Maybe Our Ancestors Knew The Real Secret Of A Good Night's Sleep

Illustration for article titled Maybe Our Ancestors Knew The Real Secret Of A Good Night's Sleep

I have a friend who says three in the morning is the time we all spend laying awake, staring at darkness, and thinking about all the mistakes we’ve made in our lives. Everyone reading this knows that she’s right. But it doesn’t need to be this way. We could use this time productively, the way our ancestors did.


The concept of first sleep and second sleep is a very old one. As the light waned in the evenings, people would go to bed and sleep for about four hours. In the middle of the night, they’d wake up and stay awake for a few hours. People would usually use this time for quiet recreation. They’d talk a bit, eat a little, perhaps read or pray, and most people agreed that this was the best time for married couples to roll around on the mattress.

After a few hours, they’d get sleepy once again and settle back down to sleep. The second sleep would see them through until dawn, when they’d get up and take on their day. It’s easy to see why the concept of two sleeps was popular. Instead of being dead tired at the end of the day, you could fall into bed and sleep for a few hours before waking up and having fun. It would allow a more complete break between one day and the next, a little bubble of “me time” between working days. And it might eliminate those three o’clock thoughts.

Now we just have to get TV and the media on board with it. It would be great to wake up at midnight because your favorite program is on and you can watch it in bed. Who’s up for the one o’clock episode of Agents of SHIELD?

Image: Sonja Longford

[Source: Sleep We Have Lost]


Dances with Peeps

Because of my daytime work schedule, which is opposed to my natural night owl schedule, I get sleep breaks like this often on the weekend. I’ll sleep for a few hours, wake up, eat, then crash back out again.