Monday, January 28, 2013

Gaming before bed negatively impacts teens' sleep, research finds 

October 18, 2012
by the Health section of
 Video games and sleepless nights
(Medical Xpress)—Teenagers should steer clear of prolonged video gaming if they want a good night's sleep, new research from Flinders University shows.

The study – conducted at the University's Sleep Laboratory by masters student Daniel King – found that prolonged video gaming immediately before bed caused significant sleep disruptions in a group of teenage boys, even when they fell asleep at their usual bedtime.

The 17 participants played a newly released, fast-paced, violent video game for either 50 or 150 minutes on two different nights in the Sleep Lab, with sleep and heart-rate monitors as well as subjective reports from the teenagers used to assess the arousing effects of prolonged gaming.

Flinders University child sleep psychologist Dr Michael Gradisar, who supervised the study, said there was a 27-minute loss in total sleep time after 150 minutes of gaming based on the polysomnography tests and a 39-minute delay in sleep onset according to the participants' sleep diaries.

"While they went to bed at their regular bedtime, the adolescents' still experienced significant sleep disruptions caused by frequent awakenings throughout the night," Dr Gradisar said.

"Sleep is made up of many different stages and the REM sleep, also known as the dreaming sleep, was reduced by 12 minutes among the teens who played for over two hours," he said.

"This may not seem like a significant reduction but REM plays an important part in helping us remember content we learnt that day so for adolescents in their final years of school who are revising for exams, winding down at night with a video game might not be the best idea."

Dr Gradisar said the teens who played for 50 minutes had almost no trouble falling or staying asleep, yet significant disruptions were reported after 150 minutes of game time.

"Based on the self-reports, those who played for 50 minutes said it took them 22 minutes to fall asleep, which is within the normal amount of time teens take of 30 minutes or less.

"But their sleep onset delay almost doubled to 39 minutes when they played for two and a half hours so clearly there's a limit to how much you should play before bed."

Dr Gradisar said the study did not compare the effects of violent versus non-violent video games, although his past research showed little difference in teens who watched 50 minutes of the March of the Penguins documentary or played 50 minutes of Call of Duty 4, a violent videogame, before bed.

"The aim of this investigation wasn't to assess the content of video games but to look at the effect of the worst possible thing to do before bed because at the end of the day we want to better understand what affects adolescents' sleep. At the moment, less than one hour seems okay."

Results of the study have just been accepted in the international Journal of Sleep Research.

Provided by Flinders University

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tell Me Your Story

Recently a dear friend renewed her faith in God and is growing in leaps and bounds.  She is just now understanding God's Grace and sees it daily in the Christian music she listens to.  As she shared her most recent favorite song, I asked her to write an article explaining why that particular song means so much to her.  She wrote her "Story" as if she was writing a column for the newspaper.  It is so beautiful and honest that I want to share it with you.  I hope it is an inspiration for you to write out your "Testimony Song." I'm not looking for a newspaper article, but I would like you to share from your heart why you've chosen "your song" to tell your story.  _Al Menconi, editor,

Tell Me Your Story

My car windows were rolled tight, holding in the warmth of the sun, as I listened intently to the story of the Bible contained in the lyrics of each captivating song.  Each song was more moving than the next.  Each one was my new favorite.  I wished my drive could last much longer. 

I hadn’t read the CD jacket before popping disk two into the drive that morning as I left for work.  When Mac Powell (Third Day) began singing, his deep, soulful, melodic voice instantly caught my attention.  He drew me in.  And the words just took over from there.  They washed over me and filled my chest with the deepest breath of air.  As he continued to sing, I was holding my breath.

Powell sang, “Tell me your story, show me your wounds.  And I’ll show you what love sees, when love looks at you.  Hand me the pieces, broken and bruised, and I’ll show you what love sees when love sees you.”  Oh, how I longed to hear those words.  This had to be Jesus telling me that he loved me.  Imagine that.  He chose to love me.  By the time I reached the parking lot of my store, I was sobbing.

I wasn’t crying because of pain or sadness, or angst or grief, but rather I was crying out of joy.  Growing up without a mother, I never fully understood what unconditional love truly felt like, yet I secretly hoped to feel it someday.  Sitting in my car with tears rolling down my face, I felt true, unconditional love for the first time in my life.

“I see what I made, in your mother’s womb.  I see the day I fell in love with you.  I see your tomorrows, nothing left to chance.  I see My Father’s fingerprints.”  So, it was Jesus who was singing to me!  I knew it.  Each song that preceded this song was sung from the perspective of others . . . Mary, Paul, Joseph, Moses, Esther, David.  I picked up the CD jacket and choked out a sob when I read that this song, my song, was called “When Love Sees You.”  For days I had been reminding myself, over and over, that I was a child of God and that God loved me.  All I ever wanted was to be loved.  And here was my answer.  Here was my proof.

The final words of this glorious song makes me want to close my eyes and shake my head in disbelief.  Disbelief that I was in hiding for so long.  “I came for your story, I came for your wounds.  To show you what love sees, when I see you.”

I listen to this song every morning on my way to work.  Gone is the talk show radio host screaming in my ear.  I listen to this song every night on my way back home.  I sing each word at the top of my lungs with the most heart-felt joy I have felt in years.  It reminds me every day that I am truly blessed, that God sees me, and most importantly, that God loves me.  This is my testimony song.  

Al Menconi, Al Menconi Ministries, Parenting, Parenting help, Christian parenting, Christian parenting help, Parenting advice, Christian Parenting advice, Parenting tips, Christian parenting tips, Entertainment advice for parents, Entertainment advice, Christian conference speaker, Christian counselor, Keeping Kids Safe In the digital age, Keeping Kids Safe in the Internet age, The Christian Music Diet, It Doesn’t Affect Me