So it’s 10.00pm. You’ve done the washing, the dishes, the kid’s lunches and it’s time for bed. You’ve had a long day at work, followed by an evening of taking care of your family, and you expect to sleep right up until one of the kids come running in, in the morning. However, for some unknown reason, (despite being as exhausted as anything) you wake up at 2.00am unable to fall back to sleep for a long time. According to research, this certain phenomena may actually be linked to a biological instinct that has stemmed from the sleeping pattern our ancestors.
This particular sleeping pattern, which goes back as far as the 1600’s, indicates that our ancestors likely slept in two segments over a 12 hour period of time. They slept for 3-4 hours, woke for an hour or 2 (to read, pray, visit neighbours etc.) and then went back to sleep for the remaining 4 hours. As we know, the practice died out, and it is a common acceptance that an 8-hour block sleep is what we need. It is likely the introduction to more light at night (electricity and street lights) disrupted this sleeping habit, as well as basically half the day being eventually regarded as a “waste of time” to be resting.
So this brings the question, should we bring back this bi-modal sleeping pattern? Although this pattern of sleeping is natural, is it necessarily better?
Because so much of this time is spent resting and relaxing, at this angle, an 8-hour block of sleep should be just as effective as long as you give yourself enough time to wind down at the end of the day. So perhaps the next time you wake up in the middle of the night, don’t be too alarmed at you that you’re developing bad sleeping habits, you’re probably just sleeping the way your great great great great great grandparents did!
If you want to know more about how your sleeping patterns are affecting you then call Chelsea on (09) 909 6560.
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