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Subject: Wargame-induced insomnia rss

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Mike Szarka
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When it is your turn to send a VASSAL move, the wait is excruciating. When it's my turn, well, I've been busy.
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Anyone with a bit of expertise in neurophysiology who can explain what the hell causes this? Is it some sort of serotonin overload from playing wargames that keeps this stuff swirling in my mind three hours after a gaming session, or is it psychological and non-biochemical (assuming there's actually some distinction to be drawn between the two)?
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Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
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I do believe that there is a scientific study on this called CASE BLUE.

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Eddy Sterckx
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mcszarka wrote:
Anyone with a bit of expertise in neurophysiology who can explain what the hell causes this? Is it some sort of serotonin overload from playing wargames that keeps this stuff swirling in my mind three hours after a gaming session, or is it psychological and non-biochemical (assuming there's actually some distinction to be drawn between the two)?


It's not limited to wargames - after a eurogame gamenight my wife needs a "cooling down" period before she can go to sleep. From talking with other gamers it's not an uncommon thing. I don't have the problem, crying myself to sleep after another loss comes easy
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mcszarka wrote:
Anyone with a bit of expertise in neurophysiology who can explain what the hell causes this? Is it some sort of serotonin overload from playing wargames that keeps this stuff swirling in my mind three hours after a gaming session, or is it psychological and non-biochemical (assuming there's actually some distinction to be drawn between the two)?


It's like the home-invasion scene from a Clockwork Orange. Those fuckers were spent.

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Ryan Witmer
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I don't have trouble sleeping, but I will sometimes have dreams about the games I'm involved in, that's how I usually know I've got a good one.

The first notable case of this that I remember was Up Front and now I'm having dreams about Federation and Empire.
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Piero
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I'm not a sleep expert, the metabolism of which is pretty complex, but I would say that a number of factors can influence your sleep pattern.

As it is, my best bet would be that wargaming is a tense activity that activates the sympathetic nervous system, that may remain 'stuck' on high activity while you are trying to sleep instead.

Other hypothesis is that by playing late, a critical period that depends on your natural rhythms to go to sleep is passed, therefore making sleep hard to come.
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Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
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Ryan Witmer wrote:
I don't have trouble sleeping, but I will sometimes have dreams about the games I'm involved in, that's how I usually know I've got a good one.

The first notable case of this that I remember was Up Front and now I'm having dreams about Federation and Empire.


Funny you mention that. I am playing Naval War of 1812 and having wet dreams... whistle

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Ben Delp
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I often need a wind-down period for my brain after a game session, otherwise I lie in bed with my wheels still spinning. I've found that taking an hour, often with a drink, settles things down nicely.


A Jameson on the rocks, to be specific.
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Ronald Hill
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mcszarka wrote:
Anyone with a bit of expertise in neurophysiology who can explain what the hell causes this? Is it some sort of serotonin overload from playing wargames that keeps this stuff swirling in my mind three hours after a gaming session, or is it psychological and non-biochemical (assuming there's actually some distinction to be drawn between the two)?


The problem is that the hamsters in your head are still running at full speed on that exercise wheel. You need to slow them down and get them off of that wheel. Some people try well known relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation. Personally I prefer running at an object like the doorframe and striking my head on the top or edge of the aforementioned doorframe. This will dislodge the little burgers from the exercise wheel and usually causes me to go unconscious as well. Thus, the added benefit is instant sleep with a partial consequence of not remembering the game I played very well. Of course this is a positive if I didn't like the game I played.
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Wendell
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Yeah, I definitely can't go straight to sleep after any gaming session.

At WIFCon I would lie staring at the ceiling for an hour while hexes and counters scrolled before my eyes.
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Osprey
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I think this is common to a lot of things that we can get really into. Computer games (thinking of you Sid Meier's Civilization) or your favorite sports team winning a big game. The analogy of hamsters on a wheel is a good one. We keep replaying these things over and over when we love something. I think the thing that sets strategy games apart from everything else though is that we keep trying to solve the puzzle, or rethink what we have done or could have done differently.
At least it's a good reason for insomnia
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Mick Mickelsen
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I have really experienced this at the few boardgame conventions I have attended. Playing games all day and evening winds my brain up so much my sleep is seriously impaired. By the end of the conventions I am exhausted. I decided they are not my cup of tea.
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Brandon
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Not yet, but if it's anything like what happens to me when I'm programming all day and don't take a breather before bed, I don't look forward to it. Programming dreams are the worst.
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Kurtis Swekla
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I often dream about the game I played after playing some of the heavier euros and wargames
And I usually stay awake for an extra hour or 2 thinking about them and just generally procrastinating going to sleep
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Jim F
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Funnily enough I sometimes think about a wargames I have played to relax myself
before I go to sleep. But only a game I have won so most often I am left counting sheep.
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John Middleton
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This happens to me all the time. Even reading rulebooks or history books near bedtime will make my mind race about the topic all night.


It would be excellent if my brain was performing some meaningful strategic planning, but sadly, that is not the case.
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Tonny Wille
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Yes and it even got worse now that I'm playing on vassal. After finishing my turn and sendig the file to my gaming partner (mostly just before I go to bed because playing when my kid is running around isn't ea&sy)... I often can't sleep that night as I'm already thinking of the next turn.

I do have a solution. Reading game rules Always makes me sleepy even in the middle of the day when I'm feeling pretty awake.
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David Janik-Jones
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Nope. Straight to sleep, even after those face-to-face CC edge of the seat wins. whistle

My wife has timed me head-to-pillow-to-sleep in under 30 seconds.
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Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
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Gentlefolk,

For a rare moment I am going to be serious. I am an avid reader and started reading well before there were any distractions such as boardgames or the internet; right enough I am only 67, so I don't have senility as an excuse. I sometimes cannot get to sleep if I have been reading a particularly engrossing book, so I must say from that experience that ANY prolonged intellectual activity could induce insomnia or encourage dreams about it

Regards,


Jim

Est. 1949

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John Middleton
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Happens to me with some TV shows.

I have been re-watching the entirety of Farscape again and keep having these weird Aeryn Sun dreams......

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Richard Diosi
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Mike, It happens to me after any game, euro or wargame that ends later in the evening.
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Mike Szarka
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When it is your turn to send a VASSAL move, the wait is excruciating. When it's my turn, well, I've been busy.
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DocStryder wrote:
Mike, It happens to me after any game, euro or wargame that ends later in the evening.


I think a good strategy would be to unwind with a game of Candyland...
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John Middleton
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mcszarka wrote:
DocStryder wrote:
Mike, It happens to me after any game, euro or wargame that ends later in the evening.


I think a good strategy would be to unwind with a game of Candyland...



I don't know. I would vote for Ben's three fingers of Jameson solution.
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Roger Hobden
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How about election-induced insomia ?

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Ronald Hill
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oneilljgf wrote:
Gentlefolk,

For a rare moment I am going to be serious. I am an avid reader and started reading well before there were any distractions such as boardgames or the internet; right enough I am only 67, so I don't have senility as an excuse. I sometimes cannot get to sleep if I have been reading a particularly engrossing book, so I must say from that experience that ANY prolonged intellectual activity could induce insomnia or encourage dreams about it

Regards,


Jim

Est. 1949




Jim,

Very true and words that describe me, even at the young age of 52. I now read much less now than in my past, for, some really goofy reasons. What you said so eloquently I agree and identify with. Thanks for the rare moment of seriousness.

Ron
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