How Many Hours Did People Sleep in Ancient Times?

Sleeping patterns have always been an integral part of human life, and ancient times were no exception. However, with no means of digital clocks or smartwatches, people had different ways of tracking their sleep. In this article, we will delve into the sleeping habits of ancient times and uncover how much sleep people got in those days.

Sleeping Habits in Ancient Times

In the past, people’s sleeping habits were heavily influenced by their lifestyle and occupation. For instance, hunters and gatherers had to remain alert throughout the night for any signs of danger. On the other hand, farmers went to bed early and woke up with the sunrise to tend to their crops and animals.

Despite these differences in lifestyle and occupation, ancient people generally slept for longer hours than modern-day individuals. However, the quality of sleep was not always guaranteed due to various factors such as temperature changes and noise pollution.

Ancient Egyptian Sleep Habits

The ancient Egyptians considered sleep as a means of communicating with the gods. They believed that dreams were a gateway to receiving messages from their deities. As such, they slept on raised platforms to avoid contact with insects that could interfere with their dreams.

Moreover, they had a unique way of tracking time while they slept; they used water clocks called “clepsydras.” These clocks measured time by dropping water from one vessel to another at a constant rate throughout the night.

Ancient Greek Sleep Habits

In Ancient Greece, sleep was regarded as a natural process that allowed individuals to rest their minds and bodies after a hard day’s work. They believed that dreams were not just random thoughts but also visions from the gods.

The Greeks also valued silence during bedtime; therefore, they constructed their homes away from noisy streets or marketplaces. Additionally, they used oil lamps filled with olive oil for lighting instead of candles, which produced more smoke and odor.

Ancient Roman Sleep Habits

The Romans had a different approach to sleep compared to the Greeks. They considered sleeping as a sign of laziness and indulgence. Instead, they preferred power naps during the day to re-energize their bodies.

Furthermore, the Romans slept on beds made of stone or wood with cushions for comfort. They also used curtains made of wool or linen to keep themselves warm throughout the night.

How Many Hours Did People Sleep in Ancient Times?

It is challenging to determine precisely how many hours people slept in ancient times, primarily due to the lack of documentation and varying lifestyles. However, historians estimate that people slept for an average of 7-9 hours per night.

It is worth noting that ancient people did not have access to electricity or artificial lighting, which meant that their sleep patterns were heavily influenced by natural light cycles. As such, they went to bed earlier than modern-day individuals and woke up with the sunrise.


In conclusion, sleeping habits in ancient times varied depending on lifestyle and occupation. Despite these differences, ancient people generally slept for more extended periods than modern-day individuals. We can learn from their practices and incorporate them into our daily routines for better sleep quality.

Remember, getting enough rest is essential for our physical and mental well-being. Therefore, it’s crucial to make sure we prioritize our sleep just as much as we do other aspects of our lives.