Even though some people have speculated otherwise, studies by researchers at the University of California in Los Angeles show that the sleep patterns of modern humans is actually quite similar to prehistoric habits of our ancestors. By the findings of the researchers, led by Ghandi Yeith, things in modern life such as electric lights, temperature control, and the sort have helped to bring back these sleep patterns in the modern day. The study examined 94 volunteers in three groups and monitored their sleeping habits, as well as their temperatures, the light they got exposed to and the hotness or coolness of their environments.
Study shows sleep patterns related to temperature
The information gained from the study showed that people slept, on average, about six and a half hours and that they tended to sleep more in the winter when it was colder. Naps were also rarely taken by the volunteers in the study.
Since most humans living in developed countries have temperature control, temperatures are not random like they were in the ancient past, however, it was discovered that people didn’t really need to sleep the proposed eight or nine hours that medical science has claimed we need.
Tribes in Africa studied to determine sleep habits
The team also studied the Hadza tribe of Tanzania, as well as the San of Namibia and the Tsimane of Boliva to look into their traditional sleep patterns. The data gathered showed that modern life hasn’t lessened the amount of sleep most modern humans get, as even these ancient tribes only slept an average of around six and a half hours a night.
The researchers measured not only the amount of sleep these tribes got on average, but also measured the body temperatures of the people, and how much light they got exposed to. They studied these people for about 10 months. It was found that they tended to stay up about 3 hours and 20 minutes after the sun went down before they went to bed.
Modern electric lights not responsible for sleep habits
The researchers concluded that it is completely normal for modern humans to remain awake after the sun goes down even though it may appear that the invention of electric lights caused this phenomenon. Both the tribes and the researcher team volunteers were found to sleep fewer than 7 hours a night.