Study debunks myth that electronics cause poor sleeping habits

According to a study, urbanisation and electricity are not to blame for sleep loss.

Researchers from the University of Surrey‚ collaborated with groups from South Africa‚ Brazil‚ Colombia and the USA and examined sleeping patterns of people from two neighbouring communities in Mozambique, namely; the small electrified urban town of Milange and the non-electrified rural community of Tengua.

Professor Laura Roden, Molecular and Cell Biology Department at University of Cape Town (UCT) was one of the South Africans involved in the study.

She says there has been a great deal of speculation about the role of electrification and its reduction in sleep in the West. Most people think that they are getting less because of electronic devices and we wanted to test if Africans in Africa experienced suffered from the same things explains Roden.

We did find that the people in Milange, which has electricity went to sleep later but also rose much later than those in Tengua.

Professor. Laura Roden, Molecular and Cell Biology Department at University of Cape Town (UCT)

The people in Tengua rose with the sunrise and stayed a few hours after sunset to go to bed.

Professor. Laura Roden, Molecular and Cell Biology Department at University of Cape Town (UCT)

Roden adds that both groups had the same amount of sleep per night and that the community of Milange surprisingly had better quality of sleep. She says they hypothesised that it was unrelated to electricity but because they had access to beds with mattresses as opposed to group in Tengua.

Roden goes on to say that noise does play a role in disrupting sleep but isn't as strong a factor as light, especially from electronic devices.

Good sleep hygiene is essential expresses Roden.

Listen to some of the finding of the study here:


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