Mmm, Sleep...

Postby mfw on Fri 16/Mar/12 2:51pm

Hmm, 2 sleeps better than one?
So did I read that correctly, in para 10 if you wake in the middle of the night you can go and have sex with the neighbours :ib:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/wellb ... hour-sleep

It happens to all of us, you wake up in the middle of the night and try desperately to get back to sleep but instead toss and turn until the alarm goes off.

Rather than being simply symptomatic of a stressful work week, science suggests you might be experiencing a throwback to a default pattern of human slumber.

According to mounting research, the concept of a solid eight hours sleep is a fairly recent phenomenon and it's likely that our ancestors enjoyed "two sleeps" of shorter duration, separated by time awake, as opposed to one sustained period.

Psychiatrist Thomas Wehr was the first to rediscover this behavioural trait in the early 1990s while studying the sleeping habits of humans.

Plunging a group of participants into 14 hours of darkness for a month he found they fell into a distinct pattern after a period of adjustment: sleeping for four hours before waking for one or two and then sleeping a further four.

Since then, Roger Ekirch, a professor in the Department of History at Virginia Tech and author of At Day's Close: Night in Times Past, has found a wealth of evidence to suggest that the single sleep is a modern occurrence, with "first" and "second" sleeps considered the norm since the beginning of human civilisation.

"The pattern of our sleep has changed from a segmented or bi-phasic pattern, which existed from time immemorial, to the compressed, consolidated form to which we aspire today, but do not always succeed in achieving," he said.

"By segmented sleep, I am referring to a pattern whereby individuals typically slept in two phases of perhaps three to three-and-a-half hours each in length bridged by an intervening period of wakefulness. The transformation to our much younger, modern mode of slumber took place gradually and erratically over the course of the 19th century in Western societies."

Though it's an alien concept to us today, references to two sleeps can be found as far back as the Old Testament and Homer's Odyssey, and, more recently, in Don Quixote and Charles Dickens' Barnaby Rudge.

Waking for an hour or more in between, the period between the two wasn't always a solitary affair, with people gathering to talk, have sex or visit the neighbours.

But, the introduction of affordable light sources - from candlelight to public oil lamps - blurred the distinction between daytime and nighttime activities and sleep patterns soon followed.

Traditionally a time of natural and supernatural danger for medieval and early modern Europeans, honest, decent people were supposed to be at home after dark.


Though exceptions overwhelmed the rule, with peasants, midwives, drunkards, students and street-cleaners often out at night.

It was the Parisian nobles and courtiers of the 1630s and 1640s who were the first to popularise the concept of expanding one's activities into the night as a sign of wealth, prestige and exclusivity - beginning the modern pattern of compressed sleep with one block of rest from around midnight until about 8am.

Craig Koslofsky, associate professor of history at the University of Illinois, explores this in his new book, Evening's Empire: A History of the Night in Early Modern Europe.

"The social and cultural factors that reshaped sleeping patterns are called nocturnalisation," he said.

"Nocturnalisation, defined as the increasing social and symbolic uses of the night, began to reshape sleeping habits, meal times, and all other structures of daily life beginning around 1650. Just as some Europeans at this time sought wealth, prestige, and power through colonisation of space, so too Europeans began to colonise the night, expanding their daytime activities into the night while developing new uses for lighting and darkness and leading to a compression of the first and second sleep into one block."

Over the course of the next 250 years the trend filtered throughout the rest of Western society and by 1920 the concept of the first and second sleep had been eradicated from our collective memory.

Sleep scientists today are only just starting to unpack the evolutionary underpinning of insomnia and other prevalent disorders.

"There are some people who have adapted to modern society and are able to have this consolidated single sleep and there are others who have struggled to adapt as well and are easily distracted by noise and other disturbances and wake up in the middle of the night," explained Ron Grunstein, Professor of Sleep Medicine at the University of Sydney.

"People with insomnia fit certain psychological profiles. Is adaption a cause or is it a genetic difference?

People who have insomnia are more perfectionistic, they really want to sleep at 11 o'clock and through until seven in the morning and if they can't do that they get upset. They're generally more obsessive and anxious."

Both Grunstein and Ekirch agree that the best thing people who have trouble staying asleep throughout the night can do is not fret about it.

If you find that you can't easily drift back off you might want to take a leaf out of the pages of history and engage in some low-stimulus activity for an hour or two rather than sit there worrying about it.

"People who awaken in the middle of the night for no explicable reason should not torment themselves about the source of their wakefulness or think themselves abnormal," said Ekirch.

