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Medicine Science

Maybe You Don't Need 8 Hours of Sleep After All (theatlantic.com) 315

schwit1 writes: You've heard of the Paleo diet, but the next big thing in health may well be the Paleo sleep schedule. A UCLA researcher studied three hunter-gatherer and hunter-farmer groups -- the Hadza in Tanzania, San in Namibia, and Tsimane in Bolivia, "who live roughly the same lifestyle humans did in the Paleolithic," as NPR reports -- and determined our ancient ancestors may not have slept nearly as much we thought, and may have actually slept less than modern Westerners. "People like to complain that modern life is ruining sleep, but they're just saying: Kids today!" Jerome Siegel tells the Atlantic . "It's a perennial complaint but you need data to know if it's true." Siegel found that members of the three aforementioned groups sleep between 5.7 hours and 7.1 hours per night. That's less than is recommended for our health, yet the groups seemed very healthy indeed. (And if you're feeling insomniac, some earlier Slashdot stories about sleep are also pretty thought-provoking.)
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Maybe You Don't Need 8 Hours of Sleep After All

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  • Depends (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Sunday October 18, 2015 @08:30AM (#50752983)

    "Tanzania, San in Namibia, and Tsimane in Bolivia"

    If I would live on or near the equator, where the sun goes up at 4:30 I'd get up early as well.

    People living more to the North or South may have to stay in bed for much longer.

    • Re:Depends (Score:5, Informative)

      by The Real Dr John ( 716876 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @08:39AM (#50753011) Homepage

      This is not science, this is anecdotal. Neuroscience has shown recently that the brain moves waste products, excess transmitters and toxic products out during sleep via the paravascular glymphatic system. Just because people can get away without lots of sleep, especially when younger, does not mean that there are not long term health consequences from doing so over extended periods of time.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu... [nih.gov]

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu... [nih.gov]

      • Re:Depends (Score:5, Insightful)

        by JMJimmy ( 2036122 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @08:52AM (#50753043)

        I would also suspect that due to the increased use of our brains for more complex tasks puts more stress on that system. That could require more down time than a tribal hunter/gatherer.

        • Re:Depends (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 18, 2015 @09:47AM (#50753253)

          I would also suspect that due to the increased use of our brains for more complex tasks puts more stress on that system. That could require more down time than a tribal hunter/gatherer.

          I would imagine hunter/gather tribes solve more complex tasks in a day than the average citizen of a modern Western country--their survival depends on it whereas most of us can smoke weed and drink booze all day knowing we'll still be able to find our next meal easily enough. Reading about the Kardashians, posting on facebook, and watching reality TV isn't exactly intellectually stimulating.

          • I would also suspect that due to the increased use of our brains for more complex tasks puts more stress on that system. That could require more down time than a tribal hunter/gatherer.

            I would imagine hunter/gather tribes solve more complex tasks in a day than the average citizen of a modern Western country--their survival depends on it whereas most of us can smoke weed and drink booze all day knowing we'll still be able to find our next meal easily enough. Reading about the Kardashians, posting on facebook, and watching reality TV isn't exactly intellectually stimulating.

            As someone who's spent a huge amount of time outdoors I can easily say "nope". You might not think TV is intellectually stimulating but it quite well is, even stuff that we call "mindless". You're watching someone else's life in some other place and processing huge amounts of information. There's a reason that we go to the woods to unwind.

            And, I know - hiking around in the woods and actually living by hunting there are two different things. However, studies show that hunter-gatherers have as much "free

            • I can very much believe that we need more sleep because we process way more information.

              I'm not sure about some hunter gatherers in Africa or where ever, but I know that I need 8 of sleep, because if I don't get that much I'm tired the next day and don't function very well.

              • You can't be sure until you do a double blind placebo controlled randomized study with a large well selected sample on yourself. /s.

        • Re:Depends (Score:4, Interesting)

          by leftover ( 210560 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @10:08AM (#50753323) Homepage

          This was my thought as well. Sleep is when you process all the unresolved bullshit from the day. Paleo times were far more grounded in reality so very little bs to process. Time was better spent looking for food.

