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Historical Sleep Patterns

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Ludmilla
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Historical Sleep Patterns

Post by Ludmilla » Wed September 4th, 2013, 6:59 pm

Saw this article on two-sleep patterns and thought it was really interesting. A few examples are mentioned in the article, but can you think of historicals where characters follow this sleep pattern? I suppose rather than relaxing (or procreating) between two sleeps, some of our characters are raiding and whatnot (LOL).

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LCW
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Post by LCW » Wed September 4th, 2013, 7:05 pm

Interesting! My first impression is that it seems highly unnatural but when you think about it how many animals have the luxury of a long uninterrupted sleep every single night? Still, I like my sleep and nobody, including my bf, better wake me up in the middle of the night!! For anything! :p
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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Wed September 4th, 2013, 7:48 pm

I think the person writing this had no idea of the economics and daily life of the majority of people in times past, most of whom were poor.

When you work like a dog all day, and lighting of any kind means that there is that much less money or energy to acquire food, you don't sit around in the middle on the night yakking. I can affirm that when I'm on the trail, after a hard day's hiking, I can sleep like a log for 8 hours on the most uncomfortable surfaces.

The only place that the 'two sleeps' idea comes to the fore is in hot places, and then it wasn't two sleeps in the night, it was a siesta during the hottest hours of the day, so that more work could be done at night.

I write Spain, and my characters always work around siesta. Although there is some evidence that in winter, siesta was sometimes skipped in favor of more night snoozing for poor folk.

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Ludmilla
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Post by Ludmilla » Wed September 4th, 2013, 8:23 pm

[quote=""MLE""]I think the person writing this had no idea of the economics and daily life of the majority of people in times past, most of whom were poor.

[/quote]

Yeah, I wondered whether historical documents really backup the researcher's claims that biphasic sleep was more the cultural norm in times past than monophasic. Some of the scenarios do make sense in individual cases, but I'm curious as to whether the evidence is there to support the researcher's claims of it as a wider practice (given how researchers sometimes overreach when trying to promote their pet theories).

Still... it's interesting to think about.

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Mythica
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Post by Mythica » Thu September 5th, 2013, 11:17 am

Well, I have always wondered about how people dealt with the short days of winter. I've heard that poorer people who could only afford so many candles or so much oil for lamps or so much firewood often went to bed when the sun went down and got up when the sun came up. But when it's pitch black by 4pm in some places and the sun doesn't start coming up until about 8am... did they really sleep for about 15-16 hours?

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Post by DianeL » Sun September 8th, 2013, 6:51 pm

The thing that struck me when I found that article was that the examples of mid-cycle activity were so locked down in time, culture, and prosperity. Through most of history, literacy was NOT the norm. Through much of the world and through history again, prayer as referred to would have been alien - not all the world has consisted of 16th-century Western Christians throughout time.

I do believe modern assumptions about sleep are questionable, but the article is far to brief, poorly sourced, and neat to do more than interest me in reading further.
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