Sleeping patterns before the advent of electricity

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
I found this interesting article,
Your Ancestors Didn?t Sleep Like You - SlumberWise.

The gist of the article is that our ancestors did not sleep straight through for 8 hours or so before the advent of street lights and indoor electricity. Instead, they slept for about 4 hours, then arose for a few hours, then went back to sleep until daylight. This was not an occasional or odd occurrence, but rather the norm. One interesting theory is that, unlike modern people, our ancestors did not panic when the awoke mid night, but rather were quite calm and in a contemplative mood. What do you think about the article's content?
 
Sep 2014
145
VA
I found this interesting article,
Your Ancestors Didn?t Sleep Like You - SlumberWise.

The gist of the article is that our ancestors did not sleep straight through for 8 hours or so before the advent of street lights and indoor electricity. Instead, they slept for about 4 hours, then arose for a few hours, then went back to sleep until daylight. This was not an occasional or odd occurrence, but rather the norm. One interesting theory is that, unlike modern people, our ancestors did not panic when the awoke mid night, but rather were quite calm and in a contemplative mood. What do you think about the article's content?
The article is blocked where I am at right now so I cant comment on it. I am curious about where you mention our ancestors not panicking when they awake at night.

Ummm, where does all of this panicking occur now days? Unless it is from a nightmare, I have never seen anyone panic when they wake up at night.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
The article is blocked where I am at right now so I cant comment on it. I am curious about where you mention our ancestors not panicking when they awake at night.

Ummm, where does all of this panicking occur now days? Unless it is from a nightmare, I have never seen anyone panic when they wake up at night.
They quoted some sort of psychologist or sociologist who stated that modern people seem to have anxiety when they wake up in the middle of the night and don't fall back to sleep for some time. He used the word "panic." I guess people are afraid they won't get enough sleep for work or what ever they do during the daylight hours. I know people who have told me they awoke during the night and couldn't fall back asleep. They way they conveyed it seemed to be one of concern, as if it was a problem. The article says, for our ancestors, this was not only accepted, but embraced.
 
Sep 2014
145
VA
They quoted some sort of psychologist or sociologist who stated that modern people seem to have anxiety when they wake up in the middle of the night and don't fall back to sleep for some time. He used the word "panic." I guess people are afraid they won't get enough sleep for work or what ever they do during the daylight hours. I know people who have told me they awoke during the night and couldn't fall back asleep. They way they conveyed it seemed to be one of concern, as if it was a problem. The article says, for our ancestors, this was not only accepted, but embraced.
Do you have a link to the study or know who did it? I find it not very believable.

Im not attacking you here, I just disagree with the results of the study.
 

d'artanian

Ad Honorem
Aug 2010
2,950
USA
They quoted some sort of psychologist or sociologist who stated that modern people seem to have anxiety when they wake up in the middle of the night and don't fall back to sleep for some time. He used the word "panic." I guess people are afraid they won't get enough sleep for work or what ever they do during the daylight hours. I know people who have told me they awoke during the night and couldn't fall back asleep. They way they conveyed it seemed to be one of concern, as if it was a problem. The article says, for our ancestors, this was not only accepted, but embraced.
The panic we feel, I'm certain, is mostly related to work. We have to be at work by a certain time, and not getting enough sleep can make our day less productive.

The clock didn't create as much pressure on the ancients, no set schedules, unless they had to feed/milk livestock. However, what they did have, in many instances, was a need to see that all was safe and secure...no trespassers...because obviously people intent on creating mischief use the dark as a cover. So, being awake half the night may have been a necessity for many of them.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
The panic we feel, I'm certain, is mostly related to work. We have to be at work by a certain time, and not getting enough sleep can make our day less productive.

The clock didn't create as much pressure on the ancients, no set schedules, unless they had to feed/milk livestock. However, what they did have, in many instances, was a need to see that all was safe and secure...no trespassers...because obviously people intent on creating mischief use the dark as a cover. So, being awake half the night may have been a necessity for many of them.
This is my take. Who hasn't awakened in the middle of night, unable to fall back asleep for an extended time. Your first thought is "I'm going to be dragging at work tomorrow." Then, it is even harder to fall back asleep. I know people who have had panic attacks under these circumstances. Here is a quote from the BBC article "Over 30% of the medical problems that doctors are faced with stem directly or indirectly from sleep." Now, if you have nothing to do then perhaps you don't feel the urgency.
 
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Otranto

Ad Honorem
May 2013
2,083
Netherlands
What do you think about the article's content?
Correct or, at least, seems in agreement with the Rule of St. Benedict (which, I'd think, should reflect ancient and medieval sleeping patterns).
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
Correct or, at least, seems in agreement with the Rule of St. Benedict (which, I'd think, should reflect ancient and medieval sleeping patterns).
Interesting. They mention that the time between first sleep and second sleep was considered prime time for prayer and contemplation, as it appears there was a real sense of calm during this time.
 

EmperorTigerstar

Ad Honorem
Jun 2013
6,398
USA
I found this interesting article,
Your Ancestors Didn?t Sleep Like You - SlumberWise.

The gist of the article is that our ancestors did not sleep straight through for 8 hours or so before the advent of street lights and indoor electricity. Instead, they slept for about 4 hours, then arose for a few hours, then went back to sleep until daylight. This was not an occasional or odd occurrence, but rather the norm. One interesting theory is that, unlike modern people, our ancestors did not panic when the awoke mid night, but rather were quite calm and in a contemplative mood. What do you think about the article's content?
I always found this interesting. I've also claimed that I plan to try this sleep pattern but then never remember to set the alarm for it.