Think you don’t get much sleep? Check this out

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Lifestyle -

Do you sleep badly? Don’t be too quick to blame the screens that form part of mod­ern life. Re­searchers have an­a­lysed the sleep of peo­ple who live in re­mote ru­ral ar­eas in Africa and South Amer­ica, com­par­ing it with how western­ers sleep. Th­ese peo­ple sleep for an av­er­age of just un­der 6.5 hours a night. By way of com­par­i­son, sleep in in­dus­tri­alised so­ci­eties is gen­er­ally 7-8 hours a night. “We find that con­trary to much con­ven­tional wis­dom, it’s likely that we do not sleep less than our dis­tant an­ces­tors,” says the main author of study, Jerome Siegel, a sleep re­searcher at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Los An­ge­les. It would seem that, de­spite smart­phones and ever-present screens, we don’t stay awake longer now than in pre­his­toric times.

To ar­rive at this con­clu­sion the re­searchers looked at the sleep­ing habits of var­i­ous hunter-gatherer so­ci­eties in Tan­za­nia, Namibia and Bo­livia. The re­searchers be­lieve that the sleep­ing habits of th­ese so­ci­eties re­flect pre­his­toric hu­man be­hav­ior. They also noted that de­spite the dif­fer­ences in their his­tory and in their en­vi­ron­ment, all th­ese peo­ple had sim­i­lar sleep­ing habits.

The re­searchers also noted that in­som­nia was more of a rare oc­cur­rence in the past than it is now. It cur­rently af­fects 20% of peo­ple in the US at some point in their lives. The study re­vealed that it only af­fects 1.5-2.5% of hunter­gath­er­ers more than once a year. Jerome Siegel says that th­ese peo­ples in gen­eral went to sleep just over three hours af­ter sun­set. In the evening, they pre­pared the meal, they ate, and they made plans for the next day. They woke up be­fore sun­rise.

Con­trary to much con­ven­tional wis­dom, it is very likely that we do not sleep less than our dis­tant an­ces­tors

PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK

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