The existence of our sleeping twice per night was first uncovered by Roger Ekirch, professor of History at Virginia Tech. References are scattered throughout literature, court documents, personal papers, and the ephemera of the past. Most stayed in their beds and bedrooms, sometimes reading, and often they would use the time to pray.
No matter why the change happened, shortly after the turn of the 20th 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.
In the early ‘90s, psychiatrist Thomas Wehr of National Institutes of Mental Health conducted a study on photoperiodicity (exposure to light), and its effect on sleep patterns.
At first, the participants would sleep huge stretches of time, likely making up for sleep debt that’s common among modern people. 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. 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.
Outside of a scientific setting, this kind of sleep pattern is still attainable, but it does require changing our modern, electric lifestyle.
Moyer didn’t set out to reproduce our ancestors sleep pattern, it just happened as a byproduct of a lot of dark hours.
Although history shows that two sleeping was common, and science indicates that it is (in some conditions) natural, there is no indication that it is better. Note too that two sleeping needs a lot of darkness – darkness that is only possible naturally during the winter months.
Perhaps two sleeping is merely a coping mechanism to get through the long, cold, boring nights of the winter. But next time you wake up at 2 AM and can’t sleep, just remember your great, great, great, great, great grandfather. Commenters also raised questions regarding non-European and non-Western cultures, which we’ll be digging into in future articles. Ah yes I have a similar problem with sensitivity to sunlight, try doing what I do, sleep during the day in an air tight coffin. That we would have to get up to tend a fire would only make sense to someone who has never lived with wood heat. Here in the Canadian prairies winter nights can get to as low as minus 40 degrees and one gets up to feed the fire- a banked fire would get you frozen to death. A friend once told me that when she had asked the doctor why her ill husband got worse or woke up around 3am, he had replied that waking up at that time had been normal for mankind in the past, because it was at that time that the predators where most active and one had to keep watch (and tend the fire, perhaps, as it says above), so given certain conditions one could easily revert to that behavior.
I thought fire keeping was shared between the Larks and Owls, now it seems there is a change over period too, handy for bed sharing!
I have often thought all the peculiarities between us add up to a useful, functioning tribe. Just came back to note that I have circulated this article today for what must be the sixth or seventh time. While traveling in Spain, with friends, during the heat of summer (28-39°C, they had a wind off of the Sahara that year) our sleep changed just for the duration. I get really REALLY tired at around 5-6pm and feel as if I could go to sleep and sleep for hours. I had to search sleep since I have been waking up, to the point where I know about what time it is, and not able to go back to sleep for a while. One way I overcome some of this is to take a benedril and an asprin before going to bed which helps me sleep *most* of the night.
I have over the last year suffered a bout of poor health, and now find myself working fiver hours per day. When unemployed (as I have no idea how you could work this with a job), I quickly develop into a two-sleeper – but a bit different. I can understand when there was no electricity and one has worked hard all day that going to sleep when the sun goes down would be perfect, then after at least 4 hours of sleep waking to do a few things, then back to sleep until the sun would come back up. I work as a wilderness therapy backpacking guide; some nights I get to bed at about 8pm, latest 9pm, due to the cold temps and sun setting about 6 PM.
Ah I forgot to add, perhaps this would be neat to study in such people, like me, who camp half the year and have the opportunity to do this. I am in my 70s and find that I can never make it through the night without waking up and staying awake for a few hours. This was an interesting read I was under the influence that if you woke up during of the night you were not resting properly. And then there is the fact that plumbing used to be outside… Perhaps the end of first sleep was a brave trip into the elements outside.
Didn’t have a pot to piss in is a reference to people that used to use urine to cure leather.
I believe this specific polyphasic sleep pattern would have evolved as a way to provide security for oneself and progeny. I am (south) Italian and if someone wakes you from a deep sleep we have an idiomatic expression that should sound something like: “Ehy!
Schoolgirl Izzy Dix was found hanged by her mother at home last monthNot long before her suicide, she wrote a heartbreaking poem about her ordeal. Their other possessions are in storage, save for Izzya€™s diary, which was taken by the police as evidence. In the weeks since Izzya€™s death, some of her classmates a€” a€?not the ring-leaders but the ones who joined in the ganging-up, which I actually find more difficult to forgivea€™ a€” have attempted to apologise, but this has only added to Gabbia€™s pain. She says: a€?One girl got in touch to say she was sorry if their silly jokes had led to this. She reveals that while Izzy a€?adoreda€™ many of her teachers, they failed to tackle the bullies, even though theya€™d been told what was going on. There has not yet been an inquest into Izzya€™s death, so there is no proof that she took her own life because of bullying, and perhaps there never will be. On my nightstand sits a photograph of my parents, taken during their three-year tour in Germany before I was born. Since I was old enough to remember, this photoa€”along with the treasures my parents brought home in 1969 (a long-haired daschund, crystal goblets, a sporty two-door Volvo P1800)a€”helped shape my mental picture of Germany.
