It may seem like common knowledge that adults are supposed to clock in a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night to function and stay healthy. For some of us, sleep comes when our head meets the pillow. For the rest of us, falling to sleep can become work and even a health issue. With as many as 50 to 70 million US adults having a sleep disorder, we know the sleep struggle is real. VR is so effective for fitness and energizing the body that playing games and using calming apps can either hinder or help us to get sleep.
How do we get deeper and more restorative sleep? With VR! (Responsibly.)
Exercise Helps and Hinders Sleep
Time and time again VR has proven its effectiveness for fitness, health, and well-being. As an exercise tool, VR is a powerhouse that can leave us drenched from sweat from playing thrilling games like Be the Hero or Sprint Vector that come with realistic arm locomotion. Exercising for even 10 minutes, this includes VR games, is said to improve our quality of sleep when we do it as part of a routine and not directly before bedtime.
Depending on the person, looking up crazy cat videos, reading on forums, and even playing video games in 2D and even in VR even a few hours (varies) before bed will stimulate our brains and bodies so much that they go into toss and turn mode. Players in online forums report that they’ll play VR for hours right before bed and then wonder why they can’t get to sleep.
Action intense games that use the motion of the arms and room scale movement for max ground coverage are great for fitness, tire many of us out, and send us off to sleep land. For many others, exercise intense VR games wipe players out but are also culprits for keeping them up at night. Think about jumping on a bed as a kid right before bed. Were we amped up after? You bet! Now, take this same concept and apply it to gaming before bed as an adult.
Vigorous exercising right before bed and playing games that require a lot of movement or are exciting to the emotions and senses aren’t going to make us sleep like a baby. Timing when we exercise and play games — either early in the morning before we begin our day, for a mid-day energy boost, or in the evening (not an hour before bed) — helps the body and mind have enough time to properly calm down and prep for sleep.
Chill Out to Get to Sleep, For Health and Lower BMI
It’s a miserable feeling to lay your head on a pillow just to be wide awake for hours and even worse if sleeplessness is chronic. Findings show that making relaxation or meditation a part of our sleep routine for 20 minutes a day helps calm and de-stress the mind and body and improves quality of sleep. Prioritizing relaxation before bed sounds like an obvious thing to do, but many gamers prefer to play VR games for hours for the physical workout but skip out on the mental exercises that will get them to sleep.
Relaxation is a skill that we learn and practice just like exercising and moving our bodies. Using meditation and relaxation apps for VR like WiseMind, mindZense Sleep, watching 360-degree VR videos like this Tibetan Singing Bowls experience, or sitting with eyes closed and focusing on our breath with an app like StoryUp or Muse headband does wonders for relaxation and getting to sleep faster. Not getting the minimum 7 hours of sleep because of poor sleep hygiene habits, insomnia, or a health issue can do real damage to our bodies and brains.
Studies have proven that people who slept less than 7 hours a night showed an increase in BMI than people who slept for a full 9 hours. A chronic lack of sleep will take a toll on our bodies and make us less happy and more depressed, increases our risk for diabetes, makes us crave junk food, increases our risk of obesity, and makes heart disease a potential issue. Paired with an exercise and relaxation routine — weight management, a good night’s sleep, and health are within reach!
Did any of these suggestions help you get better sleep? Do you have your own recommendations on how to improve sleep with VR technology? Let us know in the comments or tag us on social media.