          • People often forget that humans are the preferred food of large cats. So it's not just hunting and gathering, but running and hiding also.
            • People often forget that humans are the preferred food of large cats.
              Except that they actually are not.
              Basically all wild life avoids humans like the plague, except on isolated islands where the animals "never" have seen a human.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I think this is widely accepted on some anecdotal level. On many occasions I've succumbed to a long and restful sleep numbering up to 12 hours if it's been an especially busy and mentally strenuous week - even if I've been getting my recommended 8 hours throughout. Speculation: The body

          P.S. I'm new to slashdot and I don't have much technical or scientific cred. What kind of ettiquette can I practice so I don't ruffle any feathers? Besides R'ingTFA. I've posted anonymously a few times and got downvoted in ra

          • Re:Depends (Score:4, Informative)

            by TWX ( 665546 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @12:30PM (#50753791)

            P.S. I'm new to slashdot and I don't have much technical or scientific cred. What kind of ettiquette can I practice so I don't ruffle any feathers? Besides R'ingTFA. I've posted anonymously a few times and got downvoted in rather short order. I like being able to talk to people with experience in tech and science sectors, though.

            Having an actual login will automatically give your posts higher default moderation than posting anonymously. Given that users are semi-randomly given the opportunity to moderate, and that users can set the default moderated-level of visible posts such that they can ignore posts below certain thresholds, posting a 1 with an account or at 2 with an account in excellent standing will mean that your posts are visible to more people and more moderators than anonymous posts at 0 or at -1.

            For dealing with trolls, I find that if a troll comes out of left-field with something stupid and there's a hole in their argument, drive your metaphorical spear into that hole. Over on Bash.org [bash.org] there's an IRC chat log of someone attempting to disparage a straw-man by claiming to have caught the straw-man doing something; the person that built the straw-man is called-out by someone else pointing out that they too would have had to have been engaging in the same kind of behavior in order to have caught their straw man in the act. Example is here. [bash.org] Crude, but funny.

            Otherwise, have a thick skin and don't worry about the trolls too much. Go back through your comments and reply to people that have replied to you so that it remains a discussion rather than simply a drive-by broadcast.

        • stalking prey while avoiding all the dangers of the savannah is not rocket science, but it is more complex than what most desk jockeys experience.

          • by TWX ( 665546 )
            I don't know... I have to get up every morning at the exact right time in order to have 45 minutes to bathe, groom, dress, pack possessions, and then operate a two-ton piece of steel through a complex and ever-changing set of conditions at speeds up to about 80mph to get to a specific destination at a specific time, then I have to resolve complex abstract problems and make long-term plans that use abstract concepts with few if any real-world analogues in order to ensure that the financial resources that I
      • Re:Depends (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Blymie ( 231220 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @09:03AM (#50753091)

        Not only that, but there is a genetic diversity to take into account. That, and what is being expressed currently.

        I get exceptionally perturbed when people state "You need $x" of ANYTHING. Whether the amount of fat or protein, the amount of sleep, the amount of O2 in the air, you name it... every single human being is a random collection of variables that requires a different care cycle.

        Some people NEED more sleep, others NEED less sleep. Hell, it's not even that concise either. There are people who have brains that need more downtime, with bodies that need less down time, and vice versa! All manner of metabolic activity happens when sleeping.

        Any time you hear a broad based statement like "You need $x of $y of the healthy!", just keep one thing in mind. We aren't cars, coming off of a production line. It's like someone went to a junkyard, found pieces from 100 different cars, and put you together.

        If you can roll down the road, and keep moving on your own? You're alive and kicking and viable.

        But, don't tell me I need a certain amount of oil or a specific type of brake fluid ... or, this or that replacement parts every few years.

        You *can* tell me that getting hit by a truck is bad, or that my gas engine won't run without oxygen, and that my metal body doesn't like salt.

        But just like a human, frankencar -- when exposed to salt, will rust in a random way, since his parts are from a random hodgepodge of parts.

        Bah! $x hours of sleep indeed! Even siblings don't all need the same amount of sleep!

      • Re:Depends (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 18, 2015 @09:13AM (#50753133)

        But, when quantified over a meaningful time span, which is worse? At the age of 60, if you sleep for 8 hours a day, you'll have slept for 20 years. Do you enjoy those extra years more than you regret the damage done? Quantify that if you want to make an authoritative statement.

