A new study published in the Journal of Current Biology claims that human beings do NOT need 8 hours of sleep per night. The assumption has always been that with the rise of electronics in modern society we’re getting less and less sleep than our ancestors, this has now been proven to be wrong. After following around three preindustrial societies (the Hadza of Tanzania, The San of Namibia, and the Tsimane of Bolivia) for a cumulative 1,000 days worth of research, the scientists were able to track the levels of sleep these societies get.
Keep in mind that the Hadza, the San, and the Tsimane were chosen because they do not have all of the electronic trappings that go along with modern society (iPhones, tablets, computers, TV’s, etc), and their sleep patterns are largely determined based upon the rising and the falling of the sun. So, how much sleep do people actually need? Around 6.5 hours of sleep per night, according to this study.
The L.A. Times reports:
A new study of three preindustrial societies reveals that our early human ancestors probably got about the same amount of sleep as we do. Members of the Hazda, San and Tsimane societies slumber for an average of only 5.7 hours to 7.1 hours at night — and for the most part, they don’t take naps.
“They do not sleep more than most individuals in industrial societies,” the study authors wrote Thursday in the journal Current Biology.
I’ve been telling people my entire life that I need more sleep than the average human being. In order for me to wake up and feel 100% I usually need 9 hours (which I never get). So I’m not really sure how to feel about this study. On an individual level I’d imagine that the results can change a lot, and I’d wager that there are tribe members of the San that need more sleep than others. And this is precisely what always chaps my ass when it comes to sleep research, because not everyone is created equal in terms of their sleep needs.