Lecture | Charlie Nunn | The Evolution of Human Sleep
Scientists have made substantial progress in understanding the evolution of mammalian sleep, yet the evolution of human sleep has been largely ignored in comparative studies. This omission is surprising given the extraordinary mental capacity and behavioral flexibility of humans, and the importance of sleep for human cognitive performance. I will discuss new phylogenetic methods that enable rigorous investigation of sleep along a single evolutionary lineage, and will apply these methods to study human sleep and brain size. In addition, I will present new findings from my lab on sleep in traditional human populations, which sheds additional light on the evolution of human sleep. I will close by considering how evolutionary perspectives provide insights to human sleep disorders, health across the lifespan, and health disparities.