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Can Pokemon Go Cure Your Insomnia?

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.

Video Game Culture and Sleep

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.

gaming sleep and exercise 1
gaming sleep and exercise 2

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?

How Pokemon Go Can Help You Exercise

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:

  • In order to hatch an egg you need to walk 2km, 5km, or 10km
  • Some Pokemon require walking to evolve, such as Feebas
  • Your buddy will give you candy if you walk them 1km, 3km, or 5km

Only 16 more candies until I can evolve to Blissey!
That's a LOT more walking.

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.

Best Times for Exercise

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.

Conclusion

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?

5 Board Games and Card Games About Sleep

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.

When I Dream - Board Game

Asmodee When I Dream

Designer

Chris Darsaklis

Publisher

Drawlab Entertainment

Release Date

2016

Players

4-10

Est. Playing Time

20-40 minutes

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 - Card Game

Pleasant Dreams: A Card Game of Nightmares

Designer

Aerjen Tamminga

Publisher

Aerjen Games

Release Date

2015

Players

1-2

Est. Playing Time

~10 minutes

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.

Sleeping Queens - Card Game

Sleeping Queens 10th Anniversary Tin Card Game

Designer

Miranda Evarts

Publisher

Gamewright

Release Date

2005

Players

2-5

Est. Playing Time

10-15 minutes

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.

Dreams - Board Game

Zoch Verlag Dreams Board Game

Designer

Olivier Gr?goire

Publisher

Zoch Verlag

Release Date

2016

Players

3-6

Est. Playing Time

~30 minutes

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.

The Shared Dream - Board Game

Designer

Matthew Tarulli

Publisher

ODAM Publishing

Release Date

2017

Players

2-4

Est. Playing Time

~2 hours

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.

Conclusion

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.

12 Best Video Game Soundtracks on Spotify for Sleeping

The best video game soundtracks are ones that evoke emotion and connect you with that special moment.

Someone dies.

You entered the secret forest.

The villain actually had a good point after defeat.

Starting in summer 2016, everything from console to PC games with the best soundtracks have been available on Spotify.

The game music shared below is fantastic for sleeping, studying, or relaxing. Genres range from classical to electronic, ambiance to lullabies. There are cover albums and OST (original soundtrack) from a variety of artists. Many genres are presented below including RPG and adventure games.

Have a favorite video game soundtrack? Share in the comments below!


Prescription for Sleep: Lullabies of Mana

Game

Secret of Mana

Platform(s)

SNES

Year Released

?1993

Genre

?RPG

Publisher

Squaresoft

GENTLE LOVE is famed Metal Gear Solid/Bayonetta composer Norihiko Hibino (saxophone) along with Etrian Odyssey/PersonaQ performer AYAKI (piano). They've created some amazing video game lullabies with this release.
Secret of Mana, also known as Seiken Densetsu 2, was released as one of the biggest SNES RPGs in early 90s, a couple years before the famed RPG of its time, Chrono Trigger.
The original composer of the Secret of Mana soundtrack, Hiroki Kikuta, was given creative carte blanche by his employer Squaresoft (now Square-Enix). Can you believe it was his first gig as a video game music composer?
Prescription for Sleep: Lullabies of Mana is my favorite of the game soundtracks listed here and for good reason.

Favorite track: Leave Time For Love

A Keiichi Okabe Easter

Games

NieR: Gestalt / NieR: Automata

Platform(s)

XBox 360, PS3 / PS4, XBox One, Windows

Year Released

2010 / 2017

Genre

Action, RPG

Publisher

Square Enix

This NieR Soundtrack album covers both games - NieR: Gestalt and NieR: Automata. The NieR Automata soundtrack hacking tracks aren't part of this album, but the musicianship is impressive nevertheless.
YouTube musicians and performers PurpleSchala (piano) & Animevivi (viola) come together to create an impressive amateur effort.
Favorite track: City Ruins

