Did you know, How did our ancestors sleep?
Did you know that our ancestors had a very different sleep pattern compared to us? Studies confirmed that they didn’t sleep 7 to 8 hours straight, which the modern society follows. Some researchers claim that the early humans actually sleep in 2 distinct chunks. The first sleep begins about two hours after dusk, followed by a waking period of one or two hours, then a second sleep.
Here’s an infographic which explains the sleeping pattern of our ancestors and what they do before or after waking up.
Our ancestors spent more time outdoors.
Most historians agree that one of the reasons why our ancestors can fall asleep easily is because they got plenty of sunlight in the morning. Sunlight—besides providing Vitamin D—keeps our circadian rhythm going, telling our bodies when to be awake and asleep. No doubt, our ancestors had a better good night sleep than us.
What’s more is that they didn’t have any gadgets that emit blue light such as iPad, computer monitor, and TV. These blue light-producing gadgets are believed to suppress melatonin production (melatonin is a hormone that helps control our sleep and wake cycles).
After the sun went down, they head to their sleeping space immediately.
Compared to us, we don’t do that. The age of busyness makes us watch TV, check social media, or surf the net. We are so busy utilizing the latest technology that we forget how important having enough sleep.
Researchers also found out that, at times, they woke up in the middle of the night to hang out around the campfire for a few minutes or hours. After that, they go back to sleep until dawn. As the research furthers, historians are becoming more convinced that the polyphasic sleep cycle— may have been the norm before modernization. It seems that their sleep pattern was more fluid and kind of social, right?
They slept in cool places with ventilation.
Although they didn’t have electric heaters or air-conditioners, their long houses and simple huts were equipped with furs and blankets. These materials kept their sleeping places ventilated, allowing them to regulate their needed temperature, amidst the unstable weather. This, of course, helped increase their sleep quality and minimized unnecessary awakenings.
They ate fresh foods.
Science has confirmed that the foods we eat affect our sleep quality. If you indulge too much on dairy foods, burgers, and fries, don’t expect you’ll have a good night sleep. Our ancestors, on the other hand, may not have the privilege to eat processed meals, but they were lucky. Their diet, which is more fresh foods, helped maintain their sleep quality.
Our ancestors led active lives.
Since they didn’t have computers, video games, social media, and any distractions from technology, they spent more time outdoors than us. They didn’t just struggle to find food; they had exercise at the same time.
So if you think we are luckier than them because of being born in the modern era, nope. They were lucky, too. They lived a healthy lifestyle and had fewer or no distractions.