Author Archives: Sleep XP
Author Archives: Sleep XP
Looking for ways to optimize your performance on your favorite games? One of the best ways you can increase your reaction time and cognition is by getting a good night's sleep. We'll discuss the concepts of sleep debt and a sleep bank and how they are similar to an E tank in the Mega Man series. Debt refers to hours of lost sleep accumulating and negatively impacting your performance, while the bank for sleep is an analogy for making deposits (sleep) or withdrawals (staying awake).
The Mega Man E-tank in the Mega Man series is an item you can collect while traversing the world. The E-tank will fully restore Mega Man's health when consumed, making him fully-functional again and ready to take on more adventures. Sleep is the human version of an E-tank, where after we sleep, we are fully recharged and ready to take on another gaming session, so it's best to avoid racking up a debt with sleep or depriving yourself of the hours you need.
There are several labels that can be used to describe sleep deprivation. There can be short term sleep debt accrued or long term over the course of a week or more. Short term typically refers to only 24 hours or more of no sleep, while long term is sleeping for a less-than-adequate amount over the period of a week or more.
Studies show that sleep debt increases reaction time, decreases performance, and makes you about as good of a driver as someone under the influence. One recent study placed young adults on a 33 hours awake/10 hours asleep schedule for 3 weeks and observed their reaction times and performance in cognition tests. While they performed better after just waking up from their 10 hour sleep, their times increased from 667 milliseconds to over 2 seconds by the end of the study. (Source: https://www.livescience.com/9799-lost-sleep-study-suggests.html)
The results of this study show that while you may feel better in the short term by catching up on sleep or making a deposit in your sleep bank if you will, you'll still suffer negative consequences over the long term. Sleep is one of the best ways our body heals itself, both mentally and physically, and recharges our E tank in the game of life.
What are the affects of losing a few hours of sleep per night just to get in more hours of grinding the last level your on for more xp? According to Stanford University Sleep Clinic, sleep deprivation can lead to foggy brain, declining vision and driving awareness, trouble remembering, obesity, insulin resistance, and heart disease. As we can see, draining your sleep bank and not repaying your debt can lead to a host of problems not worth any of the incremental gains you may see by pulling late nights consistently.
The best way to get back to a normal sleep pattern is to bank extra sleep slowly on a daily basis and not to attempt to fix it all in one weekend. Sleeping an extra hour or so for a period of two weeks can work wonders in repairing your reaction time, speed, and mental acuity. For most normal workers, syncing your sleep cycle with the sun is the one your body most wants to adhere itself to. This may not always make the most sense when your game tournaments and matches may be taking place in a different time zone, so be sure to make allowances for your sleep on the back end of the adjustment. For example, if you need to stay up until midnight on the east coast for a west coast tournament, be sure to sleep in an extra three hours once the tournament is wrapped up.
If you need any more convincing against racking up lost hours of sleep, here are some of the benefits of getting adequate sleep. Studies have shown that while you sleep, synaptic pruning and consolidation of what you've learned throughout the day cements itself in your neurons, making for a stronger memory. On average, those who get more sleep per night live longer than those who stay up past bed time. Getting less than six hours of sleep per night can lead to a dramatic spike in inflammation that leads to arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. Therefore, sleeping as much as your body needs will ward off disease that may put you out of commission and practice in your favorite games.
In addition to consolidating memories in your brain while sleeping, your brain also reorganizes them which leads to greater creativity and thinking about problems or levels in a different way. Studies have also shown that students who receive adequate sleep get better grades, which means less stress while you're behind the throttle and gaming with your friends. Finally, good sleep can ward off depression and ensure you are functioning at your peak and don't have to fight through emotions when doing that important raid you've been planning for a week.
In summary, sleep will get you farther than any energy drink or caffeine supplements you have on hand. There is no substitute for your body's most natural process. Don't ignore your nightly E tank, and you'll soon find yourself with super human powers, just like Mega Man.
If you're a gamer, this is the time to be alive. Never in human history have we had so many different forms of entertainment to choose from. Whether you like role-playing games, first-person shooters, puzzles or anything else, there's something out there for you to find, become obsessed with and eventually master.
One negative of having all this awesome entertainment at our fingertips is that it can be difficult to put the controller down at night. On the flipside, those who suffer from insomnia often get up and return to the imaginary world within the game to pass the time. It's better than the alternatives, which include binging reality television, lurking on your ex's social-media profiles and staring blankly into the darkness for hours.
For gamers who are having a hard time getting to sleep at night, it's a bit of a chicken-egg scenario. Are you suffering from insomnia because you play games, or are you playing games because you suffer from insomnia?
The human body has a natural rhythm that aligns with the cycle of the planet. This is called the circadian rhythm. In other words, your brain is trained to wake up with the sun and get sleepy when the darkness arrives. In the modern world, we're always being bombarded with unnatural light, which is one reason many people have trouble sleeping.
Even more than household lighting, it's screen time that's really doing a number on us. Whether it be video games, phones or general web browsing, our time spent connecting to the digital world is having a negative effect on our sleep patterns. Even though we don't consciously notice, screens emit light on the blue wavelength, which tricks the brain into believing that it's daytime. Exciting video games also get the adrenaline pumping, which further contributes to insomnia.
However, before you blame your love of video games for your failing ability to fall asleep, it's wise to examine your troubled sleep pattern and find the true reason for it. While late-night gaming certainly isn't helping, there can sometimes be other reasons for insomnia that shouldn't be overlooked. The first step is learning what type of insomnia you're suffering with.
1. Sleep Onset
2. Sleep Maintenance
3. Early Awakening
If you suspect that your gaming habits are interfering with sleep, don't worry. There are solutions that don't involve quitting your favorite pastime. Along with making an effort to put the game away an hour or two before you plan to fall asleep, you can also invest in devices that filter out blue light and allow you to partake without throwing off your circadian rhythms.
There are all sorts of blue-light filtering techniques, from special monitors designed to emit less of the light to glasses you can wear while you play. There are also devices you can place in front of your monitor, which are among the most comfortable of solutions.
Along with eating right, exercising and maintaining a positive mindset, getting adequate sleep is one of the most important things we can do. While we drift through dreamland, our bodies are being repaired and rejuvenated from the inside out. Missing sleep can do more than simply put you in a bad mood the next day. It can cause serious harm to the body and mind.
Are you always tired? Does the sleep you get at night never seem to be enough? Do you wake in the morning longing to spent the day snoring? If so, you might be getting inadequate sleep. Proper sleep involves five stages.
Most people assume that if they're falling asleep at night, they must be getting the required amount of rest, but this isn't always the case. You might be entering the first few stages of sleep but never reaching the deeper stages, causing your body to carry onward in a perpetual state of sleep deprivation. If, along with feeling exhausted during the day, you toss and turn in bed, wake often throughout the night and can't remember having any recent dreams, you might be failing to reach the deeper stages of sleep.
If you suspect that you're not sleeping properly at night, you don't want to let the problem go. Most people think of insomnia as a nuisance and nothing more, but a long-term lack of proper sleep can have serious physical and mental consequences.
Your Work Life
When you don't get adequate sleep, you can't make smart decisions. You may suffer from memory problems or the inability to focus. You could find yourself struggling during meetings or having a hard time staying on top of the work you need to get done. If your job involves driving or operating heavy machinery, attempting to work in such an exhausted state could be dangerous to yourself and others.