Ocarina Of Time Symphony

Game

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Platform(s)

N64, Gamecube

Year Released

1998

Genre

Action-Adventure

Publisher

Nintendo

Zelda Ocarina of Time (OoT) has been graced with many orchestral arrangements over the years, from the Hyrule Symphony release in 1999 to the worldwide tour of Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses in present day.
OoT is considered to be one of Koji Kondo's greatest works. This orchestral arrangement isn't solely for strings like many other interpretations. Horns, harp, and a healthy percussion section are some of the instruments that make an appearance. My favorite parts are when the woodwinds carry the melody, especially the flute and oboe.
If you're inspired and wondering to yourself "where can I buy an ocarina", look no further than https://www.songbirdocarina.com.

Favorite track: Great Fairy's Fountain

Ftl: Faster Than Light - Original Soundtrack

Game

FTL: Faster Than Light

Platform(s)

Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS

Year Released

2012

Genre

Strategy, Roguelike

Publisher

Subset Games

Why is FTL so hard? With over 100 hours of playtime I only beat FTL twice. On normal.
?FTL is a challenging game with endless playback value. There are countless achievements, secrets to explore, and strategies to employ. The gameplay is only further improved by the ?unfolding space soundtrack.
?Different races ?have their own theme, and there's variations whether your exploring or battling. ?If you're looking for relaxing ?melodies and ambience you'll want to make a playlist of the explore tracks.
For the newest version of the soundtrack see Ben Prunty FTL: Advanced Edition Soundtrack.

Favorite track: Engi (Explore)

Minecraft - Volume Alpha

Game

Minecraft

Platform(s)

PC, Consoles, Mobile, Toasters

Year Released

?2011

Genre

?Sandbox, Survival

Publisher

Mojang

Daniel Rosenfeld, better known as ?C418?, started his journey with electronic music composition in his teens. In his early 20s he stumbled across a small indie game developer and ended up creating music for one of the best selling games of all time.
What is the best Mimecast song of all time? It depends who you ask.
"Haggstrom" starts out with bells ?& strings and halfway through deconstructs into itself. The piano melody in "Excuse" somberly bounces around with delay. ?"Biome Fest" ?crescendos into magically clip clops right around the golden ratio marks, with ending synth strings dying into the distance.
?Whatever ?song you like, you'll never know when it will appear since music is triggered randomly and not tied to a specific event.
?Favorite track: Minecraft

Journey (Original Video Game Soundtrack)

Game

?Journey

Platform(s)

?PS3

Year Released

?2012

Genre

?Adventure, Art

Publisher

Sony

Is Journey a game or interactive art? Does it matter? This PS3 exclusive (?later released for PS4) is unlike most online co-op games, as there is no voice or text communication with the people around you. Instead, you're limited to jumping and singing, integral to the game design.
Journey's soundtrack is mostly comprised of ?strings, woodwinds, harp, and an eclectic percussion section. Admittedly, many of the songs sound the same, ?but ?that can be good for sleeping, relaxing, or studying.
Ultimately the game is short and questions about your pilgrimage are never answered, but the unique experience is never ??diminished. This game is truly all about the journey and not the destination.
Favorite track: Threshold??

Abzu

Game

Abz?

Platform(s)

?Windows, PS4, XBox One

Year Released

?2016

Genre

Adventure, Art, Simulation

Publisher

?505 Games

??Here's another game soundtrack composed by Austin Wintory, released 4 years after Journey.
Abz? is a dreamy ocean exploration amalgamation of Ponyo and Echo the Dolphin. The gameplay mechanics are simple but finding harmony in the environment is the unspoken plot.
Instrumentation on the soundtrack is bolstered by harp and choir with a full orchestral accompaniment. Wintory's instrumentation perfectly translates the light crashing through the water or swimming along a school a fish.
In the game there's literally a button you press for "Zen" mode which has your character meditate and watch their surroundings. This soundtrack should be the same way - press play and get your Zen on.
Favorite track:? Caranx Ignobilis?

