A qualitative study on Norwegian esports students' sleep, nutritional and physical activity habits and the link to health and performance
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionInternational Journal of Esports (IJESPORTS), 2022, 1 (1).
Aim: This study explored Norwegian esports students’ lifestyle perspectives and habits concerning health and esports performance. Methods and results: Twenty participants between 17 and 21 years of age studying esports were recruited from high schools and folk high schools. The participants were interviewed through Zoom using a semi-structured interview guide, and the data were analyzed using a thematical analysis approach. The emerging themes were: 1) energy and focus, 2) the impact of gaming and esports on sleep, and 3) mental health and lifestyle factors. Proper nutrition, sleep, and reduced intake of energy drinks was considered essential factors for optimal energy and focus. Although this was the consensus, many participants reported skipping breakfast, sub-optimal sleep patterns, and habitual consumption of energy drinks. The participants also reported that sleep was negatively affected by playing right up until bedtime. However, esports matches did not impair sleep due to the time of the day matches were played. Finally, regular physical activity was considered vital for good mental health. Conclusion: The participants acknowledged that proper nutrition, enough sleep, and regular physical activity were essential for optimal health and esports performance. However, many participants reported sub-optimal lifestyle habits, such as skipping breakfast, using blue light-emitting devices before bedtime, and consuming energy drinks. Future research should consider investigating the previously mentioned lifestyle factors to help the esports population develop strategies for improving health and in-game performance.