Your Personal Life
Everything is connected. Therefore, if your body and mind are suffering, your sex drive will suffer as well. On top of a loss of libido, sleep deprivation could leave you irritable and depressed, making it harder to work out problems in your relationship. If you're single, you might lose the motivation to get out and date due to always being tired and feeling down.
Your Ability to Maintain Your Body
Sleep deprivation can lead to dehydration, which is both dangerous and uncomfortable. It's hard to get through a good workout at the gym when you're exhausted, irritable and dehydrated. You'll be more likely to skip working out all together.
There is also the issue of craving foods. Studies have shown that the lack of sleep can contribute to lowered levels of the hormone leptin, which makes us feel hungry. Leptin levels go up as our bodies repair during sleep, which is one reason many people don't feel hungry for breakfast in the morning. When you skip sleep, you might crave junk food all day, and you'll likely give in to those cravings to boost your irritable mood. All of this can make it harder to maintain a fit body and active lifestyle.
Your brain creates toxic byproducts as it carries out its various processes. These toxins are handled by your brain's glymphatic system, but when you don't get proper sleep, your glymphatic system never gets the chance to do its job. This can lead to a buildup of neurotoxins in the brain.
Along with the neurotoxin issue, studies have found that the lack of sleep induces weakness in the blood-brain barrier. This can cause a variety of serious problems, especially for people who take certain medications.
Your General Health
We all have a natural clock that aligns with the cycle of the earth. The genes that control this clock are connected to other parts of the body as well, such as the metabolism and immune system. Without the chance to heal at night, your body will be dealing with more inflammation, which can lead to unpleasant symptoms and illnesses long term.
During the first 24 hours of sleep deprivation, your physical and mental health begin to decline. Your heart must work harder to pump blood throughout your body, and your blood pressure begins to rise. Along with a greater chance of obesity, research has shown that people who are chronically sleep deprived may be more likely to suffer from diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, mood disorders and even cancer.
Now that you fully understand the importance of sleep, you might be looking for ways to make sure you're providing yourself with the best sleep possible. Adults need seven to eight hours of sleep each night, and it can take some time to fall asleep, so your first step should be setting a reasonable bedtime. Your ideal bedtime will depend on when you need to wake up in the morning, but the most natural routine is to rise with the sun and fall asleep sometime before midnight. If you can't manage that, you can at least check for bad habits that might be delaying sleep whenever you do go to bed.
One of those bad habits is late-night screen time. Whether it's video games, internet browsing or even watching television, studies have shown that staring at a screen can interfere with proper sleep. These screens release light on the blue wavelength, which is much like exposing our eyes to bright sunlight.
For millennia, our bodies have evolved to respond to natural light by waking up. By using electronic devices in the hours before bedtime, we are essentially telling our bodies that we're hours away from being prepared to go to sleep. You might be exhausted, but if your body thinks you're halfway through your workday, it's going to attempt to remain awake.
This ugly cycle is perpetuated by the fact that blue light exposure blocks the brain from making melatonin, an important natural hormone that helps us fall asleep. This is why taking melatonin supplements can sometimes be a big help. However, not everyone reacts to these supplements very well, and it's always better to seek out more reliable long-term solutions.
While turning off the electronics in favor of a warm bath or an hour of meditation is ideal, not everyone wants to shut off the computer in the minutes leading up to bedtime. Maybe you're absorbed in an awesome new game, or maybe you're working on a big project, and you need to cram as many hours of work in as you can. Luckily, there are devices designed to filter out the blue light and help your body relax into sleep more quickly when you're ready.
Options for blocking out blue light include:
Along with making an effort to block blue light, you can also try your best to save the most relaxing activities for later in the evening. If you want to play a video game, choose a calming puzzle game versus an exciting first-person shooter. If you enjoy falling asleep to a movie, make sure it's on the boring side. Better yet, get into the habit of reading a good book before bed.
There are quite a few blue light filters for iPads on the market but which one do you choose when you're ready to buy? Do you choose PET or tempered glass?
At SleepXP we know from experience what makes a product superior:
After testing dozens of products we believe RetinaGuard meets all those qualities and can prove it.
In fact, the author of this article has preferred RetinaGuard blue light filters over all other brands, as seen by their recent Amazon purchase history:
RetinaGuard started in 2013. It has consistently focused on quality blue light filters for mobile devices, monitors, and computers. Whether you have an iPad, iPhone, iMac, or Macbook, they have you covered.
Contrary to other brands, RetinaGuard's blue light filters & screen protectors aren't a small segment of a larger product line but rather their entire focus. Industry certifications like SGS & Intertek show that RetinaGuard is serious about blocking blue light and they have the scientific results to back up their products.
Next let's dive into the installation, pictured below.
The iPad Pro is Apple's premium iPad product and as such it deserves a premium blue light filter.
If you're not careful your iPad Pro 10.5" also comes with premium repair costs - a cracked screen alone costs $449 to repair.
With all the blue light filter choices out there, how do you pick a brand that works?
Don't settle for a cheap plastic screen protector. Protect both your iPad and your eyes with a tempered glass blue light filter from RetinaGuard.
RetinaGuard is certified by both SGS &Intertek to block 90% of blue light in the 380nm to 420nm range.
The package itself came packed in bubble wrap with a cardboard insert.
The outside of the package proudly displays everything you need to know - 9H rated coating, 0.4mm thin, 90% blue light blockage between 380nm-420nm.
Included in the package are:
A blue light screen protector is easy to install but don't rush through it. Considering you'll most likely own your iPad for a couple years, take your time with the installation.
If you weren't already reading this page, the included instructions inside the package are in English, Japanese, and Chinese.
First, before getting started, be sure to wash and dry your hands to remove excess oils.
Second, use the provided alcohol prep pad to clean any crud off the device. Wipe it dry with the microfiber cloth provided.
Anything on the surface of your iPad will get trapped under the screen protector, so it's important to remove any speck of dust you see on the screen'svsurface.
Now for the most important part.
Peel the bottom layer of the screen protector, careful not to touch the sticky part. Then, slowly line up the filter on top of the iPad and stick it down.
Try not to unstick the filter once it's placed.
Editor's Note: You'll need both hands to align the filter perfectly.
Sometimes little bubbles appear after installation. No worries, that's normal.
Use the same wiping cloth to smooth out the the protective cover.
As you see in the picture, the lighter colored oval in the middle is a giant air bubble. It was mostly gone within 5 minutes of wiping the screen.
You're finished! Time to sleep better and reduce eye strain.
Your screen protector should last you the lifetime of your iPad. If you happen to drop your iPad, the screen protector is designed to absorb the impact first and will shatter, saving the screen underneath.
Now that the blue light screen protector is installed, how does it perform? It's rated for 9H on the Pencil Hardness Test (not the Mohs scale) meaning it'll protect your screen from any future scratches.
Additionally, it protects your device from water damage as water droplets just roll off the screen.
RetinaGuard has perfected this technology years ago, as seen from this video from 2014.
Here's an update scratch and hardness test from 2016.
There are many blue light filter screen protectors for Apple products on the market, but which company makes the best overall product? At SleepXP we know from experience what makes a product superior:
RetinaGuard meets all those qualities and has the experience to prove it. In fact, the author of this article has preferred RetinaGuard blue light filters over all other brands, as seen by recent Amazon purchase history:
RetinaGuard has been around since 2013 and has focused on making blue light filters for mobile devices, monitors, and computers. If you have an iPhone, iPad, iMac, or Macbook, they have you covered.
