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The Myth of the Eight-Hour Sleep (bbc article)

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posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 10:24 PM
I found this an interesting read. Thought I'd share

We often worry about lying awake in the middle of the night - but it could be good for you. A growing body of evidence from both science and history suggests that the eight-hour sleep may be unnatural. In the early 1990s, psychiatrist Thomas Wehr conducted an experiment in which a group of people were plunged into darkness for 14 hours every day for a month. It took some time for their sleep to regulate but by the fourth week the subjects had settled into a very distinct sleeping pattern. They slept first for four hours, then woke for one or two hours before falling into a second four-hour sleep. Though sleep scientists were impressed by the study, among the general public the idea that we must sleep for eight consecutive hours persists.

"Associations with night before the 17th Century were not good," he says. The night was a place populated by people of disrepute - criminals, prostitutes and drunks. "Even the wealthy, who could afford candlelight, had better things to spend their money on. There was no prestige or social value associated with staying up all night."

That changed in the wake of the Reformation and the counter-Reformation. Protestants and Catholics became accustomed to holding secret services at night, during periods of persecution. If earlier the night had belonged to reprobates, now respectable people became accustomed to exploiting the hours of darkness. This trend migrated to the social sphere too, but only for those who could afford to live by candlelight. With the advent of street lighting, however, socialising at night began to filter down through the classes. In 1667, Paris became the first city in the world to light its streets, using wax candles in glass lamps. It was followed by Lille in the same year and Amsterdam two years later, where a much more efficient oil-powered lamp was developed. London didn't join their ranks until 1684 but by the end of the century, more than 50 of Europe's major towns and cities were lit at night. Night became fashionable and spending hours lying in bed was considered a waste of time.

That makes sense, I'm always awake between 4 and six a.m!

edit on 9-4-2013 by canucks555 because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 10:28 PM
Oh how electricity changed everything...

Funny to think how people lived and worked before something as simple as light being ready available to all, you can still get glances of that in underdeveloped areas.

posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 10:32 PM
reply to post by canucks555

I can't remember the last time I slept 8 hours straight. Even at 62 yrs old. I do much better in 4 hr chunks of sleep. That is my normal biological rate. it works well for me.


posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 10:34 PM
Thanks for sharing. I always sleep to rest my body and mind. When I exercise I can tell my body is extremely tired and I'll sleep hours on end. But it is interesting to see how bodies react to certain hours to rest.

posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 10:40 PM

"Many people wake up at night and panic,"

Who does this?

and why aren't more people waking up in the middle of the night if this is true?

That article is bunk unless the number of people who wake up in the middle of night, and the number of people who worry about it is provided. "Many" means nothing.

Today we spend less time doing those things," says Dr Jacobs. "It's not a coincidence that, in modern life, the number of people who report anxiety, stress, depression, alcoholism and drug abuse has gone up."

yeah, and that's been shown to be due to CITY LIFE. We're supposed to be in nature, not the city, that's what's caused all the problems!

Pretty #ty article if you ask me.

posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 10:51 PM
reply to post by Ghost375

I live way out in the country. I like to be awake during the night, after all the animals are bedded down, and I don't have to think about putting out hay, straw, feeding, milking.

I get a lot of work done in the middle of my nights. For the most part that's when I make my hand made soaps and other stuff for my business. I keep a tap open on ATS, check in often for news/topics I want to check out. That's pretty much my mid-week schedule.

It changes a bit when my Farmers Market season opens, I pull at least one 24hr no sleep stint a week for 7 months, then back to Winter schedule.

I think people adjust their sleep patterns to what they do with their time. The whole 8 hours thing, not doable for some, others don't need that much sleep in one period.



posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 10:55 PM
I find I function on whatever amount of sleep I am allotted. When I was a teenager and time allowed for it I would comfortably sleep for 14 hrs straight. Now I wake up periodically, get little to no sleep most nights, nap in 15 minute intervals throughout the day where I occasionally pass out. Anyone who can find time for ANY kind of regular sleep pattern is clearly not a mother of two young kids. I think our bodies can adapt easily if they don't really have a choice in the matter.
edit on 9/4/2013 by TheSparrowSings because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 11:14 PM
If I sleep more than seven hours a night, I can't think all day. I do best with six to six and a half. Always have been that way. Once in a great while I will sleep for eight or nine hours but I have to get up for about five minutes during that time and walk around or I will get a bad headache all day.

posted on Apr, 10 2013 @ 12:34 AM
It is funny. Last 14 days my sleeping pattern resemble that of the article. I wake up for 1.5 hour after 4 hours of sleeping. Then I usually lay in bed listening interviews with scientists from audio archive of Czech Radio (something like PBS). But my sleeping pattern is significantly changing during the year because I'm totally dependent on daylight - basically I fall asleep at a moment of sunset. With this 1.5 hour gap I'm drowsing at sunset and waking up at dawn now. At winter it is quite bad because I'm out of "normal" social schedule - drowsing at 4:30 p.m. waking up at 3 a.m. is killer for social life. That is one of many reasons I live in country.

posted on Apr, 10 2013 @ 07:01 AM
honestly I don't sleep much due to my work schedule, I tend to sometimes only get about 3 hours of sleep which feels like a very restful sleep sometimes. the rest of the day I end up feeling very much 'awake' but their are days that you have to have a good restful sleep just to make up for it.

posted on Apr, 10 2013 @ 12:18 PM
I find that six hours is almost too much, I will often find myself awake after 5 hours sometimes less and then I end up thinking that I need the sleep so I force myself to lay there until I drift back off.

posted on Apr, 10 2013 @ 02:15 PM
i sleep about 5 hrs, couldn't sleep a whole 8 if i wanted to

posted on Apr, 10 2013 @ 02:19 PM

Originally posted by spaceg0at
i sleep about 5 hrs, couldn't sleep a whole 8 if i wanted to

Where's the fluffy wuffy peeps chiming in on this thread. I'm waiting to hear, we don't need more sleep, because we've ascended to a higher plane.


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