Posted on October 25 2015
Does playing video games make your stomach queasy? You aren't alone. Hardcore gamers don't like to admit it, but getting headaches, nausea, and vertigo while playing video games is a very real problem, sometimes called "simulator sickness." Luckily, there are several easy remedies for nausea that will allow you to get back to gaming.
What causes virtual reality sickness?
While there hasn't been much research on the problem of gaming-induced nausea, military researchers studying flight simulator motion sickness believe that when our inner ear, which controls balance, does not sense movement that our eyes see, it disorients our brain. In fact, the theory is that the part of our brain which controls nausea, the postrema area, attributes the disconnect to hallucinations by poisoning, and so it starts the process of making us feel sick to help us get rid of it.
How common is gaming-induced nausea?
While virtual reality games or 3-D consoles seem to cause the most problems with nausea, many people experience motion sickness with ordinary gameplay. The approximately 70% of the population who is prone to motion sickness is probably vulnerable to feeling queasy while gaming, too. Estimates of the number who actually experience game-induced nausea run from 10% to 50%.
How can you manage gaming-induced nausea?
Of course, not playing games is one option. However, for many gamers, that isn't the answer. Here are a few suggestions that can help you get back to the games you love:
- Adjust Your Game Play. One gamer suggests adjusting your gameplay. For example, play for short periods and avoid games which are particularly disorienting. Taking frequent breaks can give your body a chance to rest and recover.
- Create the Right Environment. Try sitting further from the screen, which allows your eyes to take in more. Look away from the screen every now and then to give your eyes a rest. Some gamers prefer moderately-lit rooms, so try adjusting the lighting to help your eyes. Fresh air can also help, so consider taking your break outside or opening a window for a cool breeze.
- Avoid Other Things that Cause Nausea. Alcohol, drugs, nicotine, and even salty foods can cause nausea or make you more susceptible to motion sickness. Lay off the bad stuff and you'll not only feel a bit better, but you may play better, too!
- Acupressure Wristbands: By putting a pressure point on the wrist, these may help reduce feelings of nausea for some people. Grab a pair and see if they work for you.
- Anchor Nutrition Bars: Made with nausea-fighting ingredients including protein, ginger and vitamins, Anchor Nutrition Bars are a healthy snack that prevent and relieve nausea. Over 70% of seasick passengers on a whale watch found them effective in reducing queasiness. And the nausea-reducing effect lasts up to 3 hours, so grab a tasty Anchor Nutrition Bar before you start playing and you'll be ready to go!
(Photo Credit: Marco Arment, Flickr)