Sleep A Bit Less, Live A Bit Longer, Or So They Say
Tired? Me too. I could do with a couple of extra hours sleep per night. Or could I?
I’ve always found 8 and a 1/2 hours sleep to be the optimum, but a survey done a few years back by a couple of researchers in Japan revealed that people who sleep roughly 7 hours a night live longer than those who sleep more. They found that those who slept 8 hours a night had a “significantly higher mortality than those who slept 7 hours” with mortality risks increasing the longer the snooze. Moving in the other direction, it was only when people reported having 4 hours sleep or less a night that increased mortality was again noted.
So we might be better off with 7 hours sleep a night, but there are some animals out there who need far less than that and some that need far more. The beloved giraffe is the shortest sleeper amongst mammals. They sleep only 1.9 hours a night on average, and often that is taken in smaller naps. As well as needing an incredibly short sleep per night, they mostly sleep standing up, twisting their necks back and resting their heads on their backs.
If just thinking about that makes you feel sleepy, you must be more like the Brown Bat that sleeps a whopping 19.9 hours a night. Well, I say a night but really that amounts to all of the night and half of the day as well. AND, not only do they spend all that time asleep, they top it off with a 6 month hibernation each year. Sensible creatures.
Here’s a sample of other animal species and their average snooze times:
Squirrel 14.9 hours
Rat 12.6 hours
Cat 12.1 hours
Hedgehog 10.1 hours
Pig 7.8 hours
Goat 5.3 hours
Elephant 3.5 hours
Horse 2.9 hours
Interesting huh? Now I’m off to catch some z’s myself.