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Study: Humans Sleep Less, Better Than Other Animals


Human sleep patterns have evolved from prehistoric time to modern day and we do sleep better in a shorter amount of time than other animals.

Human sleep patterns have evolved from prehistoric time to modern day and we do sleep better in a shorter amount of time than other animals.


Humans need less sleep than other mammals, yet their slumber is more efficient, said researchers at Duke University in North Carolina.

In their study, the scientists researched sleep patterns of hundreds of animals. They discovered humans sleep for shorter periods of time compared to other animals.

The study also concluded that a human’s sleep is higher quality. A deeper stage of sleep, called rapid eye movement sleep, or REM, makes up 25 percent of a human’s sleep. In primates like lemurs or monkeys, REM sleep does not reach the five percent mark.

“Humans are unique in having shorter, higher quality sleep,” said David Samson, a study co-author.

Samson’s research team found that humans can prosper with an average of seven hours of sleep a day. Other primates need as many as 14 to 17 hours of sleep.

Samson said human sleep habits evolved during prehistoric times. Human ancestors moved from sleeping in trees to sleeping on the ground. Better sleeping habits resulted in better sleep in a shorter amount of time.

I’m Mario Ritter.

Jim Dresbach adapted this story from VOA News for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

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Words in This Story

slumber – v. sleep

primate– n. any member of the group of animals that includes human beings, apes and monkeys

lemur– n. an animal that is related to monkeys and that lives in trees mostly in Madagascar

prehistoric– adj. of, relating to, or existing in the time before people could write

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