Unlike other brands, RetinaGuard's blue light filters aren't a small segment of a larger product line but their entire focus. Industry certifications like SGS & Intertek show they are serious about blocking blue light and they have the scientific results to back it up.
Let's dive into the installation below.
The iPhone X is Apple's first premium mobile product and it deserves a premium blue light filter. If you're not careful with your device the iPhone X/XR/XS also comes with premium repair costs - a cracked screen alone costs $279 to repair.
Protect both your phone and your eyes with a tempered glass blue light filter from RetinaGuard.
The package itself is vibrant and almost silky to the touch. It proudly displays everything you need to know - 9H rated coating, 0.4mm thin, 90% blue light blockage.
Included in the package are:
A blue light screen protector is easy to install but don't rush through it. Considering you'll be looking at your mobile phone frequently, take your time with the installation.
Before you get started find a flat surface and clear out some space. A dining room, desk, or coffee table will do just fine.
First, before getting started, be sure to wash and dry your hands to remove excess oils.
Second, use the provided alcohol prep pad to clean any crud off the device and wipe it dry with the microfiber cloth.
Anything on the surface of your phone will get trapped under the screen protector, so it's important to remove any speck of dust you see on the screen's surface.
Between the microfiber cloth and the dust free sticker, you'll have a spotless surface before placing the filter on the device.
Now for the most important part.
Peel the bottom layer of the screen protector, careful not to touch the sticky part. Then, slowly line up the filter on top of the phone and stick it onto the phone.
Personally, I like to peel back the protective plastic about half way, line up the filter at the top and press down, then remove the remainder of the plastic.
Try not to remove the filter once it's placed.
Sometimes little bubbles appear after installing the screen protector - that's normal.
Use the same wiping cloth to smooth out the top of the phone. It may take an additional 24-48 hours for the filter to fully settle onto the screen.
If preferred you can release the air bubbles by pushing them to the sides of the phone.
You're finished! Your phone, eyes, and future sleep all thank you for installing a blue light filter on your mobile device.
Your screen protector should last you the lifetime of your phone. If you happen to drop your phone, the screen protector is designed to absorb the impact first and will shatter, saving the screen underneath.
Overall the colors of the display aren't distorted and I can't actually tell I'm using a physical blue light filter.
One thing I noticed about the RetinaGuard blue light filters is they tend to "glow" a blue/purple hue when under natural sunlight. This wasn't noticed under artificial lighting. You'll often see blue light filters and lens give off the same hue when reflecting light and it's completely normal.
Now that the blue light screen protector is installed, how does it perform? It's rated for 9H on the Pencil Hardness Test (not the Mohs scale) meaning it'll protect your screen from any scratches.
Throw your phone in your pocket with some keys? No problem.
Additionally, it protects your device from water damage as water droplets just roll off the screen.
Here's an update scratch and hardness test from 2016.
Living near Boston, MA, USA, I’ve attended PAX East almost every year since PAX expanded to the East Coast back in 2010. For anyone interested or curious about the gaming scene there’s a plethora of games to play and buy (PC, console, card, board, tabletop) and of course, dozens of panels to attend. What struck me was the number of panels focused around mental health and the gaming community. For example, check out this partial schedule from PAX East 2014:
This summer I had the pleasure of speaking with Brian Liberge, the long-running moderator of one of those panels, Inner Demons: Anxiety and Depression in Gamers.
SXP: Hi Brian. We first met in 2017 after one of the PAX East panels you moderated, Inner Demons: Anxiety and Depression in Gamers. It looks like this particular panel has gone through various names and guests over the years. What’s the origin story of this panel?
Brian: To my best recollection, the first time the panel happened was at GenCon sometime around 2009. It was organized and run by Phillipe-Antoine Menard, known by many as the ChattyDM. I recall seeing it at GenCon and seeing it at the first PAXEast back when it was in the Hynes Convention center. Phil is an incredible person who is giving and kind. He also lives with depression and wanted to share experiences with other people so they would know that are not alone. It was very powerful. I felt seen and welcomed, having dealt with depression and anxiety myself. When Phil needed additional speakers in 2012, I volunteered. My notes tell me that I’ve only missed one PAXEast since.
SXP: How has the general reaction been from PAX staff and attendees and are there plans to moderate this panel in 2019 and beyond? I’ve noticed the audience has grown the past couple years and there’s always a long line for questions at the end. Why do you think the gaming community intersects so strongly with mental health issues?
Brian: There are no plans to stop this panel. Ashley Biancuzzo and I both still live outside of Boston so hitting PAXEast is something we can do without needing to travel. She’s really the organizer theses days, I just get the ‘glory’ from being the moderator.
I haven’t heard too much from PAX themselves on this panel. The convention doesn’t invite us to speak, they just open panels submissions each year. So we keep submitting the event. I believe they keep accepting us because of the feedback from audience members. We have people who return each year to hear people’s stories. My anxiety and depression tend to act up when hearing about other people’s anxiety and depression so for me the panel can be pretty tough. I’ve also spoken on a number of other panels and this panel produces more audience appreciation than anything. People will come up not just after the panel, but later in the con (and even at other cons) to express how much they appreciate that the panel exists. That’s why we keep doing it.
I honestly don’t think there’s an intersection between mental health issues and gamers. I do think there’s a big intersection between mental health issues and people. The Entertainment Software Association’s 2018 survey found that 64% of US Households have at least one device for gaming, and 60% of Americans play games every single day. Gamers aren’t just a segment of the population, they’re most people.
Games do help us learn a few great skills such as collaboration and a willingness to try strategies that other gamers have used. How many of us have gotten stuck somewhere in a game and turned to a player maintained wiki or video tutorial?
We’re not targeting the gamer community, we’re just taking advantage of a space available to us, one we’ve come to trust, to talk about something we think is important.
From PAX East 2015
From PAX East 2017
SXP: As you mentioned there’s been incredible audience feedback from the Inner Demons panel. The Q&A at the end always spills into the hallway after the panel is over. What have been some common themes or questions asked by the audience?
Brian: I think most people just want to keep the empathy going. Most often we have people asking us to elaborate on a specific point in our own experiences or to share a bit of their own story.
SXP: As someone who has attended the panel I appreciate the openness from yourself and the other guests. It’s courageous to set aside your own discomfort to promote the mission of destigmatizing mental illness such as depression and anxiety.
Part of our mission at SleepXP is to explore the intersection between depression, anxiety, and insomnia. According to the April 2018 release of the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, insufficient sleep is a known trigger of anxiety, and that has certainly matches my experience. For those plagued with chronic (>3 weeks), short-term (3-21 days), or transient (1-3 days) insomnia, it becomes a vicious cycle that feeds into existing suffering. For example, you may become depressed due to low melatonin levels and loss of sleep, or your metabolism becomes unbalanced and increases your appetite. Healthy sleep hygiene is a crucial part of managing mental illness and is generally not considered a strong point of the gaming community – at least according to anyone I’ve ever played a MMO with.
You have other moderator duties at GenCon and PAX, specifically with tabletop gaming. That’s a world I’ve never been a part of and wouldn’t know where to start. What sparks your interest with tabletop gaming and where does a newbie begin?