Ranked among the most livable cities in the world, Munich feels more like a village of 1.3 million than a bustling metropolis. The citya€™s heritage is displayed daily in storefronts, concert halls, restaurants and attire.
My adventure with exceptional German design begins even before I board my flighta€”nonstop from Washington Dulles International Airport to Munich Airporta€”with a visit to Lufthansaa€™s swank new Senator and Business Class Lounge.
After a swim in the Olympic poola€”which sits under one of the distinctive tent-style roofsa€”I spend an hour strolling through the park. Next door is BMWa€™s headquarters, factory, museum and showroom, a glass and steel structure as impressive as the motor masterpieces housed inside.
The bicycles in the BMW store make me weak in the knees with their sexy lines and seductive German engineering, but even before I convert euros to U.S. Just a few minutesa€™ walk from my hotel is the trendy Glockenbachviertel neighborhood, where flamboyant and Goth clothes fill shop windows, and East Village-esque restaurants and bars line the narrow streets. I spend my last day in Germany visiting Murnau, an hour south of Munich in the foothills of the Alps. As we drive around in Fritza€™s green Subaru, up hills and around the Murnau Moor nature reserve, I realize that anyone could be a€?happiera€? in this idyllic town.
Ita€™s easy to see why the area served as inspiration to artists such as Wassily Kandinsky and Gabriele Munter, who lived together at the beginning of the 20th century in what is today the Munter-Haus (also called the Russian House).
And ita€™s also a cinch to recognize, at last, the scene in that photograph on my nightstand. So instead of dragging home a BMW bike, I carry with me another form of transportation: memory. What is surprising is not that people slept in two sessions, but that the concept was so incredibly common.
Ekirch attributes the change to the advent of street lighting and eventually electric indoor light, as well as the popularity of coffee houses.
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.
Two sleeps may leave you feeling more rested, but this could simply be because you are intentionally giving yourself more time to rest, relax, and sleep.
The greater levels of daylight during summer and other seasons would make two sleeping difficult, or even impossible.


For anyone who wants to learn more about this kind of sleep, I’ve linked below to two books referenced in the writing of this article, available on Amazon.
I go to bed at ten and then wake up in the middle of the night and go back to sleep after an hour or two. Wake up about 4am or 5am and stay awake for an hour or so doing FB usually, peaceful, quiet time! I still get up early, before or at 5AM without a clock, which is fine, I can make coffee and be ready when my wife wakes up…eventually. Sleeping a few hours, then getting up and moving around for a while, then returning to sleep was almost guaranteed to produce lucid dreaming. And I used to take the puppy out in the middle of the night which was not at all unpleasant. I often awake mid-night to urinate and write with a clear mind, recalling my dreams, interpreting them, and sorting out challenges that are easier to focus on when the mind is calm and distractions are minimal. I say I find it very helpful as I can remember dreams more vividly and feel a deeper sense of connection to myself.
I find it a good time to turn on my shortwave radio and tune around the bands to see what I can hear. I was told that I suffered from depression because I was waking half-way through the night. Wouldn’t nocturnal predators prowl in the darkest time of night when their diurnal prey are most susceptible? Is it possible that you wake up a lot because you look at the clock and keep thinking about it.
It later transpires she has not been back to the family home in Devon since the night she ran from it, hysterical, after finding Izzya€™s body.Every item of furniture has been given to the charity shop Izzy used to work in (a€?it supports teenagers in need. Izzya€™s grandmother tells me that Gabbi hasna€™t been alone since Izzy died; she even sleeps in her mothera€™s bed.
Gabbi claims she had contacted the school, Brixham College, at least 15 times in the months before her daughter died, complaining about the name-calling, teasing and the ostracising. Suicides are rarely that simple.Yet you cana€™t read I Give Up, the poem she wrote, without seeing it as a glaring cry for help. Yet the capital of the state of Bavaria is one of Europea€™s leading centers of art and culture (with 58 theaters and 45 museums) and has an extraordinary public transportation system.
