Do you ever get that feeling after playing a particularly long or engaging board game where you just want to lay down and take a nap? No, just me? Apparently, this feeling has a name – it’s called “board game fatigue.” And apparently, I’m not the only one who experiences it.
So, why do board games make us tired? There are a few different theories floating around out there. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ones.
What does playing board games do to your brain?
We all know that exercise is good for our bodies, but did you know that playing board games is good for our brains too? That’s right—those rainy day activities can actually help to increase our cognitive skills and improve our memory. So, if you’re looking for a way to relieve some stress and give your brain a workout, grab a friend and break out the Monopoly board. Here’s what playing board games can do for your brain.
Aids complex thought processes
According to researchers, playing board games is an excellent way to keep your mind sharp. These games stimulate the areas of the brain responsible for memory formation and complex thought processes – which means they can help improve your cognitive function in both the short-term and long-term. So next time you’re feeling bored or looking for a challenge, reach for a board game instead of your phone! This is true for people of all ages, from young children to seniors citizens. So, whether you’re trying to keep your mind sharp or you’re teaching your kids how to think critically, board games are a great way to engage in some mental exercise.
When we play board games, we are practicing essential cognitive skills like decision making, higher level strategic thinking, and problem solving. These are skills that we use in our everyday lives, so it’s important to keep them sharp. Plus, by providing our brains with regular mental challenges, we can actually help prevent conditions like dementia later on in life.
We all know that exercise releases endorphins—those feel-good chemicals that improve our mood—but did you know that playing board games can do the same thing? That’s right—by engaging in activities that are enjoyable and challenging, we can trigger the release of endorphins. And not only will we feel happier as a result, but endorphins have also been shown to reduce stress levels and improve our overall sense of well-being. So next time you’re feeling down, instead of reaching for a pint of ice cream, try dusting off your copy of Scrabble instead.
In addition to releasing endorphins, playing board games has also been shown to relieve stress levels. This is likely due to the fact that when we focus on something fun and challenging, it takes our minds off of whatever was causing us stress in the first place. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed at work or at home, take a break and challenge yourself to a game of chess or Sudoku. You might just find that you come back to your tasks with a fresh perspective—and lower blood pressure!
Finally, playing board games can also enhance creativity. When we engage in activities that are both enjoyable and stimulating, it helps spark new ideas and approaches in other areas of our lives. So if you’ve been feeling stuck creatively, whether at work or in your personal life, try shaking things up with a game of Twister or Pictionary. You never know what kind of genius solutions you might come up with!
Why do board games make you tired?
In order to play board games you will need to use a lot of mental and emotional energy. You will need to make decisions with your ‘head’ rather than your emotions, and ensure that you keep your cool during game nights.
The mental energy required for playing games is actually quite high. Although you might enjoy board games you will still need to think about your next move – and possibly those moves of your competitors or team mates also.
Learning new rules
If you are playing a new game then it will normally take a few hours to properly learn the rules. Many modern board games have complex rules and systems which can take several gaming sessions to become familiar with.
Learning new things is taxing for your brain, and even if you love the game you will need to take a break after a while. Taking your brain out of its comfort zone and into learning new things increases your mental ability, but can also make you very tired.
The novelty factor
Another reason why board games make you tired is that they are often quite novel and different from anything else you do in your day-to-day life.
Your brain needs to work harder when it encounters something new, as it has to learn how to process and deal with the new information.
This is why you might find that you need a break after playing a new game, as your brain has been working hard to try and understand the game.
Playing board games requires a lot of brain power, as you need to think about your moves, the moves of other players and also try to strategize.
Memory can also play a part in a lot of our favorite games, so your brain will be working hard at any given moment to keep up with everyone’s moves and remember what exactly has happened so far in the game.
This can be taxing on your brain, especially if you are playing a long game or multiple games in one evening.
Strategy games can be particularly hard on your brain, and such games can even lead to gaming fatigue where you become exhausted and no longer enjoy playing games.
While playing a strategy board game you not only have to remember all the rules but also apply your moves in a strategic way. You are not only relying on ‘luck’ like you are when playing a classic game such as snakes and ladders, but you are having to use your moves in the best way possible while considering multiple factors.
Sitting relatively still
One theory of why we get tired playing games is that we get tired because we’re sitting relatively still for long periods of time when we play board games. When we sit, our muscles are in what’s known as a “resting state.” This means that our body isn’t using much energy to maintain our posture. And when our muscles are in this resting state, they’re not getting the blood flowing that they need to stay energized. So, over time, we start to feel sluggish and tired.
This is one of the reasons why playing video games makes you tired as well.
Another theory is that board games simply take too long to play. The average game can last anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. And even though we’re taking breaks in between turns, the length of the overall game can still be draining. It’s no wonder we feel exhausted by the time it’s all over!