Games on Demand @ PAX East 2018
Brian: One of the things I love about PAX is how accessible they are making tabletop RPGs. Video games are a huge money making industry that dwarfs the world of tabletop. You’re much more likely to have played Halo or Candy Crush than you are to have heard about Dungeon World (an excellent and popular tabletop RPG). So if you’re lucky enough to get to a PAX or similar conference, that’s a great place to start. Pull out that con guide and look for Games on Demand. It’s a volunteer run area where a plethora of fun game masters. They’re waiting for you to come by and decide you want to play a game, no experience needed. They’re not in it for anything but the love of the game. It’s a guaranteed awesome experience.
If your con doesn’t have Games on Demand, take a look for Paizo or Wizards of the Coast. Those are two tiny titans of tabletop. They often run Learn To Play games at conventions and they’re pretty good, too. I’m a little biased as over the years I’ve slid over to volunteering with and sometimes running Games on Demand.
That’s where I get my spark. My favorite moments in tabletop gaming is watching players have those ‘eureka’ moments at the game table, when they realize a barrier doesn’t really exist. Video games have a limit that tabletop games don’t have, the programmers can’t expand the world in real time. Eventually there’s an edge to the map, or they didn’t program an option you’d really wish you had. If there’s a brick wall you can’t climb it unless the game makers created a rule that allows you to do so. In the world of tabletop if you come up with an idea the designers didn’t expect, the Game Master is there to facilitate a way for you to try. You might fail, but it will probably be spectacular and memorable.
SXP: Across all mediums – board/card/tabletop/computer – what are some your favorite games you’re playing now? Myself, I’ve been playing Sleeping Queens with my kids, trying to complete Hollow Knight on the Nintendo Switch, and recently got recommended to play another rogue-lite on the PC, Dead Cells. Honestly I can’t get enough of good Metroidvania type games.
Brian: I just got into Marvel Future Fight, on mobile. There’s the fun of collecting characters of love without serious pressure to check in daily for upkeep. The Civilization series has always been one of my favorites, and my fiance and I are wrapping up a long multiplayer game. The Australian-German alliance will be the first to colonize the stars.
I’m also GMing a fantastic Monsterhearts 2, where we’re getting to see the intersection of demonic, fae and coven powers play out.
SXP: Brian, thanks for sharing your story with us today. Where can people go if they want to learn more about what you do or care about?
Pokemon Go is a mobile game that was released on July 6, 2016. During the summer of 2016 the "PoGo" craze swept the world with business owners rushing to register their businesses as PokeStops, and hordes of players descending upon popular parks. Two years later in 2018 the game is going through a renaissance as the developer, Niantic, has improved gameplay and added hundreds of additional Pokemon.
Unlike most video games, Pokemon Go forces the player to get off the couch and step into the real world. You have to keep moving in order to level up throughout the game, and unless you live in the city there won't be anything to catch around the house.
One added benefit of leveling up your in-game character is leveling up your own sleep game. Pokemon Go is the perfect gamification of exercise, and exercise is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle and sleep hygiene. But can Pokemon Go actually cure your insomnia? Let's explore this idea.
If you are an avid video gamer you may be asking yourself, ?Why am I not sleeping well?? According to an analysis of MMO game hours, 75% of gamers play at least 1.9 hours at a day, and 25% of gamers play longer than 4.9 hours per day. Based on an informal survey of SleepXP readers, it's not uncommon for someone to spent 8-12 hours playing a MMO or other game type on the weekend. Though MMOs are only one genre of video games, this data was valuable to help quantify playing habits.
According to researcher Brandy Roane, PhD, "...video gaming is quite an important factor that frequently leads to missed sleep for 67% of gamers." Lack of sleep can be very detrimental to your health if it becomes a common occurrence. People that routinely get little to no sleep can exhibit a wide variety of symptoms, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, hormonal changes, and insomnia. Additionally, poor sleep habits can exacerbate existing mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety. Do you spend more time leveling up your in-game character than yourself?
So what does all of this have to do with Pokemon Go? Well, Pokemon Go is one of the first video games that appeals to all ages and gets people up and moving. Getting regular exercise is part of good sleep hygiene and overall health, and exercise can dramatically decrease insomnia if done properly and consistently.
Pokemon Go is getting many people who don?t have a regular exercise routine to get up and get moving on a daily basis. They aren?t focused on the exercise portion of the game, but it's an added benefit.
The game incentivizes exercise in a number of ways:
It's very difficult - impossible, really - to hatch an egg or earn extra candies without walking. The game developer isn?t stupid - they've put controls in place to stop people from cheating or spoofing. While there are no official "speed limits", the Silph Road SubReddit community have extrapolated what these actual limits are - 6.5 mph for hatching eggs and ~20mph for spinning Pokestops. There's no way around it - you have to get movin' to play the game.
Pokemon Go also has a great way of spacing out the PokeStops and Gyms. There are some high populated areas where they are more dense than others, but generally they are spaced out enough so you are encouraged to walk. It seems ridiculous to drive a tenth of a mile to get to the next PokeStop, so you might as well get off your butt and walk. The game also has a feature so you can?t just sit and spin the PokeStop repeatedly and gain items - it takes about 5 minutes for you to be able to spin it again. During that time, you might as well walk to the next Gym or PokeStop.
You can stay in one spot for a while when you are battling in a Gym or competing in a raid. However, those both usually last only a few minutes, and then you are out and about moving again to the next destination. You are more than encouraged to keep moving throughout the game to catch the best and the most Pokemon.
While the effects aren?t usually immediate, regular exercise helps increase the production of melatonin, which is a hormone your body creates to help you get to sleep and stay asleep. Exercise is best done in the morning so that your melatonin will kick in around the time you should be going to sleep. However, it can also be effective if you prefer to exercise in the afternoon or at night as well.
If you are someone who prefers to get your exercise (or Pokemon hunting) done at night, this isn?t a huge problem. First, be sure to get a blue light filter for your phone. Second, there are a few things you might need to do in order to get your body relaxed and ready for bed, such as wearing special blue light blocking glasses 30-60 minutes before bed. Having a regular bedtime routine and doing the same thing every night before you go to bed will let your body know it needs to wind down. In addition, doing a few deep breathing exercises as you are laying down slows down your heart rate and calms your mind and body. When it comes to getting in your exercise, do what works best for you and stay consistent.
If Pokemon Go is played correctly, it could in fact help cure your insomnia. Multiple studies show after a few months of consistent exercise, adults with insomnia fell asleep quicker, slept longer, and had better sleep quality than before they started exercising. If you play the game on a daily basis and make it a regular habit to walk from Gyms to PokeStops, you will be getting a lot of fun exercise and level up your own sleep game.
In order to really succeed at Pokemon Go, you need to get up and get move. If you don?t, how are you possibly going to catch them all?
Sleep is a struggle for gamers, right? There's always a new level, new quest, or old challenge you just need one more chance to beat. Even with occasional stopping points, the blue light from computer monitors and TVs can seriously impact your sleep quality.
Experts recommend shutting off electronics before starting your bedtime routine, but that doesn't mean you're stuck with a dull evening. How about a board or card game instead?
We've got a list of good ones with quality art and excellent stories. Each one revolves around, you guessed it, sleep and dreams. They'll give your eyes a rest from the computer screen, and since they all have multiple players, you can prove once and for all that gamers really do have a social life. Let's take a look.
Our first game is a simple one. You choose from four different roles: Dreamer, Sandman, Fairy, and Boogyman. The dreamer must guess what the word is on the card using single word clues from the other three players.
The catch? Only the Fairy has the Dreamer's best interest in mind. The Boogyman tries to throw the Dreamer off guessing and the Sandman wins points by switching sides. The Fairy and the Dreamer get points when the Dreamer guesses correctly, and the Boogyman gets one point when the Dreamer guesses incorrectly.