      • Re:Biphasic Sleep (Score:4, Informative)

        by taiwanjohn ( 103839 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @09:15AM (#50753145)

        There's also evidence that our "natural" sleep pattern is two segments per night: first a "deep" sleep, followed by a midnight wakeful period called a "watch" (or "vigil" in Latin), and then a second sleep segment in the wee hours before dawn. This pattern was interrupted by the spread of artificial lighting technology in recent centuries, which allowed people to stay up and be productive when it would otherwise have been too dark. Apparently the practice of sleeping through the night in one go is a fairly recent development. [livescience.com]

      • I follow a nutritional ketosis diet which actually causes most of my brain to run on ketones instead of glucose. It also causes me to require much less sleep. I think it is possible that ketones produce fewer or different waste products that need to be removed from my brain during sleep.

        • I have my dog, who has cancer, on a ketogenic diet. It actually causes you to sleep less because your body wants you to go out and find more food because your body senses there isn't enough sugar coming in. It is harder to sleep on the ketogenic diet, but that doesn't mean you don't need the sleep. It would be interesting to see if running your brain on ketone bodies produces fewer waste products, it certainly is a possibility.

          • because your body senses there isn't enough sugar coming in.
            That is complete nonsense.

            When your body is burning something different than sugar and has enough of it, you are not hungry and your body works just fine.

            No idea where people get those idiotic ideas.

            • Are you a biologist? I am. Show me yours sources that say your body does not sense the level of sugar in your blood. I was not saying that your body does not work just fine on a ketogenic diet, how could you get that from what I wrote? Do you even read before you write something in response? I was talking about why you tend to sleep less.

      • by sribe ( 304414 )

        This is not science, this is anecdotal.

        You could just as well be talking about the belief that 8 hours is the right amount.

        Neuroscience has shown recently that the brain moves waste products, excess transmitters and toxic products out during sleep via the paravascular glymphatic system.

        Which says absolutely NOTHING about whether, say, 6.5 hours would actually be sufficient for most people.

      • Does it takes 8 hours, 10 hours or 6 hours for the process to be effective?
        What if the process turns out to take less than 4 hours, and only requires a few minutes of REM sleep a day?

        I don't have the answers, but I'm willing to ask a lot of questions.

        • This is fairly recent research. There is a long way to go before we know exactly what is going on. At this point I would err on the side of safety. Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer and Parkinson disease involve the buildup of proteins that did not get properly broken down and removed from the brain (plaques and tangles).

      • This is not science, this is anecdotal.

        It's not anecdotal - which refers to personal accounts - but rather involves a quantitative measurement made on many people, in different subpopulations (using a sleep tracking pedometer-like device). It's not really hypothesis-driven, so maybe it's "not science." I guess it depends on whether or not you think Karl Popper should get to decide who's a bad scientist.

        The problem with the articles about this study is that they mention the glaring fact which explains away the result, but don't explore it. Americ

      • Great. It's time to increase medical and surgical resident work hours. Surely we can get to we'll over 100 hours per week now!

      • This is not science, this is anecdotal.

        You're quite correct that it is not science: they found that those tribes get $FOO amount of hours sleep per night, they're ignoring that those tribes nap for a large part of each day due to the intense heat. Sleep 7.1 hours/night, sleep 4 hours per day.

        Idiot scientists doing the equivalent of "How 'bout them magnets, eh?"...

      • You're assuming that movement rate of brain waste products is constant between the paleos and us westerners.

        I bet their movement rate is higher than ours. Lymphatic system, circulation; everything is better when you move around a lot. Thus, they have purged their brain dookey in a shorter amount of time. I wouldn't be surprised if the limiting factor on sleep shortness is just physical muscle repair.

        Having said that though, it is true that we live to our 70s; whereas they do not, although they are healthier

        • Can't say about lifespan, but I assume it also relates to the endemic diseases there, and parasites as well as dietary effects. There are tons of possibilities for genetic differences to allow for varying amounts of sleep in different people. They can do a pretty good whole genome sequencing pretty quickly now, so I expect more of the genetic and epigenetic differences between groups of people will be much better documented in the next 5 to 10 years.

      • Re:Depends (Score:4, Interesting)

        by martin-boundary ( 547041 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @06:46AM (#50756983)
        That's not answering the question at all. Let me use a peeing analogy (w00t!).

        TFA: Humans can probably get by on less than two piss breaks a day!

        You: But [CITATION] says humans need to pee!

        Me: What gives? Here's an analogy...

        The point of the analogy is that individuals can train themselves to pee once a day at most, without ill effects. They can also train themselves to not have stage fright, so that what "normally" takes a few minutes can be done in much less time, with deliberate practice. Some people have stronger bladders, and you can trin yourself to have a strong bladder.

