From the impact of interrupted sleep to the sleep habits of snowy states and cities, a Live Science report examines 5 recent scientific discoveries about sleep.
The technologies of the past century, from light at night to electronic gadgets, are often blamed for keeping people awake long past the time they should have hit the sack. But a 2015 study suggests that modern humans don’t get less sleep than their prehistoric ancestors — in fact, we may get more.
In the study, researchers looked at the sleep habits of people living in contemporary hunter-gatherer societies in parts of Africa and South America, as a proxy for our prehistoric ancestors. They found that people in these societies sleep less than 6.5 hours a night — less than the average American, who gets between 7 and 8 hours of sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
“We find that contrary to much conventional wisdom, it is very likely that we do not sleep less than our distant ancestors,” study author Jerome Siegel, a researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, told Live Science in a 2015 interview.