You can play with a few more players, but the upside here is that each role is equal. Unlike other games where some roles have juicier parts than others.
The cards are illustrated beautifully by 20 different artists, so your inner art graphics snob is satisfied. Although it's a bit more expensive than comparable games, it's beautifully done and allows that gamer imagination to shine.
You can meet all the artists on the website and might see a few of your favorites. The only downside is the number of cards is small, so if you play enough, you'll start to remember the visual cues. Hopefully, there will be some expansion packs to reinvigorate gameplay.
Pleasant Dreams is a psychologist-created, two-player card game that explores meaning and symbols in dreamscapes. If you don't have a partner, you can alter the rules for a solitaire version.
It began as a Kickstarter, and when the original goal was met and surpassed many times over, it expanded into the beautiful game you get today. The art is gorgeous, calling on many influences including the original dream girl Alice (of Wonderland fame). Players try to fend off nightmares and hold on to happy pieces of their dreams. You know things are going to get worse, but exactly how? Only the deck knows.
It's a haunting game that plays quick, between five and ten minutes for most two player games. It covers those time when you need a quick game to play but still need something with some substance.
It goes beyond just simple card play. You have to get into your opponents head as you each progress through dreams. Prolonging good dreams have the potential to go very wrong if nightmare cards come into the mix, and it's all about mitigating those effects. Very strategic and very addictive.
Backing down from the surreal land of dreams, Sleeping Queens is a lighthearted game invented by a six-year-old who couldn't sleep. It's a card game in which you collect different queens while trying to steal queens from others or put them to sleep.
Six-year-old Miranda Evarts who couldn't sleep one night. During her tossing and turning, the idea for the game hit her and the next morning, she and her family made it a reality.
The object of the game is to wake as many sleeping monarchs as you can. With jesters, dragons, and dastardly potions, it's a fun competitive game of strategy and luck. It has quirky rules that everyone should find fun (Can't have a dog queen and a cat queen. They'd fight, duh), but the rules are easy enough that everyone can learn to play pretty quickly.
Don't be fooled by the creation story. The art is stylish and the cards are well made. Whoever gets the most queens or gets to 40 points (the cards are each worth points) wins, however, my kids and I usually play until all the queens are gone so the game lasts longer.
Gods, dreams, constellations, and a trickster. Dreams the board game brings in all those elements to create gameplay that puts you in the seat of the old gods. There are 72 cards with pictures. During each round, four of those cards must be transferred to the night sky. The gods don't know that a human trickster is in their midst and the human must evade detection.
The one trickster must guess the chosen words without revealing they have no clue. The others must guess the trickster. Players construct the picture star by star until the constellation is complete and everyone guesses.
Dreaming used to have an element of myth and spirituality. This game puts you in that frame with gorgeous artwork and a little more detail than a simple card game. It seems simple, but it requires a lot of deduction. Game time hovers around 40 minutes, and you need at least three players to make it work.
The art is stunning as usual. It mimics some of the classic role-playing card games you love. It has just enough elements to add some fun, but nothing too complicated to teach a person new to the game.
We like the homage to the old gods and that each role is weighted equally. No waiting for more substantial roles to make their moves.
Est. Playing Time
Ok, ok. Enough with the simple games. You want a full-scale RPG. We get it.
The shared dream draws on dice-based combat and checks with a storyteller and characters with base abilities. You've woken up one morning after a shared dream with all the players. As the game progresses, those dreams become a reality. It's divided into two parts, human during the day and during the night enemies make moves. It's up to the humans to mitigate the effects of the nightmares and the spawning of enemies.
The game has all the elements of RPG that you love with gorgeous artwork. The mini-figures could be a little better, but the theme of the game is a welcome change from the endless fantasy style games of most RPGs.
The downside is that the rules are complicated for newbies, so you'll need a set group of players who have learned the game inside and out to get into the gameplay fully. It's worth it if your weekly game night needs some fresh gameplay.
It has an extension for a single player to work through a dream, so if all your friends are busy, you can still get your fix.
None of these games sacrifice the artwork or story you love in your virtual gaming life. Taking a break from video games isn't a death-by-boredom-and-bad-graphics sentence, and it'll help get you away from the computer screen. Each of these sleep and dreamy games satisfy that urge for engaging gameplay with creative elements and stories that unfold with the contributions of each player. A few of them you can even play yourself when you don't want to people that day.
What dreams may come? Let us know your board & card games suggestions in the comments below.
How many of us spend hours in front of our computer monitors? During the day at work or playing games at night, our eyes are tired of screen time.
At night this can cause a couple issues - eye strain, dry eyes, migraines, and sleep disruption, due to the barrage of blue light. This can affect your work performance or ultimately if you win or lose an online game. This is where a low blue light monitor can become an advantage to your health and your gaming.
There are some simple ways to reduce blue light, such as blue light filters which are placed in front of your monitor. They're effective but the best solution is to purchase monitors with low blue light features built-in.
The main benefit of new monitors is that they offer enhanced visuals which older monitors using filters and screens may not. Additionally, monitors with better refresh rates and flicker-free models will decrease eye strain.
Our reviews will give you all the pros and cons of each of the monitors we have tried so that you can make an informed choice. Plus, we will reveal which models we believe to be the best low blue light monitor for the office, at home, and for gaming.
Two members of our staff have looked over a dozen monitors with low blue light features.
Choose from our favorite 9 models from BenQ, HP, Viewsonic, Dell, ASUS, and Acer.
If you ask yourself the question, "What do I want in a gaming monitor," there are bound to be obvious answers like fast response times, multiple connectivity ports, and great color contrast. One of your primary requirements must be that it doesn't harm your eyes.
The BenQ GW2780HL gaming monitor does indeed have all the features for great visuals during play, with the added benefit of the BenQ low blue light setting which offers adjustable blue light levels. BenQ's low blue light technology offers players 4 different user modes which allow longer playing and viewing times without your eyes being strained. In effect, they filter the damaging blue light in the frequency range of 420 - 455 nanometers but permit non-harmful blue light in frequencies of 455 - 480 nanometers.
This gaming monitor blue light filter system is not only for use when playing your favorite games, but is also beneficial when using the monitor for your PC, or when being used as a normal screen for watching streaming services such as Netflix.
Blue light reduction can help reduce eye strain however screen flicker can cause eye strain, and it often occurs without you realizing it's happening until your eyes get sore. Thankfully, the BenQ monitor's stable feedback technology diminishes this harmful flickering effect, and in doing so reduces eye strain.
Although BenQ technology will eliminate blue light from the computer screen, it does not mean that the images you see are poor in terms of color, clarity, or sharpness. The contrast of this monitor is 300:1. This means any image on screen will be highly defined, even in parts which are dark. It will also have exceptional clarity, which allows you to see every object in great detail, and if all that wasn't enough, the colors will have outstanding depth.
To get the colors to be as vivid and as varied as they are, this BenQ monitor has an 8-bit display capability which means it can display no fewer than 16.7 million different shades of color. This capability will colorfully bring to life any game you play, and it will have all the colors that the game designers intended them to have.
When playing games, it is not always going to be the case that you are sitting directly in front of the monitor. Multi-player games, or games where you are physically moving the controller a lot, necessitate your viewing from different angles. With many monitors, this reduces the clarity of the image. The BenQ monitor does not suffer from this problem due to 178 by 178 viewing angles, which give extremely sharp images from the widest of angles, including above and below the monitor.