        Humans practice things all the time. Athletes show what the human body is capable of, through deliberately programmed activities. When compared to the average joe, that can seem amazing.

        There's no reason to believe that 8 hours sleep (say) is required, just because lots of people end up sleeping around that long. It's plausible that people who are "fit" in the sleep sense can do in 4 hours all that you or I could do in 8 because we're not sleeping fit, and it's plausible that people can train themselves to achieve more of their sleep activities in less time, without ill effects.

        Most biological models of the body are one size fits all. At best, they represent an idealized average body, which is great, but doesn't answer what's *possible*. For that, we need to learn how to *train* people to sleep more efficiently.

    • by arielCo ( 995647 )

      The Sun doesn't go up earlier near the Equator; the length of the day is just more constant throughout the year compared to regions closer to the poles. If anything, it's closer to the poles where sunlight can last as long as 18 hours (or as little as 6) depending on the season.

      Case in point, Namibia is located around 22 S and sunrise is at 6:16 currently due to “winter”; Bolivia is around 17 S and [google.com] sunrise is at 6:02 [google.com]. Here in Caracas (10 N) the Sun came up at 5:46.

    • If I would live on or near the equator, where the sun goes up at 4:30 I'd get up early as well.

      Umm, in case you were unaware, on the equator, the day is ALWAYS twelve hours long.

      That whole "longer days in summer, shorter in winter" thing is something that comes into play to a greater and greater extent the farther north/south of the equator.

    • And then it sets around 6 PM. All year round.
      They have nearly no fluctuation of daylight time - unlike most of the rest of the world where daylight regularly lasts for two thirds of day for some parts of the year, same as darkness during other parts of the year.

      On top of that - they are FUCKIN HUNTER GATHERERS who are up until 9 AM - then sit in the shade.
      If you had a siesta every day from 9:00 until 15:00, you too could sleep... hold on... 7-8.5 hours? What?

      The team asked 94 people from these groups to wear Actiwatch-2 devices, which automatically recorded their activity and ambient-light levels.
      The data revealed that these groups all sleep for nightly blocks of 6.9 and 8.5 hours, and they spend at least 5.7 to 7.1 hours of those soundly asleep.
      That's no more than what Westerners who have worn the same watches get; if anything, it's slightly less.

      While they nap "only" for "7 percent of winter da

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      Well come to Canada, you can have your choice between the sun coming up at 4:30 and having a 23 hour day or the sun going down at 10:30pm and coming up at 3:30am or 23.6hrs of total darkness. Downsides may include ass-freezing cold, high taxes, a provincial government that's under investigation by the RCMP and/or provincial police, and the highest electricity prices in North America!

    • by Sique ( 173459 )
      Not much geography, right?

      Near the equator, the sun goes up pretty close to 6am in the morning and sets at 6pm in the evening, without much variation during the year.

    • If I would live on or near the equator, where the sun goes up at 4:30 I'd get up early as well.

      Also if I were a hunter-gatherer I may need less sleep. I never have any issues with sleep deprivation if the next day I'm doing something very physical. Sleep deprivation hurts an awful lot, however, when I'm sitting in front of a computer with my heart-rate just above corpse level, trying to do something intellectual. It can be extremely hard to focus and stay on task, any interruption at all can be devastatin

    • But wait a minute, he said, "...yet the groups seemed very healthy indeed." Boy that sounds scientific to me.
  • by Theovon ( 109752 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @08:37AM (#50753003)

    Ok, so paleolithic-people in a paleolithic environment need 5.7 to 7.1 hours of sleep/night. What about modern people in a modern environment? As humans, we’re not all that different, but our daily lives are very different. We get less exercise, we eat completely different foods, many jobs are primarily mental. And we hold more rigid daily schedules. I think that MAYBE could require more sleep.

    • We get less exercise, we eat completely different foods, many jobs are primarily mental. And we hold more rigid daily schedules. I think that MAYBE could require more sleep.

      Much of the sleep we do get in civilized society is restless and even nonproductive.

      The hunter gatherers are exercising significantly more, on average, than their sequestered, western counterpart.

      Sedentary lifestyles compromise generations of physically active predecessors' lifestyles.

    • by denzacar ( 181829 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @10:23AM (#50753375) Journal

      They sleep 7-8.5 hours a day, have long siestas and take naps.
      NPR article's author misunderstood the original article due to ignorance of the topic he chose to write about.

