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General NewsCan’t get to sleep?

May 1, 2016

Twenty to thirty percent of Americans can’t get to sleep. The light from lamps and screens may be the cause. But a new study points to a surprising finding; temperature, not light, may be causing the problem.

The study compared modern Americans to several hunter-gatherer groups, two from Africa and one from South America. The hunter-gatherer groups have no electricity for lights, and they live in the traditional ways of their ancestors.

According to the study, the hunter-gatherers often had fewer hours of sleep per night than most Americans. Their lack of sleep did not cause health problems, and most live into their 60s and some reach their 80s.

The hunter-gatherers in the study did not go to sleep at sundown or rise at sunup. They slept outdoors or in simple shelters and went to sleep when the temperature cooled down at night. They got up in the morning when the temperature warmed up.

The results of this study may mean that light does not have much effect on sleep. Maybe falling nighttime temperatures tell the body when it is time to sleep. Most of us live in modern houses with temperature control, so our bodies do not know when to go to sleep.

Developed by Yanyan Lin

Published May 2016

Comments (5)


  1. Hanh Nguyen says:

    I am very interesting to read ” Can’t get to sleep?” before, people think about the light effect sleep. But now, it is different. The temperatures cause humans to sleep.

  2. Gan Feng says:

    This is true that temperature is an important reason that influence sleep. So if there is a air conditioner in your house, it would be better to set it to cool down at night when you go to bed. Also I think light is another important thing that tells people it is time to sleep or to get up, because at day time the temperature arises and light is bright – both warm temperature and bright light tell people it’s time to get up, and at night, the temperature drops down and light is dim – both cool temperature and dim light tell people it’s time to go to bed.

  3. livueng says:

    Thank for you letting me know that information.
    I just want to know what they against the bad weather if they stay outdoor during the sleeping.

  4. Eiko says:

    My daughter and I have been having sleeping problems. We had learned to get a good sleep for 3 important things at the night.
    Firstly, don’t take caffeine after 3 P.M., and don’t use computer and don’t watch T.V after 9 P.M., but nobody said how important about temperature.
    It is a wonderful news to us! We are going to be pay attention about temperature from tonight.

  5. Ghania Si Lekhal says:

    That is right! Most of people who spend several hours behind the screen of their computers have troubles to sleep.They do not get enough hours of sleep.That is the most common reason that makes them feel tired during the day. High temperature is another reason, so, I really enjoyed to read this article.

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