HP has a great reputation for manufacturing quality computers, laptops, and peripheries such as printers and monitors. The N270h 27" Full HD Gaming Monitor offers full HD viewing and an anti-glare screen surface.
Two questions for you all. First, how good an image does this monitor produce. Second, how does it combat blue light in terms of reducing its harmful effect on users' eyes?
Let's deal with the first part of our question and put this monitor through its paces in terms of how it performs. The immediate appeal of this monitor is its styling, with an uncluttered surround and stand. The black, matte finish on the screen completes the ensemble, and for those that like more simplistic styling, you'll definitely love this.
In terms of eye-strain, the main issue we are looking at here is blue light, and you will be delighted to know that this HP monitor addresses this well, with an integrated blue light reduction system. Blue light can be switched on or off using the appropriate menu option, and the 'off' option is likely to be the best monitor setting for your eyes if blue light causes you discomfort or eye strain.
Gaming images are all about color, and this monitor more than provides for a colorful experience while you are playing. It can produce no fewer than 16.7 million different color shades, and it does so using the latest frame rate control technology. Add to this a superb color contrast ratio of no less than 5,000,000 to 1 (yes, 5 million!) and you can be assured that every image on your screen, whether you are gaming or simply surfing the internet, is going to look its stunning best.
The visual highlights don't end there, as this monitor can be seen in HD from angles up to 178 degrees. This allows you to see images on the screen with superb clarity, even if you move off-center when the game involves plenty of controller action.
Other great features of this monitor include a very easy on-screen menu system, which you can use to set it up and then adjust its settings if you need to when using it. There's also HP's bespoke 'Display Assistant' software which you can use for adjustments, security, and calibration.
Viewsonic has a reputation as one of the world's top manufacturers of display equipment including projectors, interactive displays and monitors. They are particularly adept at producing top quality and high specification monitors, so our expectations were high when we started to look at the ViewSonic VA2759-SMH Monitor.
So how did this Viewsonic measure up, not in terms of its size, but in its ability to prevent blue light from being an issue for its users?
Viewsonic has developed their own solution to the problem in the form of a blue light filter. This technology can be adjusted by the user so that the level of blue light matches the viewing scenarios. This means it is optimized to keep blue light levels safe, while at the same time allowing for the very best color quality on-screen. An example of this would be when looking at photographs where levels of blue light often need to be a bit higher.
Another aid to good eye health when playing games on this Viewsonic monitor is its bespoke 'Flicker-Free' technology. This enables the monitor to operate at a faster refresh rate than standard monitors. Most standard monitors refresh at only 60 Hz but the ViewSonic VA2759-SMH refreshes at 75Hz. If you play against opponents online, this can mean the difference between your healthy eyes letting you play on to win, while your opponent's eye strain has them quitting.
Visuals are customizable with this monitor as you can set-up three 'Gamer' preferences so that the monitor is optimized for individual games which you play. There are also four pre-programmed modes which are operated using hot-keys. When selected, they each activate a pre-calibrated setting which adjusts various aspects of the image, such as colors, depending on the game mode chosen.
Having looked at some of the technology used within this monitor, let's take a quick look at one of the more practical matters: connections. Connections include VGA and HDMI, so you can connect from virtually any console or PC, plus there are audio connections too.
There is no doubt that ASUS is one of the biggest and most successful technology companies in the world. Their product range includes laptops, smartphones, tablets, servers, PCs, and monitors. The specific model we are looking at is their MG28UQ UHD 28-Inch FreeSync Gaming Monitor which comes with an impressive list of technologies and features.
First, let's look at how this impressive monitor deals with the issues of eye strain caused by blue light. It is part of a range of monitors under the branding Asus Eye Care. You might be asking "What is Asus eye care?" and right away we'll tell you they are not moonlighting as opticians. However, the technologies they include in this monitor and others in order to combat eye strain caused by blue light will certainly impress your optician.
The first element of this is ASUS Flicker-Free technology which, as the name suggests, reduces flicker and in turn, eye strain and headaches. The screen is designed with a surface which reduces glare which can also cause eye strain and fatigue.
Regarding blue light, Asus has undertaken a great deal of research, and rather than having a simple on/off solution they have implemented a menu which allows you to select different blue light filter levels. These levels are adjusted depending on the reason you are using the screen. The gaming level is different from the level you set for reading documents, for example. When you are looking at your Asus monitor, the blue light setting you've chosen will adjust according to the activity.
If you play fast moving games, this monitor will suit your needs. The Asus MG28UQ has a response rate of 1 millisecond, which is 400 times quicker than the blink of an eye. The result is seamless game action and great visuals.
Another awesome feature to make your game time more fun is the hotkey technology which Asus has included for this monitor. Using this feature, you can improve your shooting skills thanks to four different crosshairs. Plus you can time yourself to make sure you are the fastest draw, too.
The last thing to mention is the great connectivity this monitor has, enabling you to connect to other devices using any one of four different connection types. It has two USB 3.0 ports, 1 x DisplayPort 1.2, and both 1.2 and 2.0 versions of HDMI. So, no matter what gaming console, keyboard, or controllers you use for gaming, they can all be accommodated.
The standout feature of MSI's powerful new Optix AG32CQ model is its refresh rate. If it's a seamless gaming experience that you're after, it's hard to beat the AG32CQ's refresh rate of 144Hz, which is almost a third better than the current market standard.
Another feature that makes the AG32CQ stand apart from the rest is its latency of a single millisecond. The monitor is also fully compatible with AMD's FreeSync option, which guarantees some of the smoothest gameplay currently available. The bad news is that, if you do happen to screw up at some point during the game, it will just be that much harder to blame it on your machine.
This is a 32-inch monitor that comes in a WQHD resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels. It is not an HDR display, with a brightness level of 250 nits, but it does come with a stunning 3000:1 contrast ratio and a viewing angle of a full 178 degrees.
One of the best things about this monitor, however, is how easy it is on your eyes. The AG32CQ is automatically optimized to reduce eye fatigue by limiting the blue light spectrum it shines into your irises.
Not only does MSI's Less Blue Light technology eliminate more of the ultraviolet-adjacent spectrum than most blue light filters currently on the market, but this display also comes with flicker-free backlight technology that extends beyond the ultraviolet area, covering the entire light spectrum. Where many gaming monitors limit their flicker-free backlight to only the blue light spectrum, MSI's Optix AG32CQ backlight reduces flickering across all colors in the spectrum. This powerful combination can have a noticeable effect on both your gaming hours and your sleeping hours, reducing eye strain during the day and improving sleep quality at night.
The Optix AG32CQ has an extra narrow bezel design that allows for a deeper immersion in the gaming experience than most gaming monitors. It can also make multi-monitor setups more seamless and easier to navigate.
The curvature rate is a comfortable 1800R, which keeps the game right in your face while limiting graphics distortion. The AG32CQ also comes with an estimated 20% more gamut coverage than the market average for gaming monitors. This helps accentuate the monitors colors, ensuring the highest degree of accuracy in image reproduction and detail.
If you are searching for a new gaming monitor with low blue light, you might want to check out the ASUS VG248QE. The monitor is completely compact, but still provides a decent sized screen that pro gamers will love.
Regardless of how much cash you spend on your PC, without a good quality monitor, your PC gaming will fall short. To get the most out of your PC, a monitor such as the ASUS VG248QE is essential. Even though it was released back in 2013, the VG248QE is still considered one of the best gaming monitors for gamers.