A history teacher named Gudrun, who takes me on a walking tour of the city, says the rain kept her from donning her dirndl, the traditional Bavarian dress. My meals on the flight (starting with spinach-stuffed gnocchi with crimini mushrooms and pine nuts) cana€™t justifiably be called a€?airplane food,a€? since Ritz-Carlton chefs took over the menus this spring.
My tour with Gudrun covers the citya€™s main attractionsa€”including the glockenspiel at Marienplatz and the onion-shaped domes atop the two towers of the Frauenkirche, the Gothic cathedral. The Olympic Park (olympiaparkmunchen.de) was home to the 1972 Games, tarnished by the killing of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches by Palestinian terrorists. In the citya€™s 3-mile radius, youa€™ll get around faster on a bike than any other mode of transportation. The companya€™s four-hour tour ($33.50)a€”which includes a beer garden breaka€”is a great way to get your bearings and work off that bretze (pretzel) and butter sandwich. Meal after meal, I return to this district, safe and easy, and find bartenders and baristas who gladly translate menus for me. The town, surrounded by warm lakes, is a popular weekenddestination for cycling, paragliding, climbing and winter sports. I remember an e-mail from my mother that described Bavariaa€™s colored buildings and flower boxes, and her words come to life in Murnaua€™s cobblestone-lined pedestrian blocks. We drive past ambling cows, adorned with bells that create a pleasing symphony in the valley. There, they and their artist friends sealed the regiona€™s standing as the birthplace of expressionist painting.
It really could have been any flower garden in Bavaria, but I imagine my parents, south of Munich, enveloped by crisp Alpine air and the faint sound of cowbells.
Ita€™s portable, dependable and German-made, and the images will forever bring me back to the beauty of Bavaria. The Brandhorst Museum (museum-brandhorst.de) opened in May, the newest attraction in the Kunstareal, or Art Quarter. The Valentin Museum (valentin-musaeum.de), dedicated to the famous Bavarian comedian Karl Valentin, known as the Charlie Chaplin of Germany, reopened in 2008. There are iPod docking stations and DVD players, but bring your own shampoo and alarm clock. Most of the 160 rooms have views of the Old Botanical Gardens or Municha€™s historic buildings. The only room that survived the war unscathed is Falka€™s Bar in the famed Spiegelsaal (Mirror Hall).
Alpenhof, an hour south of Munich in the foothills of the Alps, just opened its Yavanna Wellness & Spa, which includes a Finnish pine sauna, footbaths and ice fountains.
The airport bus leaves every 20 minutes for a 45-minute ride to the Main Train Station, which is convenient to most hotels. The biggest risk of jaywalking is not being hit by a car or being ticketed; ita€™s the look of shock and contempt youa€™ll earn from law-abiding pedestrians. This range was about 12 hours long, and began with a sleep of three to four hours, wakefulness of two to three hours, then sleep again until morning. The other fourteen hours they would be in a closed, dark room, where they would rest or sleep as much as possible.
So long as we give our sleep the time and respect it needs, getting the “standard” eight hours of sleep should be fine. I would encourage new visitors to have a read through the comments below for some interesting ideas and perspectives. Several clever readers noted that in order to keep a fire running through the night, we would need to get up and tend it.
Humans in the past always used to sleep outside and the sun light as well as being exposed to fresh air helped their sleeping pattern and health immensely, i keep my window open too to help sense the atmosphere changes to give my body the right cues.
One thing not to do if you wake up in the middle of the night, is to look at electronic devices because the blue under screen of most laptops will make it more difficult to get back to sleep.
But always stressed that I do not have enough sleep and next day I won’t be able to function properly at work. It means I am really tired when I wake up in the morning… even if I sleep in til 8am or so!
I always sleep 3 to 5 hours before I wake up to use the bathroom and many times cannot go back to sleep. I may write creatively at this time as well, depending on what I feel guided to do that night. What surprised me was the number of times during the night that these patients got up to go to the loo. Then I began to leave simple chores to do during my wakeful period, had a cup of Sleepytime, before returning to bed and found I felt rested in the morning.
I was in too much of a state to do anything other than accept it.a€™It is only six weeks since Izzy died, and Gabbia€™s grief is as raw as it gets. At night, she wakes up screaming a€?leave my baby alonea€™.But Gabbia€™s anger is as strong as her devastation, hence her insistence on going public with Izzya€™s story. MA?nchen, as the Germans call it, was founded as a town in 1158, and residents are proud of their history. But Ia€™m surprised to learn that many of the historic-looking buildings are just decades old. Today ita€™s beautiful and vibrant, with walkways, lakes, bicycle paths, concert and sports venues and restaurants.
Visitors can even reserve a spot to climb onto the roof of the Olympic Stadium between April and November (rope and snap hook provided), or for the more conventional tourist, there are daily tours of the stadium and the 955-foot Olympic Tower. Munich supports an extensive network of dedicated bike lanes that cover 745 miles, and the city Web site (muenchen.de) has an interactive route planner that allows you to print maps. Dogs seem to be welcome in coffee shops, stores, beer gardens and sidewalk cafes, so I imagine Munich also ranks high as a livable city for hounds.
In the center is a beer garden, a great spot to rest with your bike and dog, fuel up and take in the atmosphere. Fritz takes me to the local brewery, GriesbrA¤u (griesbraeu.de), where we eat a traditional Bavarian meal. We pass houses bursting at the seams with geraniums, lace curtains blowing out of open windows. I picture them driving in their new Volvo, the daschunda€™s ears flopping in the wind, stopping to snap a picture in front of some roses.
After youa€™ve taken a bite out of the city, come back to your room for a bite of the polished apple on your pillow. You can also take the S-Bahn trains (S-1 or S-8, depending on your destination), which depart every 10 minutes from the airport to the city center.


Your ancestors slept in a way that modern sleepers would find bizarre – they slept twice.
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. I discussed this with one of the night nurses and she said it is extremely common and it had surprised her when she first started working nights.
You could hear it in their voices, as if they were rolling their eyes and going, a€?Oh, not her again.a€?a€‰a€™Gabbi, who was a teacher herself, so is more aware of anti-bullying responsibilities in education than most, last phoned to discuss the problem on September 16 a€” the day before Izzy died.
Munich was all but destroyed by Allied airstrikes in World War II, Gudrun tells me, a€?but the city was careful to rebuild in the same style, not like other German cities that are very modern now.a€? She says only one out of 220 churches survived the war. There are 22,000 bike stands, but youa€™ll often see bikes leaning against a restaurant or store as riders dine or shop.
The downside for dogs is that the city is unfathomably clean, so I doubt the pups ever find sidewalk scraps.
He explains how local culturea€”food, music and hospitalitya€”is closer to that of Austria than Northern Germany. I’d fall asleep after commuting, walking, errands, most of it done on foot in the heat since I lived in an urban area, then making dinner. Reading this article helped me to embrace the situation as something that can happen and it is almost normal.
I was told that it is common to wake up after about 4 hours because that is the pattern that sleep takes.
Obviously at this age, prostrate problems are one factor, but not the only one – people just do not sleep right through as we normally imagine. There were still lots of young people, though.a€™ The presence of her daughtera€™s true friends provided a€?much, much comforta€™, Gabbi admits.
She had come home in a terrible state, claiming she had been told off for bursting into tears in class.
Bikes are allowed on the trains (with a Bicycle Day Pass, $3.50), except during rush hour, and Municha€™s bike lanes put cyclists in a commuter class that you rarely see in the States.
Although your ticket isna€™t often checked, youa€™ll face a hefty fine from the ticket inspector if youa€™re caught without one. But her feelings about some of the other attendees are more ambivalent.For Izzy, a gifted pupil who had ambitions to go to Oxford University, had taken her own life after complaining she could no longer cope with being bullied, both at school and online. Then, I’d wake up between one and three, read a book, watch a movie, make a cocktail, even go to the condo pool (very quietly!) for a night swim, or give the dog a walk some nights. There also seem to be many who do not need the loo, but just wake up and lie there for a while before going back to sleep. If she put her hands up in class, shea€™d be labelled a a€?swota€? and theya€™d snigger at her, or make crude comments.
It sounds so stupid now, but in my head I thought she wasna€™t quite at breaking point because her grades hadna€™t slipped at school. She called it I Give Up, and it reads: a€?They begin to tell me that nobody wants me there.
I got through to the headmaster himself that afternoon and pleaded with him, yet again, to do something.