      The team asked 94 people from these groups to wear Actiwatch-2 devices, which automatically recorded their activity and ambient-light levels.
      The data revealed that these groups all sleep for nightly blocks of 6.9 and 8.5 hours, and they spend at least 5.7 to 7.1 hours of those soundly asleep.
      That's no more than what Westerners who have worn the same watches get; if anything, it's slightly less.

    • I had a sleep study done early this year. After two weeks of keeping track of my sleep patterns, we found that at 66, I personally need about 7.5 hours of sleep per night. I have a friend who's 80, and for most of his adult life he's only needed about 5 hours per night. There's an awful lot of variation in how much sleep people need, and the important thing is, do you feel properly rested and refreshed when you get up, or don't you?
  • by transporter_ii ( 986545 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @08:42AM (#50753021) Homepage

    I've read quite a bit about how hunter gatherers sleep. Because of predators and other dangers, at any given point during the night, someone is usually awake. The teens stay up late, the old people wake up early, and then there are women with children that are up at odd hours with the baby. This works out so that there is always someone watching the tribe or village.

    The big difference between Westerners and hunter gatherers is that if they get tired during the day, they can take a nap. We can't do that. In fact, there are a lot of places, Mexico, for instance, that let people sleep an hour or so in the afternoon.

    It doesn't matter how much sleep I get, about 2:00ish, I get sleepy, just like a lot of people in the rest of the world. The difference is, a fair amount of the rest of the world can actually go to sleep.

    • Segmented Sleep (Score:5, Informative)

      by transporter_ii ( 986545 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @08:52AM (#50753047) Homepage

      And odd sleeping patterns did carry over into the Western world, too. It's called segmented sleep and there are tons of old books that mention it. What we are doing now came about as a result of the industrial age, when we started to have to work 8 - 10 hour shifts.

      http://www.bbc.com/news/magazi... [bbc.com]

    • I had a colleague who couldn't eat a warm lunch because he would otherwise fall asleep afterwards :)
      • Me too. There's nothing like a full belly from a fresh kill that knocks me out during the heat of the day.

        Oh, you probably meant something heated in the microwave. Yeah, that too I guess. ;-)

    • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @09:44AM (#50753239)

      In fact, there are a lot of places, Mexico, for instance, that let people sleep an hour or so in the afternoon.

      The former US president Ronald Reagen used to nod off during afternoon cabinet meetings.

      When Clinton got into the Oval Office, "sleeping with the president" took on a new and different meaning.

      • The former US president Ronald Reagen

        I'm glad you were specific; otherwise, I might have gotten him confused with the former belly dancer Ronald Reagan...

    • by sribe ( 304414 )

      The big difference between Westerners and hunter gatherers is that if they get tired during the day, they can take a nap.

      But if you RTFM, you'll see that in fact the people studied did NOT take naps.

    • There is also an important issue about genetics. Some people don't require as much sleep as others: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sleep-newzzz/201104/could-you-be-super-sleeper. I would have to ask--did they test if the people studied had genetic markers that flagged that they don't need as much sleep?

  • Maybe (Score:2, Funny)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 )

    Maybe You Don't Need 8 Hours of Sleep After All

    And maybe if I eat enough cabbage and beans and put a funnel in my butt I can fart my way into low Earth orbit.

  • I doubt that the Hadza in Tanzania, San in Namibia, and Tsimane in Bolivia, "who live roughly the same lifestyle humans did in the Paleolithic" probably did little with abstract thought and have little complex technologies to deal with as compared to modern people. As a result I am sure they need less sleep.

  • No, no I haven't, because that's silly hipster shit. I googled it, and a bunch of marketing crap came up. I wonder if that has anything to do with it being as stupid as it sounds.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by microTodd ( 240390 )

      Why is it silly shit? Because you haven't heard of it? Because hipsters like it? Does that make it bad? Hipsters like exercising, too. So exercise is bad? Google something like "interval training" and you'll probably get lots of marketing crap. That doesn't mean that running wind sprints is bad.

      Dude, just because you, with your all-knowing all-knowingness, haven't heard of something doesn't mean its silly and its shit.

      You wanna know what paleo really is, if you take away the marketing name? Stop eat

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Oh ffs, you damn marketer.

        >Don't eat convenience foods, don't eat junk food with sugar and HFCS and other crap. Eat meat and vegetables.

