An NPR interview with Nell Greenfieldboyce discusses a new study that finds hunter-gatherer societies do not get more sleep than people in the “modern” world.

NELL GREENFIELDBOYCE, BYLINE: Jerry Siegel studies sleep at the University of California, Los Angeles. He and his colleagues recently decided to look at how people sleep in three pre-industrial societies. The Tsimane of Bolivia, the San of Namibia and the Hadza of Tanzania.

JERRY SIEGEL: We wanted to know if the sleep amount and the sleep pattern selected by a million years of evolution has been disrupted by modern life.

GREENFIELDBOYCE: He says this is as close as you’re going to get to seeing how our ancient ancestors slept.

SIEGEL: The Hadza are maybe the purest hunter-gatherer group in the world. They have no food storage. Every day they get up and they hunt or they gather berries or fruit.

GREENFIELDBOYCE: You might think that no electric lights means that sunset is bedtime, but no. In the journal Current Biology, the researchers say people stayed up for hours after the sun went down and an average night’s sleep was less than seven hours.

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