More than one-third of American adults wake up in the middle of the night on a regular basis. Of those who experience “nocturnal awakenings,” nearly half are unable to fall back asleep right away. Doctors frequently diagnose this condition as a sleep disorder called “middle-of-the-night insomnia,” and prescribe medication to treat it.
Mounting evidence suggests, however, that nocturnal awakenings aren’t abnormal at all; they are the natural rhythm that your body gravitates toward. According to historians and psychiatrists alike, it is the compressed, continuous eight-hour sleep routine to which everyone aspires today that is unprecedented in human history. We’ve been sleeping all wrong lately — so if you have “insomnia,” you may actually be doing things right.
The dominant pattern of sleep, arguably since time immemorial, was biphasic,” Roger Ekirch, a sleep historian at Virginia Tech University and author of “At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past” (Norton 2005), told Life’s Little Mysteries, a sister site to LiveScience. “Humans slept in two four-hour blocks, which were separated by a period of wakefulness in the middle of the night lasting an hour or more. During this time some might stay in bed, pray, think about their dreams, or talk with their spouses. Others might get up and do tasks or even visit neighbors before going back to sleep.”
References to “first sleep” or “deep sleep” and “second sleep” or “morning sleep” abound in legal depositions, literature and other archival documents from pre-Industrial European times. Gradually, though, during the 19th century, “language changed and references to segmented sleep fell away,” said Ekirch. “Now people call it insomnia.”
You can blame the shift in your sleeping habits on Thomas Edison’s lightbulb and the Industrial Revolution.
ATLANTA—After deciding to disable his Facebook account in an effort to increase productivity, Chad Allen announced in a Facebook update Thursday that he was now “off the grid.” “I’m dropping off the radar for a while,” wrote Allen, 36, who lives in a two-story house with running water, electricity, regular garbage pickup, wireless Internet access, and high-definition satellite television service. “If you need something, text me.” Allen has not been heard from since earlier this afternoon, when he confirmed via Twitter that he was “maintaining radio silence” and then checked in to his local coffee shop on Foursquare.
One of my tasks at work is managing the Facebook page for a client. Part of this responsibility is coming up with trivia questions (either found on an established trivia site or researching them on my own). Well today I posted my best question ever (if I do say so myself). It’s rather difficult to come up with trivia questions that are kind of middle of the road - not too easy, or way too hard. I actually had people commenting that they were happy they were following the page and had learned something new. Great success!
btw, if you’re interested, this was the question:
What famous Michigan resort was one of the few in the country where African Americans were allowed to vacation and purchase property before this discrimination became illegal in 1964? Hint: it’s been called “the Black Eden” and “Michigan’s Other Motown.”
The answer to today’s trivia question - What famous resort was one of the few in the country where African Americans were allowed to vacation and purchase property before this discrimination became illegal in 1964 is: Idlewild, it was an active year-round community and was visited by well-known entertainers and professionals from throughout the country. At its peak it was the most popular resort in the Midwest
“If you look at the problems in the world - famine, pestilence, war, greed - they can be traced back to one group: the gypsies. They beg and steal and drag their filthy feet around the streets of Paris, harassing me with their ridiculous language. They are much worse than the Irish.”