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Pilz, Luisa K.; Levandovski, Rosa; Oliveira, Melissa A. B.; Hidalgo, Maria Paz; Rönneberg, Till (2018): Sleep and light exposure across different levels of urbanisation in Brazilian communities. In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 8, 11389
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Abstract

Quilombos are settlements originally founded by Africans and African descendants (Quilombolas) in remote parts of Brazil to escape slavery. Due to individual histories, Quilombos nowadays exhibit different states of industrialisation, making them ideal for studying the influence of electrification on daily behaviour. In a comparative approach, we aimed to understand whether and how human sleep changes with the introduction of artificial light. We investigated daily rest-activity-rhythms and sleep-patterns in the Quilombolas' by both wrist actimetry and the Munich ChronoType Questionnaire (MCTQ;the results of these two instruments correlated highly). Seven communities (MCTQ: N = 213/actimetry: N = 125) were compared in this study. Light exposure, phase of activity, sleep timing and duration differ across communities with various levels of urbanisation and histories of access to electricity. People living without electricity and those, who acquired it only very recently on average sleep earlier than those in more urbanised communities (mid-sleep about 1 hour earlier);sleep duration tends to be longer. Our results and those of others show that use of electricity and modern lifestyles have changed sleep behaviour. To understand the consequences of these changes for health, further studies are warranted.