Sleeping For Seven Hours As Our Ancestors Considered Healthy, study Shows

In Education

Sleep is crucial for overall health, but a significant portion of the U.S. adult population doesn’t get enough sleep, leading to increased risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, depression, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

Current sleeping patterns comparable to those of ancestors

Modern lifestyles are thought to have reduced human sleep durations compared to our ancestors. Many individuals today express concern about their sleep patterns, prompting a closer examination of the sleep habits of our predecessors.

To examine the sleep patterns of our forebears, a comprehensive study conducted by UCLA researchers delved into traditional hunter-gatherer communities, such as the Hadza in Tanzania, San in Namibia, and Tsimane in Bolivia.

In the study conducted by UCLA, data was gathered from 94 adults over 1,154 days to explore the sleep patterns of ancestors. Despite differences in genetics, living conditions, and backgrounds among the participants, the surprising finding was that they only slept an average of 6.5 hours per night. This challenges the common belief that sleep duration has significantly decreased in the modern world, as the average sleep duration ranged from 5.7 to 7.1 hours within the groups, with a total sleep period of 6.9 to 8.5 hours from the beginning to the end.

Sleeping for seven hours considered healthiest in adults

The study found that hunter-gatherers have distinct sleep patterns compared to modern humans. They stay up late, often three hours after sunset, without artificial light. They wake up before dawn, similar to us, but their sleep duration varies with temperature, sleeping longer in winter than summer. Temperature, rather than light, mainly influences their sleep patterns.

The common belief that every person must get a full 8 hours of sleep is a relatively recent idea and may not align with natural human sleep patterns. Previous research suggests that 7 hours of sleep is the healthiest amount for adults, and this is supported by observations of certain tribes who naturally sleep around that duration. These tribes did not report feeling non-functional or sleep-deprived when they slept for 6.5 to 7 hours regularly.

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