Sleep Myth Monday: Sleeping Less on Purpose

This is the latest installment of a regular feature here at Sleep Myth Monday, where we bust sleep myths wide open, or verify that they’re actually not myths at all.

Myth or Truth: Humans are one of only a handful of animals known to willingly delay sleep.


Humans are the ONLY animal known to willingly delay sleep, and it’s a fairly recent phenomena. 100 or so years ago, nearly everyone got nine or more hours of sleep per night. Then, electric lights became common, allowing us to stay up late in the light rather than the dark. In the 40s and 50s, we were given another reason to stay up late — television. That didn’t help. Then, worst of all, came the widespread adoption of the Internet in the 1990s and 2000s. Now, not only can we stay up late with light to see by, we can binge watch TV on Netflix while viewing videos of adorable kittens on our smartphones. All of these things add up to a sleep deprived population.