Should We Actually Be Sleeping Twice A Day?
Sleeping Once A Day? How about Twice?
This time, we’re all doing it wrong. Well, except for a handful of Spanish people that still enjoy a siesta after lunch.
Experts believe that the reason we’re all constantly whingeing about lack of sleep is because we should actually be doing it twice a day, for shorter bursts.
Did someone say siesta?
The idea that we should all be trying for a continuous eight hours of sleep at night is, experts argue, a recent invention, and our body clocks are far better suited to two shorter bursts of sleep each day.
In fact, so-called segmented, or bi-modal, sleeping used to be the norm, argue Dr Melinda Jackson, a psychologist who specialises in sleep disorders at RMIT University, and Siobhan Banks, sleep researcher at the University of South Australia.
‘Anthropologists have found evidence that during pre-industrial Europe, bi-modal sleeping was considered the norm,’ they explained in an article this week for the Conversation.
For example, in Charles Dickens’ Barnaby Rudge (published in 1840), he refers to the concept of a first and second sleep, writing:
“He knew this, even in the horror with which he started from his first sleep, and threw up the window to dispel it by the presence of some object, beyond the room, which had not been, as it were, the witness of his dream.”
People’s bedtime wasn’t determined by time of day, but by what they had to do and when.
‘Interestingly, the appearance of sleep maintenance insomnia in the literature in the late 19th century coincides with the period where accounts of split sleep start to disappear,’ Jackson and Banks go on to note.
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