        That is BASIC! This sort of 'diet' has been around awhile, been followed by anyone with an ounce of gray mass, and no amount of stupid re-branding by folks like you will make you the inventors of clean lifestyle.

        Get off your fucking high horse.

      • Why is it silly shit?

        Here's why [scientificamerican.com]. The entire article is well worth a read, but in a nutshell: The "paleo diet", as most often defined, makes all sorts of unsupported assumptions about "paleo people", their health, how they ate, and how humans have (or have not) evolved since then. For example, studies of actual paleo cultures have revealed that there was huge variability in diets. Some cultures ate lots of meat, some ate little meat, and so on.

        That's not to say that the paleo diet doesn't prescribe some eating habits that a

    • by Falos ( 2905315 )
      >I googled and marketing garbage swarmed my ass
      This is pretty much true for any internet search since, what, 2002? Any internet subject. Any internet activity. The internet.

      Narrowing the fuck down helps. A little.
  • by Prune ( 557140 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @09:17AM (#50753153)
    I'd like to caution the reader to take TFA with a grain of salt, lest they decide to use it as an excuse to feel better about getting less than the recommended 7.5-8 hours of sleep. Specifically, I'd like to note the following:
    1. The study in question concerns the sleep requirements of people who have a lifestyle incomparable to yours.
    2. The sleep pattern in TFA for a primitive society is different not only from yours, but also from what appears to have been the natural tendency for pre-industrial civilization (at least I Europe) for quite a few centuries https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
    3. The study does not and is unable to take into account any of the very long-term effects of less sleep, in terms of possible influences on old-age brain diseases such as Alzheimers or other dementias. A primitive forager doesn't usually live to an age where such things are an issue. The physiological evidence, though, ought to make you pause and think about the fact that you need enough deep sleep in order to allow microchannels in your brain to expand and allow increased flow of cerebrospinal fluid to wash away harmful metabolic byproducts. There's more to sleep than, as was fashionable to think for a while, consolidation of memories into long-term storage. See http://www.sciencemag.org/cont... [sciencemag.org] and several related papers.

    ** Having compete sleep cycles is more important than the exact time. If you look at various somnograms, you can see that the average sleep cycle (down to the deepest sleep stage then I again into REM) is around 90 minutes long, except the first sleep cycle of the night which is closer to 120 minutes (the 8 hour recommendation corresponds to five sleep cycles). It's worth making sure your alarm is set such that it doesn't wake you during a deep sleep stage of a cycle, because you'll wake feeling worse than even if you had woken up earlier at the end of the previous sleep cycle (during REM). This is why a half hour offset from your usual alarm time in either direction can potentially make a huge difference.
    • I'd like to caution the reader to take TFA with a grain of salt, lest they decide to use it as an excuse to feel better about getting less than the recommended 7.5-8 hours of sleep. Specifically, I'd like to note the following:

      1. ... A primitive forager doesn't usually live to an age where such things are an issue. ...

      Exactly, can we just quit with all the Paleo BS now?

  • Perhaps people just get the amount of sleep they need.

    I've always gone to bed when I feel tired and ready, and woken up when I wake up.

    I'm pretty good at 5 hours a night. I wake up, feel rested, ready to diem the carpe.

    Other people might just need more, some less.

    Nothing to lose sleep over, that's for certain.

    • In an ideal world, yes.
      Those of us with jobs, children who need to go to school, and any other activity that is scheduled in the evening or morning don't have that luxury.

  • The article talks about the customary "8 hours of sleep at night" not being required based on paleolithic evidence, and I'll accept the results of their study on face value. However, that does not necessarily mean that we don't need 6-9 hours (varies by person) of sleep per day. Our current sleeping patterns are very much based upon the demands of the modern industrial world where you wake up, go to work, put in your 8-10 hours of labor, go home, and go to bed. Prior to that, sleeping patterns were much mor

  • who live roughly the same lifestyle humans did in the Paleolithic

    Anthropologists have been telling us for nearly a century that we were fruit eaters before the Neolithic era, yet few are willing to listen (ask a dietitian or nutritionist and they'll equate "Paleo" with a diet high in animal protein). There isn't even consensus regarding our diet during the Paleolithic... and diet would have greatly determined lifestyle; therefore, the above statement is passing off mere conjecture as fact...

  • I don't need it, I just want it.

  • FTFA:

    these groups all sleep for nightly blocks of 6.9 and 8.5 hours, and they spend at least 5.7 to 7.1 hours of those soundly asleep. That’s no more than what Westerners who have worn the same watches get; if anything, it’s slightly less.