Monument Valley 2 (Original Game Soundtrack)

Game

Monument Valley 2

Platform(s)

Android, iOS

Year Released

2017

Genre

Puzzle

Publisher

ustwo

As part of this roundup of sleepy game soundtracks I was recommended by a friend to check out Monument Valley 2. A month later I've barely played the game but the soundtrack is in frequent rotation during my evening commute and before bed.
Steve Reich, Arovane, Aphex Twin, Bibio - musicians and composers I've loved for over 10 years - were oozing all over these tracks.
* The pulsing Steve Reich vibe on Interwoven Stories and Power of Two
* Bibio's warbly pitched acoustic guitar sound on "All Grown Up"
This was like seeing the movie then wanting to read the book. The soundtrack is fantastic and encouraged me to eventually download the app. Looking forward to checking out Todd Baker's other work.
?Note: After writing this ?entry I found a blog by the composer, Todd Baker, who confirmed my ?suspicions about his influences.
Favorite track: (too many to list)

That Dragon, Cancer (Original Soundtrack)

Game

That Dragon, Cancer

Platform(s)

Windows, macOS, iOS

Year Released

?2016

Genre

Adventure, Art

Publisher

Numinous Games

That Dragon, Cancer, is emotionally draining and a true celebration of life. The game's origins were born out of the game developer's response to the terminal cancer that took his son's life.
Playing this game was bittersweet. During chapter 6 sympathy cards scattered throughout the hospital you can read. There's one dedicated to Totalbiscuit, famed game journalist/personality who recently passed of cancer as of these writing. Here's a playthrough - it's tough to watch but try to make it through.
The uplifting parts of That Dragon, Cancer, are accompanied by a piano trio (piano, cello violin), as heard in So Few Words. More pensive tracks are often slower, minimal, echoing French composer Erik Satie.
If you have the faintest bit of human empathy this game will absolutely destroy you. Double that if you have small kids. Jesus why did I play this?
Favorite track: Colors That Heal

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture (Original Soundtrack)

Game

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

Platform(s)

PS4, Windows

Year Released

2015

Genre

Adventure, Art

Publisher

Sony

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is a first-person walking simulator building upon Dear Esther, a 2012 game by the same indie dev team. My favorites of this genre are Gone Home and Firewatch, so I was inspired to try out this title.
The soundtrack mixes choral hymns with a sound akin to Secret Garden, an Irish-Norwegian new age band. How these songs are framed makes them more poignant. Silence is everything, and this dramatic music occasionally overcomes the tension of negative space between plot points.
Favorite track: The End of All Things

Fez

Game

FEZ

Platform(s)

XBox 360, Windows, macOS, Linux, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, iOS, Android

Year Released

2012

Genre

Puzzle, Platform

Publisher

Trapdoor

Hit indie game Fez by Phil Fish was popular during its release and has grown into a cult classic, with its own alphabet and bewildering puzzles. Furthermore there's no doubt Fez has one of the best soundtracks by prolific video game composer Disasterpeace.
The track Puzzle starts strong with a Coriolis effect pitch pending arpeggio warping throughout. That and other tracks mix chiptunes with an early IDM and 70s soundtrack vibe, calling to mind Warp Records duo Boards of Canada or lesser known musician Robotanalysis.
But don't just take my word for it. Disasterpeace goes into detail on his music creation process for Fez here.
Now why was the sequel Fez 2 cancelled? If it wasn't, can Boards of Canada officially do the soundtrack? 
Favorite track: Adventure

CONCLUSION

While early game composers were limited by hardware, modern game composers are only restricted by their imaginations. This has paved the way for these songs to be heard by a larger audience. In fact, the demand is so great you can even buy video game soundtracks on vinyl.

Thanks for checking out these video game soundtracks on Spotify. It's great to see game music better represented by online streaming services. 

Sleep well.