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Once they had caught up on their sleep though, a strange thing started to happen. Over a twelve hour period, the participants would typically sleep for about four or five hours initially, then wake for several hours, then sleep again until morning. The middle hours of the night, between two sleeps, was characterized by unusual calmness, likened to meditation.This was not the middle-of-the-night toss-and-turn that many of us experienced. He and his family intentionally went an entire month with no electric light.
We used to sleep in two shorter periods, over a longer range of night.
Giving the same respect to the single, eight-hour sleep should be just as effective.
Note too that two sleeping needs a lot of darkness – darkness that is only possible naturally during the winter months.
Religious manuals included special prayers to be said in the mid-sleep hours.
Others might smoke, talk with co-sleepers, or have sex.
The individuals did not stress about falling back asleep, but used the time to relax. In the winter months, this meant a lot of darkness and a lot of sleep.
Russell Foster, professor of circadian neuroscience at Oxford, points out that even with standard sleep patterns, this night waking isn’t always cause for concern. “I tell them that what they are experiencing is a throwback to the bi-modal sleep pattern.” Outside of a scientific setting, this kind of sleep pattern is still attainable, but it does require changing our modern, electric lifestyle. Moyer writes “…I would go to bed really early, like , and then get up around am.
Rather than staying up and active the usual sixteen hours per day, they would stay up only ten.
The other fourteen hours they would be in a closed, dark room, where they would rest or sleep as much as possible.
The greater levels of daylight during summer and other seasons would make two sleeping difficult, or even impossible.
Perhaps two sleeping is merely a coping mechanism to get through the long, cold, boring nights of the winter. So long as we give our sleep the time and respect it needs, getting the “standard” eight hours of sleep should be fine. Thank you to everyone who visited, or took the time to leave a comment. A lot of commenters either practice, or used to practice this kind of sleep. Another possible reason for two sleeps is tending the fire during the night.
With the rise of more street lighting, night stopped being the domain of criminals and sub-classes and became a time for work or socializing.