BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A study reveals that humans sleep little but well.
It turns out that humans are better sleepers than other mammals, like the southern pig-tailed macaques or the grey mouse lemurs, which need up to 17 hours of sleep per day. The reason is that humans spend 25% of their sleep time in R.E.M. sleep or rapid eye movement sleep, while the other mammals spend only 5%.
This means that humans require fewer hours of sleep simply because it is of a much higher quality. And this is due to evolution.
As babies, we also need a lot of sleep. We do almost nothing else apart from sleep. But as we grow up, we find other interesting ways of spending our time. Playing games, watching TV, reading, perhaps, these can exert far more fascination on us when we are young. But as we become adults and have busy schedules, we find ourselves longing for more hours of sleep.
We have to get up early in the morning and go to work, take care of the children and who knows what else. It seems that as adults we never get as much sleep as we would like to. But even if we sleep as little as 7 hours, we are still perfectly capable of functioning. This is because humans need only between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night, the study shows.
Since we spend more time in R.E.M., we sleep deeper and consequently, feel more rested. R.E.M. is connected to dreaming and is the deepest kind of sleep.
This feature developed in human beings probably around the time that they made the transition from sleeping in trees to sleeping on the ground. When sleeping on the ground, they felt safer and less afraid of predators; therefore they were able to sleep more comfortably.
The study also brought evidence that modern technology has affected the way people sleep. It has been ascertained that people who use modern technology require more sleep than do hunter-gatherers.
This shows that we might be capable of going by on even less sleep than the 7 hours that the study demonstrated, if only it weren’t for the gadgets we think we cannot do without.
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