones as you can imagine puts untold stress on them. So she only studied mentally healthy soldiers — ones who have never had Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. They were then split into two groups, “high gaming” and “low gaming” based on how often they played video games. The “high gaming” soldiers played games like WoW, Call of Duty, and Red Dead Redemption, where as the “low gaming” played games only a few times a year, and mainly played casual games.

The results, while preliminary did show some success that games can have. The “high gaming” group while dreaming had less intense and found they could fight back what ever forces were threatening them. Where as the “low gaming” group had more incidents of feeling helpless against an aggressive, violent enemy. Gackenbach theorizes that playing violent games while awake may serve as a sort of “threat simulator,” a way of conditioning the mind to better cope with intense, dangerous situations.

I would see many soldiers, in combat, with PSPs or anything we could hook up to 220v electricity. When soldiers weren’t on patrol, we often had violent war games on our systems. It was weird. Like we didn’t get enough violence.

They’re taking (Playstation 3′s, XBox 360′s and other consoles) into the field and playing them all the time, And it turns out, there may be a good reason to let them do that.

While this study is not conclusive that playing video games will help soldiers cope with their daily routines and help them sleep better at night. It is a start though, and about time that video games get some good light, for actually helping people, especially soldiers since they risk their lives on a daily basis for us.

Can video games quell nightmares? [newscientist]

Author: Tyler View all posts by
I am Tyler, contributor for Hot Blooded Gaming. Check out my Staff Profile. If you have any questions feel free to email me at Tyler@HotBloodedGaming.com

18 Comments | Open Mic -- Say What You Feel

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  1. By Chris on 03-08-2011 17:04

    LOOOOOOOOOOOL. And to think that just hours ago there was a study that said Games mess up your sleep schedule.

    Reply

  2. By .:Ra:. on 03-08-2011 17:18

    Quell Nightmares!? What happens if you're playing a horror game like Alan Wake, or Amnesia?

    Reply

  3. By A_Joe_Ke on 03-08-2011 17:20

    I better stop playing video games, I haven't had a good nightmare in some time.

    Reply

  4. By Flaming Jesus on 03-08-2011 17:25

    o.O So games fuck up my sleeping but help me have good dreams. wtf.

    Reply

  5. By dragonfang1337 on 03-08-2011 18:24

    heh, no wonder i havn't had a nightmare in months

    Reply

  6. By chileno2010 on 03-08-2011 18:28

    Wow....now see they should've played Dead Space or Silent Hill 2 for this.

    Reply

  7. By kojack on 03-08-2011 18:54

    I played Black Ops last night before I went to bed and guess what I had a good dream. This might be true, I'm going to pay more attention to my dreams and how much time I've been spending playing video games.

    Reply

  8. By Froodge on 03-08-2011 19:28

    It's weird on how I haven't had any nightmares in a few months too.. but this doesn't add up with the "video games effect how long you sleep" story

    Reply

  9. By JustAndrew on 03-08-2011 19:47

    I can't remember the last time I had a nightmare. I've been playing games more in the last 5-6 years as well.

    Reply

  10. By junxtown on 03-08-2011 19:49

    yeah! what if you play a scary game? do you still get nightmares?

    Reply

  11. By dragonquestking on 03-08-2011 20:43

    hmmmm. so if soldiers played bulletstorm. that would make fox news unamerican cause the soilders are playing it. my logic is win.

    Reply

  12. By Jester_M_v_H on 03-08-2011 20:47

    huh...
    i guess that explains why i haven't had any nightmares in a looooong time

    Reply

  13. By Christian M. on 03-08-2011 21:43

    I hardly ever play games and I have no nightmares at all. This study doesn't pertain to me.

    Reply

  14. By Shifrit on 03-08-2011 22:46

    I played a few games last night, and then I had a dream I was getting throat surgery. It was strangely calm, and there was seemingly no reason for it either. Hm. This would be a really neat subject to check into.

    Reply

  15. By Rocker2791 on 03-09-2011 14:03

    Well yea, now that I think about it, ever since I started playing a lot of video games I really haven't had any foes in my nightmare that I felt totally helpless against. I AM BULLETPROOOOOOOOOOOOF!

    Reply

  16. By outroxx on 03-09-2011 15:49

    Good thing, i dunno if it's true but it definetly benefits the reputation of our passion

    Reply

  17. By xDark1ce on 03-10-2011 00:49

    well that explains why i haven't had nightmares for a while

    Reply

  18. By Kreyg on 03-10-2011 03:00

    I have really messed up dreams no matter what. I think playing video games just make them more awesome.

    Reply