I need a planet where the day cycle is short, in particular 16 hours. I read What determines the length of a day on a planet? and Is it physically possible for a planet to have seasons of different lengths? that establish the environment. Also Can I significantly shorten the days on a planet that can support human life? and How would humans be affected by a 12-hour day? that deal with the effect on humans and their biology. I got lots of my initial questions covered, and it seems that such a planet is possible, probable and viable to sustain human colonies. My question then boils to the anthropological and social level.

What would be the most significant societal changes from life on Earth as we know it, because of the shorter day-cycle?

This is my very first question in worldbuilding, so feel free to assist me in the proper way of asking, as well.

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    $\begingroup$ I've narrowed the question to the specific social and antropological effects of the short day-cycle, which have not been answered elsewhere, and are already a part of the two answers that have been given. $\endgroup$ – adonies Jun 1 '17 at 15:16
  • $\begingroup$ I think this question is narrow enough to be reopened now. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Jun 5 '17 at 1:18
  • $\begingroup$ @MonicaCellio It hasn't been reopened yet, is there something that I should do to that effect? $\endgroup$ – adonies Jun 25 '17 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ @adonies apparently my edit did not send it to the reopen review queue like I thought it would. Looking at the post history, I and at least three other people think it shouldn't be closed, and you've been patient and good about working with the community to address the concerns that were brought up, so I'm reopening it. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Jun 25 '17 at 21:18

Ok, I'm planning that this will be a work in progress, but here goes nothing:

Sleep shouldn't be a problem. Humans are very adaptive, check out sailors for example. They also just completed a long space journey which should have put more of a strain on them. Also today's astronauts on the ISS have much shorter days. And if the worst happens, they can just build a house and close the windows and sleep as they need it.

As for food, I imagine that this would mess up most of today's already overbred plants, but I am not aware that anyone has studied this. Is them having genetically adapted crops or just indoor plantations an option?

If you have slaves however, this could create some tension. Fatigue and psychological stress could be interpreted as a result of the very planet's cycle. I think this would put even more of a strain on the slave-master relation, making your society a time bomb - especially since so few people exist. It should be easy to run away and live in the wild for a couple of them or even overthrow the structures. It should also depend on what the company expects of them. If the slaves have to keep a tight, inconsiderate and/or earth-like schedule without giving them the chance to adapt, this could lead to serious problems - check out long-term sleep deprivation. And if you have ever dealt with studied economists, you will know that they will not have planned and thought through fully in advance.

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  • $\begingroup$ The long space-journey had been in cryosleep, so can take it out of the equation. The first generation is thoroughly bred and used to Earth; will they be able to adapt, or go down in despair? Generation gap with 2nd generation - what about possible biological adaptations to those born there? (like those living in no gravity becoming elongated) Nice point about the imported fauna - what would be expected to grow there, and how would the earthborn be able to compete? There is considerable social pressure from first generation to NOT run away, so that the grandchildren become free at last. $\endgroup$ – adonies May 31 '17 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ @adonies Since when do fictional children listen to their parents? ;). It is hard to say what specific plants grow on an alien world, but in general they should not be edible anyways no matter how long a day is. I already gave 2 options for how earth plants could be used on such a planet - but I must say I am no farmer. And I believe as I stated that humans will have no trouble adapting if they are given a chance to do so. If you truly want 8 hours sleep 8 hours work, this is an entirely different story. Do you plan to have such a working day? I am not aware of any possible physical changes $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 May 31 '17 at 14:30

The sleep schedule shouldn't be an issue. Many studies have been done on alternate biphasic and polyphasic sleep schedules such as the Uberman sleep schedule. https://www.polyphasicsociety.com/polyphasic-sleep/overviews/uberman-2/ One of the main reasons these don't work in practice is that they don't follow the schedule of most of the world. This new planet with a new day length would be the perfect opportunity to change a society's schedule, and maximize not only productivity but also maximize waking hours making lives objectively longer.

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The humans would be able to colonize the planet OK, they would just have a problem getting used to the sleep schedule. Assuming they came from Earth, the humans would experience lack of sleep and generally become more tired. This wouldn't be that good for the humans, since we need to be 100% aware if the planet has hostiles. Assuming the humans can figure out a new sleep schedule based on the 16 hour day, they should be fine!

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    $\begingroup$ Humans already have. Sailors do those kinds of things. Also check out theguardian.com/science/2005/feb/12/sailing.sciencenews $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 May 31 '17 at 13:34
  • $\begingroup$ But would they be able to adapt to the sleep schedule at all? 8 hours work, 8 hours sleep, then 8 hours day again work? The perfect slave environment... What about leisure time? $\endgroup$ – adonies May 31 '17 at 14:05
  • $\begingroup$ The humans would have to adjust their schedules. Which means that the school year would have to be twice as long since they might get half a days lesson in one day. Perhaps the work places might give more days off? $\endgroup$ – Synergetic May 31 '17 at 14:11
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting point there, daynight is only 16 hours long, so either the planet rotates more slowly around the sun, so as to keep the 8.760hours yearly cycle that Earth has (making the seasons more 'elongated' in the amount of 16hour calendar days they have) or keeping the same number of calendar days (about 365) so that people of this planet effectually have year ages that would seem outlandishly big to Earthers (>30% longer). $\endgroup$ – adonies May 31 '17 at 14:17
  • $\begingroup$ Human peak work duration is 6 hours, afterwards quality significantly declines. So 6 hours working, 8 hours sleeping, 2 hours leisure/breaks\ works fine. $\endgroup$ – Mormacil May 31 '17 at 14:51

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