She was a star pupil until the day she died.a€™One particularly distressing thing about Gabbia€™s story is that she appears to have followed all the rules about how to react if your child is being bullied a€” alerting the school, and offering love and reassurance to her daughter. I give up.a€™Many, if not all, of the youngsters present at the service would have been aware of Izzya€™s torment. Intimate moments shared between a husband and wife occur in the bedroom.A Although the husband and wife love their children in nearly every other sphere of their lives, this isA one sphere that isna€™t available to anyone else. She had fled a Spanish lesson in tears the day before her death when the jibes and sniggers a€” a€?the usual stuffa€™, says her mother, bitterly a€” got too much.Some of those who arrived to mourn her were directly implicated in the bullying, says Gabbi. Then onto that awful site Ask.fm [a website in which users post anonymous comments on each other's profiles], and be subjected to filth. Her relationship with Izzya€™s father, Eugene Conway, ended before Izzy was born, which led to a particularly intense mother-daughter bond. This does not literally mean you must pray in the bedroom any more than it means you must pray in a closet. It was more than we should expect any teenager to cope with, and in the end my daughter couldna€™t.a€™Gabbi is angry not just at the bullies and their a€?complete lack of compassion and humanitya€™, but at the teachers at Izzya€™s school.
The concept of a bedroom is only used to convey the idea of an isolated and solitary place where you can be alone with the Lord.A When we enter into a time of prayer, it should be done at a place and time when we are not interrupted so the Holy Spirit can speak to our hearts and we can bare our hearts to Him.
Yes, when she hit her teens she could be moody and we had our moments, but overall she was a joy: bright, opinionated, fun. Each of us should make it a daily priority to have this special time of communion with the Father through the Holy Spirit. It doesna€™t matter where you and I spend this private time with God; it just matters that we actually do it. The oldest boy of one family said hes been saving what little money he could to leave ASAP because of it. If she was here today, shea€™d do a much better job of this than me.a€™Izzy was always aware of her fathera€™s existence, and a€?knew she could meet him when she was readya€™.
He often prayed on a mountaintop or out in the wilderness, far fromA the hustle and bustle of the city. She did, in fact, meet him not long before she died, although her mother insists this did not cause her to become depressed. There is nothing in the Bible that says the early morning hours areA more holy than other hours of the day, and nowhere does the Bible teach that praying on a mountaintopA is somehow better than other places.
Jesus chose those early morning hours because it was aA moment when He could find solitude and quietness with God. So if you really want to be with the Lord, you will find time for that as well.A Think about it. But with all the distractions of modern life we often find ourselves living on spiritual snack food instead of a healthy diet of God's Word.
Here are seven suggestions that may help you have a better quiet time in a noisy world.A 1. If you want to have a more meaningful quiet time, view Bible reading and prayer as a daily dialog with God, a daily meeting.A 3. DON'T FEEL GUILTYHave you ever heard someone confess, "I'm having trouble keeping a regular quiet time.
FIND A PLAN THAT FITS YOUMany people say, "I love to cook but I hate to decide what's for dinner." The same principle is true when it comes to a daily quiet time.
There are manyA good Bible reading guides available from other publishers or your church denomination.
Then you won't have to spend your quiet time in "menu planning" and you can experience "the joy of cooking."A 5.
Put into practice some of these ideas and soon you'll discover that those few quiet time minutes may become the most meaningful part of your day.A A So select a quiet place where you wona€™t be disturbed. Once you go to that place, shut the doorA to outside interference and to the voices that are constantly calling out for your attention. Focus onA only one thing: this very intimate and private time with the Father.A This is so important that you shouldna€™t delay in acting on it! The truth is, IA havena€™t made my prayer time a priority in my life; therefore, I havena€™t been consistent inA prayer.
So I am asking You to help me locate a time and place where I can be alone and uninterrupted with You.
I am faithful to pray, to fellowshipA with the Father, to bare my heart before Him, and to listen to what His Spirit has toA say to me. What time of the day have you found to be best for you to really pray without being interrupted by other people or business?A 2. When you do spend time in prayer, what is the average amount of time you stay in the Presence of God? Can you honestly say you linger in His Presence, or do you have a a€?rush-in, rush-outa€? experience with the Lord?A 3.
If you examine your prayer time, what do you find that you pray about more than anything else? But with all the distractions of modern life we often find ourselves living on spiritual snack food instead of a healthy diet of God's Word. IT'S A MEETING, NOT A HABITPeople refer to the habit of daily Bible reading and prayer.
Don't focus so much on the mechanics of the process that you miss the Person behind it.



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