It also includes some impressive specifications such as a refresh rate of 144Hz. If you're currently using a 60Hz unit, you will immediately see the difference with the 144Hz.
Asus have created a monitor that has every adjustment a gamer might need. It goes right and left, up and down, backward and forward, and it can even be flipped into a portrait mode. So whatever position you need it in, this monitor can be customized into any position imaginable.
As seen with most gaming monitors, this Asus model features various ports. At the back, you will see three video inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI, and DVI. Next to these is a headphone jack and an audio input.
Possibly the best feature of the VG248QE is its one millisecond pixel response which means it provides no smearing, ghosting or lagging, even with fast-paced games. Besides providing a flawless display with games, it also works perfectly for movies.
As you will notice with most monitors, the speakers are not the best. The ASUS VG248QE only provides two watts per speaker so it sounds like it is lacking bass or comes across as tinny. It is also tricky to differentiate between various sounds as these speakers output all sounds with the same pitch. The best option is to buy a high quality pair of gaming speakers immediately, especially if you are going to primarily use it for gaming and to watch movies.
The Alienware AW3418DW is a curved monitor that proves that peak performance can also be pretty. With 34 inches of sleek, curved display area at 3440 x 1440, also known as UWQHD.
One of the features that stands out most about the AW3418DW is the peripheral LED lighting. Like a spaceship exploring the deep recesses of the universe, this monitor was built to glow. The down-facing LED strips on the underside of the screen compliment the rear-facing strips in the back, all of which can be customized to display any color you like in a number of soothing, rhythmic patterns.
Of course, aesthetics aside, the problem with any added LED lighting is the question of added eye strain. Alienware has come up with the perfect answer to this question in the form of its ComfortView preset mode. Designed for late-night gaming addicts, the ComfortView mode lowers the amount of blue light emitted by the screen.
Not only can this preset can be used at night in a dark room as a way to let your brain know that it's almost time for bed, but many experts recommend that you leave the blue light filter on all day long. Limiting the blue light emitted by your monitor has been shown to dramatically reduce eye strain.
The AW3418DW is a bold monitor with an eye-catching base that looks like a time machine. It has colors that pop and performance that can handle the most complex combos with zero lag time. The ultrawide screen area and matching resolution bring every detail to life, and the 178-degree wraparound field of view will help make sure that your opponents have a tough time sneaking up on you from any direction.
Latency from this monitor has been clocked at only about 12.9 milliseconds, which is slightly better than the market average. The refresh rate is a standard 100Hz, which can be overclocked up to 120Hz.
Asus' flagship model, the 34-inch PG348Q, is a luxurious gaming monitor with a resolution of 3440 x 1440 pixels, a refresh rate of 100Hz, 13 milliseconds of latency, and full support for G-sync technology. The display has a subtle curvature of 3800R, which minimizes graphics distortion while almost completely filling your peripheral vision. If you're looking for a monster monitor, it doesn't get much better than this.
This display comes with an LG-made AH-IPS panel that reduces glare quite noticeably. Although the PG348Q does not feature a flicker-free backlight, it does include ULMB technology, which places the monitors pulse width completely under your control. This feature allows you to strike the perfect balance between brightness and motion resolution, depending on your needs.
Although the PG348Q curvature may be subtle, there's nothing subtle about the monitor's design. This display comes with chassis that looks like it leaped right off the pages of a sci-fi novel. Apart from the straight lines that frame the screen itself, every single surface features some kind of curve, including the base, the stem, and the back of the monitor itself.
The PG348Q comes with an anti-glare layer that is hard to the touch and will not distort the image even if you press on the screen. This flush-mounted layer also helps provide crystal clear clarity and reduces grain to almost non-existent levels.
There are four different Low Blue Light settings that you can adjust depending on the time of day and the activity you are going to perform. If you wish to eliminate the blue light spectrum completely to reduce eye fatigue or help you wind down before going to sleep, you have the option to turn it all the way off. If you only need to reduce it a little for daytime use, web browsing, or reading, the PG348Q's other Low Blue Light settings also allow you to warm the color temperature only slightly or reduce brightness or contrast.
The ROG Swift PG348Q has advanced flicker-free technology that provides both smoother gaming experience and fewer instances of eye strain even if you are caught up in a long gaming marathon. The heatsink featured in this model is also worth mentioning. Heatsinks are conductive devices made out of metal and used to absorb the heat generated by a nearby source, such as a CPU or the circuit board in a monitor, and expel it. Asus' customized heatsink is double the size found in most other monitors and comes with a Smart Air Vent design that generates greater airflow within the monitor. This machine was genuinely built for gaming marathons.
Acer's standout curved gaming monitor, the beautiful Predator X34, comes with all the standard features that you've come to expect from a premium display as well as a few extras that will make you sit up and take notice. With 34 inches of display area, a 21:9 aspect ratio, and only 10.3 millisecond of latency, the X34 comes with a gentle 3800mm radius that keeps every inch of the monitor as close to your eyes as possible without causing any visible distortion.
What separates the Predator X34 from many of the other models on the market is the increased image fidelity providing by its in-plane switching (IPS) technology. The X34's IPS panel provides you with the wider viewing angles demanded by its extra wide viewing area and also helps ensure that the monitors color reproduction is as accurate as technologically possible.
If you're wondering about the X34's compatibility with your sleep cycle, you can rest easy. The monitor has a built-in Low Blue Light picture setting that removes only the most tiring blue light frequencies and adjusts the rest slightly to provide the most accurate color representation possible while reducing eye fatigue considerably.
Acer's X34 has a few other eye-saving settings including four Gamma presets and color temperature settings that can be cooled, warmed, or customized from the ground up, depending on your mood.
This luxury display also comes with a flicker-free LED backlight, which does wonders for reducing eye strain over long periods of use. Its frame-rate conversion technology provides you with a 10-bit color experience, and the monitor boasts an amazing four millisecond response time and an 100 Hz refresh rate that is fully capable of overclocking. The X34 also goes a step further toward accurate image reproduction with its G-sync adaptive refresh technology, placing this monitor among the few luxury displays on the market that put equal emphasis on top-notch graphics and eye safety during prolonged use.
When searching for the best monitor for your eyes there are a lot of considerations to take. For starters it should have a low blue light option, whether it's a toggle or a value you can set from 1-100, like brightness. This can be controlled by hardware buttons or special software.
There are 5 major features you should understand - Refresh Rate, Panel Type, Response Time, Resolution, and Adaptive Sync. Additionally, there are other specifications to pay attention to, such as the Stand or Contrast Ratio. Let's dive in.
Some manufactures more actively advertise their low blue light features than others. For example, here are some companies and their respective low blue light tech:
Includes 5 level blue light adjustment, flicker-free panel, and anti-glare coating.
Application to adjust blue light settings. Can also be done directly on the monitor.
Similar to ASUS. Mutli-level blue light adjustment, flicker-free panel, and anti-glare coating.
Anti-Flicker, Less Blue Light, and ScenaMax features.
Set blue light level from 1-100. RGB leveling maintains the correct color balance.
This is one of the most important specs. What is refresh rate? It's how many times the screen refreshes per second to display a new picture. This is measured in Hertz (Hz). The higher the better e.g. 144Hz is better than 60Hz.
Most consumer monitors run at or around 60Hz. If you're going to buy a 60Hz monitor make sure it has flicker-free technology, otherwise eye strain will be a problem for you. BenQ has an excellent flicker-free video example here.
