all my life i have had ‘odd sleeping patterns’ and have suffered from insomnia. and all my life i have been fighting with my weird sleeping habits. it turns out that not only do i not have to fight them – they are actually quite normal human sleeping patterns.
The 8-Hour Sleep Myth “Turns out that psychiatrist Thomas Wehr ran an experiment back in the ‘90s in which people were thrust into darkness for 14 hours every day for a month. When their sleep regulated, a strange pattern emerged. They slept first for four hours, then woke for one or two hours before drifting off again into a second four-hour sleep.”
The myth of the eight-hour sleep – BBC “In 2001, historian Roger Ekirch of Virginia Tech published a seminal paper, drawn from 16 years of research, revealing a wealth of historical evidence that humans used to sleep in two distinct chunks. His book At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past, published four years later, unearths more than 500 references to a segmented sleeping pattern – in diaries, court records, medical books and literature, from Homer’s Odyssey to an anthropological account of modern tribes in Nigeria.
When segmented sleep was the norm
- "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." Charles Dickens, Barnaby Rudge (1840)
- "Don Quixote followed nature, and being satisfied with his first sleep, did not solicit more. As for Sancho, he never wanted a second, for the first lasted him from night to morning." Miguel Cervantes, Don Quixote (1615)
- "And at the wakening of your first sleepe You shall have a hott drinke made, And at the wakening of your next sleepe Your sorrowes will have a slake." Early English ballad, Old Robin of Portingale
- The Tiv tribe in Nigeria employ the terms "first sleep" and "second sleep" to refer to specific periods of the night
Source: Roger Ekirch”
ha! so my pattern of getting sleepy around 8-10 PM, going to bed and then wake up around 2-4 AM and then get sleepy again around 5 AM and sleep until 9 AM is just as it should be. good. i will not feel bad about how i sleep anymore.
in fact i am going to use my wakefulness to be creative and self-indulgent.
here’s a bit about NAPPING:
and something about the nature of humans: