Everybody is aware of the importance of quality and enough sleep. It is crucial for refreshing the mind and revitalizing the organism. But how much sleep is enough? What does it look like? Many people are waking up through the night and don’t know if they are suffering from a sleep disarray or other health problem.
The sleep disarray is possible, but it is also possible that maybe the sleep shouldn’t last for the whole night. As a matter of fact, according to some historical records, centuries-old books and ancient references are all pointing at new and unexpected way we should be looking at how we sleep.
Segment Sleep: More Normal Than You Think
If you have a “problem” with your sleeping and you are waking up during the nights frequently, you may asking yourself if you are suffering from insomnia or sleep apnea. “Segmented sleep” seems like an improper sleep pattern that may not be a disarray at all, but a natural response that we forgotten thanks to our modern lifestyle.
Roger Ekirch, an English scholar believes that our ancestors used to implement segmented sleep, by praying or finishing some things at home during the wake hours through the night. He found some statements about “first sleep” and “second sleep” in the old books, documents and even letters from the period before the Industrial Revolution.
The time between the two sleeps was usually used for praying, and many people considered it as the most relaxing periods. The reason for this is because the middle period between the two sleeps is around midnight, and in this period the brain releases prolactin which is a hormone that stimulates the feeling of relaxation.
MANY SLEEPING ISSUES MAY HAVE ROOTS IN THE HUMAN BODY’S NATURAL PREFERENCE FOR SEGMENTED SLEEP
Ekirch states that many sleeping issues that are experienced today have roots deep in our body’s natural affinity for segmented sleep. According to his belief, the main reason why many people around the world today are suffering from a condition known as “sleep maintenance insomnia” where the people are waking up in the middle of the night and have problems to fall asleep again, is our historical sleeping pattern. This condition was firstly recorded at the end of the 19th century, in the period when the segmented sleep started to fade away from the people’s life.
“For most of evolution we slept a certain way. Waking up through the night is part of usual human physiology. The concept that we should sleep in a consolidated block could be harmful, he notes, if it makes individuals who wake up in the middle of the night nervous, as this nervousness can itself limit sleep and is likely to escape into waking life too.” – Psychologist Greg Jacobs.
Russell Foster, a professor of circadian (body clock) neuroscience at Oxford notes:
“Many individuals wake up in the middle of the night and panic. I say that what they are experiencing is a throwback to the bi-modal sleep pattern. But the most of the doctors still fail to recognize that a consolidated eight-hour sleep is not natural for our body. Over 30% of the medical issues that doctors are facing today with stem directly or indirectly from sleep. But sleep has been ignored in medical training and there are very few centers where sleep is studied.”
Before Reaching for That Sleeping Pill, Consider This
The human’s natural biorhythms are orchestrated by the exposure to the light and darkness. When the light bulbs weren’t usual things around the people, they used to schedule their day around the rising and setting of the sun. The humans waked up together with the sun, and fell asleep with the sun, at the end of the day.