Gamers should buy a monitor with at least 120Hz though newer monitors are available at 144Hz and beyond.
There are 3 major types of panels - TN, IPS, and VA. Below are descriptions of each panel but note they are generalizations. As of 2018 OLED gaming monitors aren't in the mainstream yet but will be considered the best overall pick once they're released.
Low response times
High refresh rates
Great black levels
Great color contrast
Lower response times
Poor viewing angles
Limited to 6-bit color
Poor viewing angles
Latency for gaming is an important issue and finding a low latency monitor is not only important for your eyes but crucial for certain types of games. Issues such as Ghosting and Motion Blur will occur with fast action on monitors with high response times - like taking a picture of a moving object with a poor camera.
Generally you'll want to find a monitor with the lowest response time. This is quantified by two stats - GTG (grey-to-grey) and BTB (black-to-black) - which measure the time it takes for a pixel to go from one state to another. This is measured in milliseconds (ms). Lowest is best and you should avoid anything over 5ms.
Editors note: Response time is different from Input lag, which is notable for high performing gamers. Input lag is the delay between a user-action (keyboard, mouse) and when the result of that user-action is shown on the screen. A high refresh-rate monitor (144Hz) will have less input lag than a 60Hz model. Using a wireless mouse & keyboard and upscaling features will add further input lag.
There are four main resolutions you'll find when looking to buy a low blue light gaming monitor - 1080p , 1440p, 4k. and Ultra-Wide QHD.
This spec is measured by pixels (px). Higher resolutions mean that there more pixels per inch (PPI) resulting in a better image. This can become very noticeable with larger monitors the closer you get.
Which size gaming monitor should you get? It depends on your computing space and budget. For anything larger than 27" I would recommend a 1440p or 4k monitor; under 27" get the best you can based on your budget and overall monitor featured. Don't necessarily sacrifice for a larger monitor if it has poorer refresh rates and response times.
There are two very similar adaptive sync technologies - originally from NVIDIA and then released by AMD. Adaptive Sync matches the monitor refresh rate to how much the GPU can process in real time, eliminating "tearing" and making the image smoother. Similar to the VSync option you see in games but without the input lag.
Before purchasing a monitor with either technology make sure your video card supports it.
Besides the 5 major specs noted above, there are other things to consider when purchasing a monitor:
1) Screen Size
2) Viewing Angle
4) Format (Widescreen 16:9, Ultra-wide, curved)
5) Bit Color Depth
6) Monitor Finish
7) Contrast Ratio
In truth, we were impressed with all the monitors we reviewed, particularly with respect to how they all had technology and features in place to deal with the issue of blue light, and in many cases flickering too. To pick a winner out of all them was tough, and in the end, we chose a couple which offered the best gaming experience in terms of graphics, combined with how well they addressed blue light.
Our top choice for all-around pick is the ASUS MG28UQ 28" FreeSync Gaming Monitor which provides stunning imagery thanks to its 4K UHD display and fast refresh rate of just 1 ms. It provides these great graphics while at the same time having the most comprehensive system for users to adjust the display settings to their personal preferences in terms of blue light filter levels.
The performance pick is easily the ASUS ROG Swift PG348Q 34" Curved Gaming Monitor. As a flagship model it doesn't cut any corners and it provided one the best gaming sessions I've experienced.
Asus has clearly taken the issue of blue light and eye strain seriously and wanted to create products that provide a safe but enjoyable experience for their customers.
We could accomplish so much if we just cut out sleep from our daily schedule. Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? But that's essentially what folks are doing by using their electronic devices at night. Today we'll discuss not letting blue light affect your sleep.
Why do we need to sleep, anyways? As the saying goes, "I'll sleep when I'm dead." Not exactly a wise idea.
Sleep is a critical time when our bodies replenish and repair the wear and tear from our daily activities. This happens at a cellular level. Little bots who live in our organs get to work with little brooms, sweeping off our cells and put our building blocks back into place.
But what if you're doing things that cause your body to not fall asleep? How does blue light affect your sleep, and what changes can you make to level up your sleep game?
Almost every one of us depends on the convenience that our gadgets offer. It's not entirely a bad thing, since smartphones, tablets, and computers definitely add to our quality of life. Our productivity goes up, making a lot of lives and tasks much easier.
However, is too much of a good thing a bad thing? To put it plainly, yes. In this case, too much of a good thing can have severe effects on those who unwittingly use this new technology without the proper habits or protection.
Light, before anything else, is a stimulus.
Natural light from the sun is very balanced in terms of composure. This means that it has just the right amount of blue light that the body can handle safely, since the human body has had hundreds of thousands of years to adapt to it.
Artificial light, on the other hand, refers to any sort of lighting that is man-made. The light given off by electronics tends to give off more blue light. The body reacts to this blue light similarly whether it comes from the sun or a cell phone.
Ultimately, blue light coming off our electronic devices can affect our body's balance and disrupt our circadian rhythm.
How does our body know when it is time sleep? It depends on our circadian rhythm, which is our body's natural clock. It's how our bodies know how to wake up in the morning, when to eat, when to think about big problems, and when to sleep.
Our clocks are re-synced by the rising of the sun. Body clocks average 24-hour-cycles but can range from 22-26 hours. There are rhythms and oscillations that take place over the day.
The circadian rhythm is influenced by light sensitive retinal proteins that trigger signals to the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN for short. The SCN is a group of cells that lives in the hypothalamus, just above your mouths hard pallet. It receives info from the retina, influenced by light, to promote sleep or wakefulness.
Based on the signals it receives, the SCN then sends a message to the pineal gland to release melatonin. What is melatonin? Melatonin, also called the sleep hormone, is mostly produced during nighttime. It's responsible for making us feel drowsy and also reducing our body's temperature at night.
While our bodies are constantly influenced by neurochemical changes of our chemical soup, our eyes are extremely sensitive to light, and respond by increasing melatonin when there is less light to activate the SCN. This works in the reverse - when our eyes detect light, mainly in the morning, our body slows down the release of melatonin so we can wake up, bright eyed and bushy tailed, as we drag ourselves to the coffee maker.
If artificial blue light slows down the body's natural production of melatonin at night, do you see how that can affect your sleep quality and getting to sleep quickly?
According to research, excessive light can disrupt our normal sleep cycle. Many studies report blue light disrupts sleep. There is a plethora of science to back up these claims.
There's no denying that proper sleep is one of the many keys to a balanced and healthy lifestyle. If one doesn't have the ability to cut back on using electronic devices during resting hours, then it's necessary to take additional precautionary measures.
Making a small investment and purchasing a blue light filter can yield incredible results. As of 2018, there's no better way to counter the negative effects of blue light exposure than blue light filters.
Blue light filter glasses are a fantastic choice for a number of reasons. They are highly portable, relatively cheap, and have incredibly positive results on ones health. Depending on the model you could even make fashion statement.
Blue light filter panels are also an excellent alternative. Putting one on the TV can be the difference between a cozy nap on the couch while watching Doctor Who reruns and visiting the doctor for prescription glasses. So please, take these small, efficient steps and improve your quality of life.
If you're a heavy computer user for work or play, your best bet is to get a low blue light monitor that has special blue light reducing features, or a flicker-free screen to decrease eye strain.
Whatever option you choose, take care of your body and limit the amount of blue light you receive. By following this advise you'll sleep better and no doubt Level Up Your Sleep Game.