Hunting for Zzzzzs

Parents, what’s with teens and SLEEPING?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Your teens are night owls. They hit the hay just as their grandparents are waking up. Why is this?

Enter David Samson at the University of Toronto. He and his colleagues went to our species’ foraging roots to find out. He studied the sleeping patterns of the Hazda, a modern hunter-gatherer community in Tanzania. Samson fitted people with motion sensors that tracked their sleep. What did he learn?

Nearly all of the time, at least one in thirty Hazda people were awake! Or could be easily roused. This bodes well for the group, since at any possible moment a predator may attack!

Samson also figured out the best predictor of a person’s sleep cycle. Age! Teens and grandparents sleep at different times — so camp is defended at all hours, day or night.

Worried about your weird sleep cycle? Good news! This study says there IS no normal sleep cycle! If we all slept at the same time, our species wouldn’t have lasted.

So to you and your teen, catch those Zs whenever you please! Never mind high school—that’s a phase!