What We Can Learn About Sleep Schedules From A Rural Town In Brazil

How early would you wake up every morning if you didn’t have a modern office job?

If your work involves more computer screens than plots of land, chances are you woke up earlier than you wanted to, and if you had a choice in the matter, you would love to wake up a couple of hours later than you normally do. But if you live in the country, where your day’s rhythms are regulated by the sun and your work is manual labor that keeps you outside, chances are that you’re just fine with waking up early.

That’s just one of the discoveries from a recent study of the rural Brazilian town of Baependi. Malcolm von Schantz, a sleep and circadian rhythms researcher at the University of Surrey in the U.K., surveyed 825 of the town’s residents and revealed that they were much more likely to be morning people — people that feel best and most alert in the mornings — than urban people in major metropolises like Sao Paulo or London.

His research, published online on March 19 in the journal Scientific Reports, states that people living in the rural zone of the town prefer rise and bed times one hour earlier than in those big metropolises like Sao Paolo or London. As for the people who live in even more rural zones on the outskirts of Baependi, their wake and sleep time preferences were two hours earlier than metropolis-dwellers.

Von Schantz isn’t yet sure why that may be, although he suspects that it may have to do the community’s main industries: agriculture and open-cast mining, which is mining in a large, open pit. The two manual labor jobs expose residents to a lot more natural sunlight than the average urban dweller, he explains in his study:

The most obvious and —> Read More