How Much Sleep Do You Really Need? Hints from Natural Patterns

Do you worry about not getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night? If so, the article in the text box below might help you worry less.

People Without Electricity Don’t Get 8 Hours’ Sleep Either

BY TRACI WATSON NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PUBLISHED OCTOBER 15, 2015

A study of modern-day groups with a gadget-free lifestyle casts doubt on our notions of preindustrial snoozing.

Members of three hunter-gatherer societies who lack electricity—and thus evenings filled with Facebook, Candy Crush, and 200 TV channels—get an average of only 6.4 hours of shut-eye a night, scientists have found. That’s no more than many humans who lead a harried industrial lifestyle, and less than the seven to nine hours recommended for most adults by the National Sleep Foundation.

People from these groups—two in Africa, one in South America—tend to nod off long after sundown and wake before dawn, contrary to the romantic vision of life without electric lights and electronic gadgets, the researchers report in Thursday’s Current Biology.

Seeing the same pattern in three groups separated by thousands of miles on two continents (makes) it pretty clear that this is the natural pattern,” says study leader and sleep researcher Jerome Siegel of the University of California, Los Angeles. “Maybe people should be a little bit more relaxed about sleeping.”

Read the full article HERE

You might be wondering why this article is posted on a website devoted to improving sleep. After all, the article suggests it might be fine to sleep less than 7 hours a night.

There are two main reasons. First, we believe that having accurate information about sleep will ultimately help you sleep better. And secondly, we believe that worrying about not getting enough sleep is not helpful. The SomniSkills Workbook describes a host of simple things a person can do to improve sleep, and trust me, worrying is definitely not one of them.

WPS 09/07/2021

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