You've undoubtedly heard of the idea that between our busy schedules, technology, and the relentlessness of an ever-connected world, we're sleeping way less than mankind once did. It makes sense, sure, but studies have found that the opposite is actually true.
Researchers from the University of California compared the sleep habits of those in the industrialized world with modern hunter-gatherer people living in Namibia, Tanzania, and Bolivia. By the end of the study, 1,165 days of data showed that in contrast to the seven to eight hours a night most people in the industrialized world get, they averaged around 6.5 hours. The big difference, researchers said, is how they spent their evenings. Their work wasn't done when night fell, and they were still up prepping and preparing food, eating, and getting ready for the following day. They were up before the sun rose, almost never took naps, and got an extra hour of sleep in the winter months.
So what's going on? Since they were able to make a connection between sleep patterns and things like temperature (with that extra hour of sleep coming only with the winter), they suggest our tendency to regulate the temperature in our homes — a relatively new ability — has more of an impact on our sleep patterns than the technology that usually gets the blame.