This one might seem a little bit counter intuitive, but bear with me. A lot of people like to play board games in the evening hours, after they’ve finished up with work or school for the day. But this can actually contribute to fatigue because our bodies are programmed to wind down at night. So, when we try to keep ourselves awake and engaged in something like a board game, it can be tough on our bodies and leave us feeling tired afterward.
Finally, one other possibility is dehydration. When we’re focused on playing a game, it can be easy to forget to drink enough water throughout the course of it. But if we’re not staying properly hydrated, our bodies can start to feel sluggish and fatigue can set in more easily. So, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water if you want to avoid falling victim to board game fatigue!
Do some board games make you more tired than others?
Classic games which don’t take too long, such as card games and family board games, tend not to make you as tired as new games. Some of the best games have complex rules, take a long time, or involve a lot of mental work to keep up with and strategize your moves.
Board games that require a lot of strategic thinking, such as chess and other in-depth games, tend to make you more sleepy than casual games.
How to avoid tiredness while playing games
One thing you can do if you want to play games for a few hours is to agree to take breaks at set times, even if this means interrupting playing the game. Setting the times in advance means that no one can accuse other players of trying to break their winning streak, and everyone will benefit from taking a time out.
Game night will be a lot more fun if you take regular breaks, at least once every 40 minutes or so. Use your break to get a glass of water and move around a little. Even stretching can help waken up your muscles and give you a bit more energy.
When you are talking and playing your favorite games with your friends, it’s easy to focus so much on what you are doing that you actually forget to keep hydrated.
Dehydration is one of the top causes of fatigue generally, so you can avoid feeling so tired by drinking water throughout your game nights.
If you want to drink while playing, stick to non-alcoholic beverages. Alcohol might seem like it will help you stay awake and make the night more fun, but in reality, it will just end up making you more tired.
Alcohol is a depressant, so it will actually slow down your body and make it harder for you to focus on the game. So, if you want to stay sharp and avoid feeling exhausted, skip the booze.
Caffeine in moderation
A little bit of caffeine can actually help you stay awake and focused while playing games. Just be careful not to overdo it, or you’ll end up feeling jittery and anxious instead of alert.
A cup of coffee or tea before game night should be enough to give you a little boost without making you feel wired. And if you need a pick-me-up during the evening, a can of soda should do the trick. Just don’t drink too much, or you’ll end up crashing later on.
Eat healthy snacks
Junk food might seem like the perfect fuel for a long night of gaming, but in reality, it will just make you feel sluggish.
Instead of loading up on sugary snacks and drinks, try to eat healthier foods that will give you sustained energy. Nuts, fruits, and vegetables are all great options. And if you need a little something sweet, dark chocolate is a much better choice than candy.
Get some fresh air
If you start to feel yourself nodding off, step outside for a few minutes to get some fresh air. The change of scenery will do you good, and the fresh air will help you wake up.
Taking a short walk around the block if it’s daylight. Otherwise, just leaving the room and getting some fresh air at the door will help make you feel refreshed.
Change the game
If you find yourself getting bored with the same games you’re playing regularly, don’t be afraid to suggest something else. It’s better to switch games than to try to force yourself to keep playing when you’re not enjoying it.
Part of the fun of game night is trying out new games, so take this opportunity to try something new. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy it.
Don’t stay up too late
Even if you’re having a great time, don’t forget that you need to get enough sleep. Staying up too late will just make you more tired the next day, and it’s not worth it in the long run.
Try to wrap up game night by 11 pm at the latest so you can get a good night’s sleep. You’ll be glad you did when you’re not yawning the next day.
Take a nap before game night
If you know you’re going to be up late playing games, try taking a short nap beforehand. Just 20-30 minutes can make a big difference in how you feel later on.
Napping before game night will help you stay awake and alert for longer. Just be sure not to nap for too long, or you’ll end up feeling groggy when it’s time to start playing.
End the night on a high note
When you start to feel like you’re really struggling to keep your eyes open, it’s probably time to call it a night. If you push yourself too hard, you’ll just end up feeling even more tired the next day.
End the night on a high note by playing one last game that you know you’ll enjoy. This will help you sleep better and make it more likely that you’ll be looking forward to game night next week.
Read also: Why do I feel sleepy when watching movies?
Conclusion: Does playing board games make you tired?
There are a few reasons why board games make me tired—but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop playing them! By being aware of why I get sleepy when I play games and taking some simple precautions (like staying hydrated), I can still enjoy myself without feeling like I need a nap afterwards. So next time you’re feeling yawny during a game of Monopoly, remember these tips so YOU can stay awake and avoid falling asleep on the couch!