A new study comparing American sleep habits to current hunter-gatherer societies says we may not need more sleep than we’re getting—but that our poor sleep habits are still, clearly, a problem.
Here’s what I make of the study:
First, it fits perfectly with research that says you need more sleep when your immune system is working harder. A processed diet, less exercise (not even for its exertion, but for the health benefits), and a slew of other bad habits can easily lead to our need for more sleep.
Next, screen time. Yes, it keeps us up longer, but it has a more important consequence: we produce less melatonin with screens on all night. No, hunter-gatherer societies don’t sleep at sunset (the study mentioned that some theorized this, but that’s silly when you think of how long winter hours can be!), but they aren’t staring at phones, laptops, and screens, either. Darkness is what triggers melatonin production. Without it, we don’t sleep as well.
Do we need so much sleep? Yes, if we aren’t taking ideal care of ourselves. But you can help yourself need less, so you have more time to work, or play, or do whatever, by taking care of yourself. And I imagine you’ll feel better, too!
If you don’t want to put your phone down with the sun, for instance, consider a melatonin supplement to make up for what it’s preventing your body for doing naturally. All the usual suspects in good health—exercise, lots of fruits and veggies, lots of water, etc.—are important too. But if you think your immune system still needs a boost, add colloidal silver to your routine. Give yourself extra support in a form other than sleep, and maybe you’ll be awake more; for natural, everything’s covered reasons.
What do you think of the study?