It’s hard to believe, but scientists and many historians tend to believe that a modern person does not sleep at all like his ancient ancestors. Initially, nature was laid for us a completely different mode of sleep and wakefulness. With the introduction of scientific and technological progress, the man himself decided to dispose of his time. Let us consider this issue in more detail.
What does the historical information say?
The most knowledgeable expert in this field is the historian Roger Ekirkh. His research lasted for 15 years. At the same time, an impressive number of historical facts, documents and testimonies were collected and studied. Thus, the scientist came to a striking conclusion: our ancestors’ night sleep was divided into two parts with a three-hour break at approximately midnight.
In the book of Ekirkh, published in 2005, 500 references were collected to historical drawings depicting our sleeping ancestors. These historical testimonies are taken from diaries, medical records and books. And all as one source point to the habit of sleeping with a break.
Eight-hour dream is a relatively new trend
In fact, our ancestors did not know that you can sleep for 8 hours in a row every night, and this is not surprising. At a time when electricity was not yet known, the darkness prevented them from engaging in ordinary activities.
People found nothing better than going to bed with the sunset. However, sleep for half a day is unacceptable for the body. That’s why, when we went to bed about 8 pm, our ancestors woke up at midnight.
This time was considered the most productive and creative clock. For 2-3 hours of wakefulness it was possible to have time to study sex, or take time for science or writing books. With the onset of a second wave of fatigue, our ancestors again went to sleep, now before sunrise.
What will happen if you simulate the conditions of life of the past?
Already in 1990, psychiatrist Thomas Weer conducted an experiment that returns a modern person to the conditions of existence of ancient people.
14 volunteers were placed in laboratory conditions in an enclosed space where windows were completely missing. The light for the participants was given for 14 hours in a row.
The remaining 10 hours of volunteers spent in complete darkness. Over a month, participants were able to completely change the usual wakefulness regime. Already in the fourth week volunteers began to sleep at night for two meals. Each of the segments lasted 3-4 hours.
When did this habit disappear?
The historian Roger Ekirkh did not stop at studying the regime of the day of distant ancestors. He decided to reveal the reason that led us to the routine that we have now.
So, in the late 17th century in bourgeois Europe, the upper class ruled the fashion. The elite of the society loved to establish its own rules, having discerned in the fragmentation of the night sleep the remnants of the past.
The beginning of the 20th century was marked by an industrial revolution. Workers in many countries were forced to work on wear and tear. This caused people to sleep at one time, going to bed as late as possible.
Causes of the phenomenon
In the 17th century, more and more large cities with a high population density appeared everywhere in Europe. However, on the streets at night, traditionally roamed fraudsters, prostitutes and other rabble.
It is believed that law-abiding citizens preferred not to stick their nose into city blocks after dark. They did not want to see the opposite, “dirty” side of city life.
But already in 1667 the first street lighting appeared in Paris. The medieval French philistine immediately fell in love with walks in the moonlight and admiring the scenery of the night capital.
At about the same time, the industrial revolution is gaining momentum. Therefore, the foremost minds turned their eyes to the revision of the usual routine of the day in order to increase efficiency and productivity.
Now the life of the European has been divided not by days or days, but by the clock.
When a person decides to challenge nature
According to Ekirkh, this deliberate change of regime also covers most of the problems with sleep in modern man.
We decided to go against nature and allowed ourselves to sleep in one go. However, our body is initially programmed differently. Therefore, it is not surprising if you suffer from chronic insomnia or often wake up in the middle of the night.
We do not force you to redraw the usual routine and blindly copy the way of life of a medieval person.
However, there is no need to worry if you suddenly woke up in the middle of the night and can not fall asleep.
It is better to use this time with advantage, because this period can become the most fruitful even in comparison with the morning clock.
By the way, the very concept of “insomnia” originated in psychiatry in the 19th century. Previously, people did not know about this problem, but with the complete abolition of a two-phase night’s sleep, it immediately manifested itself.
Do not know what to do in the hours of night wakefulness? Besides having sex with your romantic partner, this time can be spent with benefit for the soul. Meditate, meditate, bring your thoughts in order and pray.
You can start reading a fascinating novel, devote time to creativity or work on another project. If the body is ready to accept such a regime, in the future one can start to go to bed early.