"Both physicians and patients have told me that this knowledge alleviates anxiety, which in itself contributes to wakefulness upon stirring in the middle of the night. Judged by thousands of years of human history, these so-called insomniacs are arguably more normal than the rest of us."
Last edited by mfw on Fri 16/Mar/12 3:38pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mmm, Sleep...

Postby Muz on Fri 16/Mar/12 3:09pm

Monophasic, biphasic and polyphasic patterns - basic info:

http://sleepforall.com/sleep-patterns.htm
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Re: Mmm, Sleep...

Postby Dr. Fuentes on Fri 16/Mar/12 4:48pm

The other interesting thing about sleep is the natural micro cycles we go through - somewhere around 90 minutes* in duration I think they are. Whether it's true or not I have no idea, but I have anecdotal evidence on my side.

*actual results may vary. If pain persists, see your doctor
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Re: Mmm, Sleep...

Postby cruiser on Fri 16/Mar/12 7:16pm

*circadian rhythms.
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Re: Mmm, Sleep...

Postby cruiser on Fri 16/Mar/12 7:40pm

mmmm.duh. References to two sleeps can be found today in asia, africa and south america or in places where people don't work or it's too hot to work.

professor wrote:The social and cultural factors that reshaped sleeping patterns are called nocturnalisation"


I'd say Industrialism and it's effects on spare & leisure time might hold more clues to sleep patterns than believing europeans wanted to find better ways to flaunt their wealth using lights :music:
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Re: Mmm, Sleep...

Postby E Dogg Capizzle on Fri 16/Mar/12 7:54pm

cruiser wrote:
I'd say Industrialism and it's effects on spare & leisure time might hold more clues to sleep patterns than believing europeans wanted to find better ways to flaunt their wealth using lights :music:


So industrialization, which occurred at least a century after the changes this guy is talking about, was responsible for those changes? I'm sure this professor guy just pulled this theory out of his arse anyway. No wait, that was you.
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Re: Mmm, Sleep...

Postby cruiser on Fri 16/Mar/12 8:17pm

yep I knew when the defined industrial age was when I pulled my comment out my arse. But I'm pretty sure industriousness and working happened before the 'industrial age' - which might just be when historians felt was a tipping point? but who knows, not me.
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Re: Mmm, Sleep...

Postby Simonius_Titius on Sat 17/Mar/12 2:16am

This seems dodgy. Why not just look at current and recent non-industrial and non-illuminated societies? There are plenty of anthropologists alive now who have lived with such folk.

http://sleepforall.com/sleep-patterns.htm does not support the 2 x 4 hour idea either.

A siesta is a nap which does not get beyond light sleep. This does not support the idea of a split sleep, it is too much of a stretch to call that "biphasic".
The other examples given are of multiple siesta patterns, and they do not appear to have been found successful except as experiments by a tiny number of highly motivated book authors and eccentrics.

If a nap is allowed to go into deep sleep there will not be an opportunity to exit without feeling wrecked until the cycle has come back to light sleep, one cycle being about 90 minutes.
There are occupations which require that sort of pattern, e.g. hunter of crepuscular species like deer and shift workers. But without an externally imposed schedule are there any examples of societies who sleep for one or more cycles separately from the rest?

In the interests of science I will now wake up the neighbors and see if they are interested in sex. Then I'll have a snooze and get up at dawn to stalk shift workers. :)
Last edited by Simonius_Titius on Sat 17/Mar/12 5:49pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mmm, Sleep...

Postby happybaboon on Sat 17/Mar/12 4:18pm

Simonius_Titius wrote:This seems dodgy. Why not just look at current and current and recent non-industrial and non-illuminated societies?

Go to Palmy you mean? Fuck that! I support this dudes plan to just sit around and theorise.
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Re: Mmm, Sleep...

Postby Simonius_Titius on Sat 17/Mar/12 6:04pm

happybaboon wrote:
Simonius_Titius wrote:This seems dodgy. Why not just look at current and current and recent non-industrial and non-illuminated societies?

Go to Palmy you mean? Fuck that! I support this dudes plan to just sit around and theorise.

:D
Palmerston North shall forever be revered as the birthplace of Tarini bikes.

Tarini 531 team special.jpg
Tarini 531 team special
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Re: Mmm, Sleep...

Postby great uncle bulgaria on Sat 17/Mar/12 11:56pm

a beautiful thing :love: :blink:
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Re: Mmm, Sleep...

Postby Simonius_Titius on Sun 18/Mar/12 1:48am

I think it is pretty.
The team bikes are very rare, there are quite a few Primas around though.

Hey that's a charming shade of pink on your avatar. You really should get some random Japanese writing to go with it. :p
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