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Virtual Reality to Enhance Bedtime Relaxation in High School Students, Study Suggests

Dec, 2020

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It is evident that teenaged individuals are usually encouraged to switch off electronics before sleeping, however according to a new research study, researchers suggests that experiencing a virtual environment might benefit sleep health of teens. In this study, researchers assessed the effectiveness of an intervention based on virtual reality and slow breathing to stimulate bedtime relaxation and sleep especially among high school students.

In this study researchers included 29 high school students of age group of 16-18 years, and out of which 10 teens experienced sleeping difficulties. Researchers assessed participants sleep by using polysomnography for two nights. Initially, participants were engaged in 20 minutes of quiet activities on the first day including book reading, before sleep time. Moreover, on the intervention night, participants were instructed to perform 20 minutes of slow breathing exercise, while experiencing a relaxing virtual reality environment.

According to the preliminary results researchers observed that relaxation and virtual reality intervention enhanced perceived sleepiness, reduced alertness, and heart rate also dropped. Researchers also found that teenagers tend to fell asleep around 6 minutes faster and sleep efficiency also raised by 3%.

Dr. Dilara Yuksel, lead author stated, “Our results indicate that the use of immersive virtual reality and slow breathing/relaxation techniques can help promote bedtime relaxation and improve overall sleep quality in adolescents with good sleep and in those with insomnia symptoms. While our findings are still preliminary, they suggest the potential of being able to apply immersive virtual reality and slow breathing/relaxation techniques to facilitate sleep, which could be an effective approach in problem sleepers.”

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