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Early humans didn't get enough sleep either

Posted on Saturday, 17 October, 2015 | Comment icon 8 comments

Our ancestors were no better at getting off to bed early. Image Credit:
Our tendency to not get enough sleep at night is seemingly not an exclusively modern phenomenon.
The fact that we tend to get less than the optimal eight hours of sleep a night has often been seen as a result of our modern lifestyles, but now researchers at the University of California have revealed that the same problem might have also blighted our ancestors.

By studying the sleeping patterns of the traditional pre-industrial peoples of Namibia, Bolivia and Tanzinia - who it turned out only got around 6.5 hours of sleep a night - the scientists were able to determine that living in a modern society is not enough in itself to explain this particular trend.

"The argument has always been that modern life has reduced our sleep time below the amount our ancestors got, but our data indicates that this is a myth," said study author Jerome Siegel.
The study also suggested that the availability of modern lighting was not responsible for our changing sleep patterns because the traditional hunter-gatherers also stayed up after dark to complete the essential tasks needed to sustain their lifestyles.

"There's this expectation that we should all be sleeping eight or nine hours a night and that if you took away modern technology people would be sleeping more," said study author Gandhi Yetish.

"But now for the first time we're showing that's not true."

Source: Red Orbit | Comments (8)

Tags: Sleep, Humans

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Hammerclaw on 17 October, 2015, 17:29
How was it determined that people need eight hours of sleep, anyways? Why that arbitrary number?
Comment icon #2 Posted by DigitalAcolyte on 17 October, 2015, 18:21
How was it determined that people need eight hours of sleep, anyways? Why that arbitrary number? Listen and Believe.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Eldorado on 17 October, 2015, 18:43
It must have been grim at times without jammies. I love my jammies.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Athena1979 on 17 October, 2015, 20:25
How do they know how much ancient people slept?
Comment icon #5 Posted by Infernal Gnu on 18 October, 2015, 0:05
Psychics. They used psychics to communicate with the spirits of ancient people to find out.
Comment icon #6 Posted by PrisonerX on 18 October, 2015, 0:11
How was it determined that people need eight hours of sleep, anyways? Why that arbitrary number? There's contention. Getting Eight Hours of Sleep a Night? You Might Just Want to Cut Back
Comment icon #7 Posted by Lucas Cooper Merrin on 18 October, 2015, 9:04
For the last 20 years ive functioned perfectly well on around 4-6 hours sleep per night and the odd 40winks through the day, a combination of restless leg syndrome and general insomnia dont allow me for any more really, but i dont feel tired, I'm not groggy or lethargic, this ammount of sleep serves me perfectly well, I've found in the past that if i take sleep medication and get 8-10 hrs i feel terrible the next day, constantly yawning and no energy, even almost depressed. Personally i dont think our bodies are developed for 10 hrs lying flat every day, we think we need it due to the nature o... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by la_paloma_blanca on 19 October, 2015, 14:15
I'd imagine they had a lot more reason to be vigilant.

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