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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.
In his study, fifteen men spent four weeks with their daylight artificially restricted.No matter why the change happened, shortly after the turn of the 20 century the concept of two sleeps had vanished from common knowledge. Two sleeps per night may have been the method of antiquity, but tendencies towards it still linger in modern man.There could be an innate biological preference for two sleeps, given the right circumstances.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.Religious manuals included special prayers to be said in the mid-sleep hours.
Others might smoke, talk with co-sleepers, or have sex.
Some were more active and would leave to visit with neighbours. Ekirch attributes the change to the advent of street lighting and eventually electric indoor light, as well as the popularity of coffee houses.
Author Craig Koslofsky offers a further theory in his book .
His research found that we didn’t always sleep in one eight hour chunk.
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.