    In other words, you get as much sleep as your body needs. Then you wake up.

  • Easy test (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BonThomme ( 239873 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @09:58AM (#50753295) Homepage

    Throw out your alarm clock. You'll quickly discover how much sleep you need.

    Added benefit, you'll go to bed earlier and watch less TV/interwebs.

    • by Shados ( 741919 )

      Thats not true though.

      There's how much you can sleep, how much you need to not feel like shit, and how much you need for your brain to work at peek efficiently.

      Those 3 things are very, very different numbers.

      You can feel great but not have slept enough for your brain to be at its peek. You can be able to sleep 10 hour straight but feel bleeeeeeeeeeeeerg when you wake up, etc.

      The former is usually what people "who only need 6-7 hours!!" say. "But i feel great!". Yeah, but you'd do better if you slept more.

  • you need 6 or 7.5 or 9 based on REM cycles. 8 is most likely a convenient rounding of the mean of the most common waking times, 7.5 and 9. Nobody wants to print 8.25 in a story.
  • by sanf780 ( 4055211 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @10:34AM (#50753407)
    Bathing or showering can also be harmful. Every time you clean your skin, you are eroding one protective sheet of your skin. Add chemicals on top of that! Isn't the real world scary?
  • some folks need less sleep to get the same amount of rest. Can we _please_ stop acting like they are the norm? The 1%ers have been doing this for ages as an excuse to get the working class to work harder for less. At least as far back as the invention of artificial light and we when we use to call those shmuks "Puritans".
  • I had an old co-worker who slept 4 hours a day, he was even tested by multiple colleges in sleep studies. He won the genetic lotto for only needing 4 hours.
    Really helped his chosen career as a DBA/Engineer, he would always do the maintenance windows for the dba work and still be in before everyone.
    Crazy, guy was in his late 50's when I worked with him.

    Myself, Body likes around 7-8, but 9 or so when I'm really exhausted. When I was in my prime, 6 hours good to go, but I tended to sleep 12 on weekends to ca

    • I've always thought about trying segmented sleep

      I really like biphasic sleep, personally, but most of the things I'd like to get done involve a computer screen which I find disrupts my ability to stick to the right length biphasic period. It is good for household chores, though. I'd probably try to stick to it if work schedules permitted.

      The study from TFA argues that humans don't naturally engage in biphasic sleep, but it also shows that we naturally respond to ambient temperature rather than light and dark. I wonder if the East African and Southern And

  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @12:22PM (#50753765) Homepage Journal
    This is just my opinion.

    Now, that disclaimer having been made: I'm going to tell you exactly, precisely, how much sleep you need every night.
    You need exactly, precisely as much sleep as you need to sleep. If we could live in a world where you never had an alarm clock waking you up, and went to sleep when you wanted to go to sleep, allowing you to wake up naturally, you'd get exactly, precisely as much sleep as your body needed, every single night.
    Saying 'you need eight hours sleep a night!' is like saying 'you need to drink at least eight glasses of water per day!'; it's hand-waving, it's one-size-fits-all, it's an over-simplification, and it's fundamentally flawed.
    Unfortunately we live in a world where, unless you're independently wealthy and don't need to live on someone elses' imposed schedule, you need to get up at a specific time of the morning, and hustle to get to work on time. So in the end, it is what it is, and you get as much sleep as you can; maybe it's enough for you, maybe it's not. For me, anything less than six hours on a regular basis, and I start running into trouble, and if I'm sleeping more than 9 hours a night on a regular basis, I don't seem to have any energy and have problems getting moving once I'm out of bed. As described above, YMMV.
  • Are they sure about that [constantcontact.com]?

  • The reporting of this research seems to misinterpret the results a bit. It's important to keep in mind that North American studies are based on self-reporting, and it has been demonstrated that people self-report time in bed, rather than actual sleeping time.

    Thus, the main result of the study is that Americans and hunter-gatherers sleep about the same on average, and that the amount of actual sleep associated with negative health outcomes in North America is less than 4 - 6 hours per night (as opposed to 7

  • Modern life sucks so much, lets go back to the caves. Cave life was so much more healthy, beside you die with 40, but hey, this is so much closer to what we where.

  • I really don't understand our urgent need to try to mimic the lifestyles of people that commonly lived only to their mid-30s, maybe 40s.

The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Paul Erlich

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