03/25/2015 08:45 am ET Updated Mar 25, 2015

With Fewer Electronics, This Is How A City Sleeps

Steve Prezant via Getty Images

Since the invention of the light bulb, humans have drifted further and further from their natural sleep patterns. Artificial light tricks the brain into believing it is always daytime, putting the body in a constant state of heightened alert. Now, a new study of rural life in South America confirms that societies without the incessant glare of iPads and TVs do, indeed, align their sleep to the rising and setting of the sun.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that roughly one-third of Americans suffer from sleep deprivation and at least a quarter say it's affecting their ability to work. And the problem is getting more severe; as email and other electronics become a perpetual part of night-time work, we get less and less sleep.

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