Sleep in preindustrial societies

There are complaints that sleep in industrial communities (with electric light, noise all over) is severely compromised. These complaints have already been raised about 150 years ago, at the beginning of the industrialization. Sleep before is supposed to be calmer and longer.

This seems not to be true. Measuring the sleep durations and sleep onset and wakening in three societies that have no electric light, that remain in a pre-industrial state even in the 21st century, Yetish and colleagues report in Current Biology that sleep duration are the same as in industrial settings. Measurements were done in the last corner of Bolivia, in the Tsimane community, in Central Africa with the Ju/’hoansi San people, and in northern Tanzania with the Hadza.

There is an News and Views article on the same issue in Nature. Both articles are highly recommended.

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