Does anyone else know humans used to sleep twice a night? First sleep as soon as the sun goes down, then we would wake some time after midnight to pray, talk, read, or just make love, before falling back asleep. I had no idea this was the case!
What changed? Effective lighting at night, making the nighttime safer and more active, pushing out our days and squeezing our rest time to a solid block. Nowadays, we expect we should be able to sleep right through the night, and if you can’t, well, you have a problem. Maybe we’re treating broken sleep wrong? Maybe we should embrace the break so we can sleep better? Of course, it might involve going to bed earlier…
I could write more about this topic I just discovered in the most amateurish way, but I found someone who has done it better than I could.
And if you want some opinions on the research, there’s this interesting commentary from Virginia Tech.
To be fair, I don’t have much trouble sleeping through the night, but that’s me. I know a lot of people who ‘struggle’ with sleep, and some of them function very well. The article I linked to above suggests it’s because of the expectation of sleeping: when sleep doesn’t come we worry about not sleeping and making the problem worse. Maybe there’s more than one way to go about this sleep business, and we just have to find the way that works for us. If we need to get up and move around and read or whatever, maybe that’s just what we need to do?
A curious idea.