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Having problems getting in some z’s at night? Then you should start questioning the theory of evolution. According to a new study, evolution made humans sound sleeper, meaning that human requires fewer hours of sleep in order to replenish their strength.
In order to find out how humans tick during their sleep in comparison to other mammals, several sleep researchers from the Duke University have taken upon themselves to rummage through mounts of scientifical data regarding sleep cycles.
The study managed to take into accounts sleeping habits of approximately 21 species of primates. Among these primates are lemurs, baboons, orangutans, chimps and, yes, even humans.
By comparing the sleep cycles of other primates to human’s sleep cycle, the team of scientists has discovered that we, as a species, require fewer hours of sleep in order to prepare for another busy day. In order to complete a full sleep cycle, a normal person requires at least 7 hours of sleep per night. On the other hand, other species of primates, require additional hours of slumber in order to replenish their forces. For example, the team has discovered that primates such as the pig-tailed macaque or the grey mouse lemurs need up to 17 hours of sleep per day.
Once more, the study was not intended to showcase that human need fewer hours of sleep per night compared to other primates. The paper also takes into account the quality of sleep. According to medical literature, in order to have a good night’s rest, one must reach a certain phase of slumber, commonly known as REM sleep or rapid eye movement phase. In this state, the brain is fully asleep and we become less aware of our surroundings, Moreover, this phase of sleep is commonly associated with vivid dreams.
Coming back to our subject, the team actually managed to demonstrate that we spend less time in lighter phases of sleep and more time in deeper slumber. Hence, a normal person’s sleeping pattern would show that 25 percent of his sleep time is consistent with the REM phase, whereas other primates tend to spend less time in REM sleep. Estimates have shown that primates tend to spend less than 5 percent in REM sleep.
Furthermore, it would seem that even our common devices have something to do with our quality of sleep. One would be inclined to say that someone surrounded by electronic devices tends to sleep less than a person who does not possess such gadgets. According to certain studies detailing sleeping habits of several hunter-gatherer societies from Bolivia, Tanzania and Namibia, even though those individuals don’t have any access to electricity, they tend to sleep less than those with electronic gadgets.