Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
© Dr. Neil Stanley 2013-2024
Paleo sleep do I need to sleep like a ‘caveman’ Why? As the advocates of this say it is only in the last 200-300 years that we have had problems sleeping because of our modern lifestyle. Now I know that some people’s understanding of history can be slightly lacking but the Palaeolithic age was 70,000 years ago. So this is how to sleep like a ‘caveman’ you use your computer (invented 1944), go on the internet (invented 1989), order your book (first printed book 1455), pay with your credit card (developed 1950), and get sent a CD (invented 1982) that uses binaural beats (first described 1839) which arrives via the postal service (first documented 2400BC). All rather modern isn’t it and not something that your average caveman could possibly have used? (NB it is also really quite wrong to call the Palaeolithic people ‘cavemen’ as they did not as a rule live in caves being nomadic hunter gatherers). Now one of the first things that needs to be pointed out is that there is no scientific evidence published showing that Binaural beats have any effects, either positive or negative, on sleep. The claim is that the ‘caveman’ did not have any worries and therefore slept really well, but it is naive to believe that the sleep of our ancestors was somehow less disturbed by worries. OK they were not our 21st century worries, but very real worries about being eaten by predators, killed by our enemies, where the next meal was coming from and the supernatural fear of the night will all have played on the minds of our ‘cave men’ ("The best explanation for relatively short [Palaeolithic] life span is the combination of stresses of nomadism, climate and warfare. The latter is especially clear in the Jebel Sahaba population, where projectile wounds affecting bone are very common and 'almost half the population probably died violently (Wendorf - Prehistory of Nubia 1968 (pp. 59-60)). You also do not need to sleep on an extra firm bed or on the ground in order to have the ‘authentic ‘pre-industrial sleep, humans have been sleeping on mattresses for at least 77,000 years and again with a better understanding of history you will realise that ‘pre-industrial’ beds include those of a Regency fop, or a medieval king, with all the comfort and luxury that these entailed. I will not make the obvious point that if life was so good in the Palaeolithic age then they would probably have lived just a little bit longer (compared to our really unhealthy modern lifestyle that has caused us to live longer now than at any other time in history).