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Interrupted Sleep Might Be the Best Kind

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the helps-me-remember-my-dreams-too dept.

Medicine 277

Hugh Pickens writes "BBC reports that a growing body of evidence from both science and history suggests that eight-hours of uninterrupted sleep may be unnatural as a wealth of historical evidence reveals that humans used to sleep in two distinct chunks called first and second sleep. A book by historian Roger Ekirch, At Day's Close: Night in Times Past, unearths more than 500 references to a segmented sleeping pattern — in diaries, court records, medical books and literature, from Homer's Odyssey to an anthropological account of modern tribes in Nigeria. 'It's not just the number of references — it is the way they refer to it, as if it was common knowledge,' says Ekirch. References to the first and second sleep started to disappear during the late 17th Century with improvements in street lighting, domestic lighting and a surge in coffee houses — which were sometimes open all night. Today most people seem to have adapted quite well to the eight-hour sleep, but Ekirch believes many sleeping problems may have roots in the human body's natural preference for segmented sleep which could be the root of a condition called sleep maintenance insomnia, where people wake during the night and have trouble getting back to sleep. 'Our pattern of consolidated sleep has been a relatively recent development, another product of the industrial age, while segmented sleep was long the natural form of our slumber, having a provenance as old as humankind,' says Ekrich, adding that we may 'choose to emulate our ancestors, for whom the dead of night, rather than being a source of dread, often afforded a welcome refuge from the regimen of daily life.'"

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277 comments

Still do (5, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137053)

I still sleep in two chunks, only I call the second one "work"

Re:Still do (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137141)

I still sleep in two chunks, only I call the second one "work"

I've met people who do it in three, the third one is driving.

That's why.... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137061)

...I have two sleep phases. One at night at home, and one during the day at my desk at work.

I Believe It (5, Informative)

mx+b (2078162) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137069)

I sometimes have insomnia in the middle of the night, after awaking from a few hours' rest. At first I was angry that I needed to get up soon and couldn't sleep, but then I started taking it in stride. If I cannot feel sleepy within 15 minutes or so of laying back down, I get up and read or work on a project or something for an hour or two until the sleepiness comes back, or simply nap after work the next day. Since doing that I feel more relaxed and natural. I am not sure if its biological or simply a state of mind, but I often find it is better not to force sleep if I am not ready for it, it just frustrates me and wastes time. Unfortunately, the way society is set up does not make it easy to run counter to that schedule of course, but I try.

Re:I Believe It (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137317)

I've always been envious of those who only require a few hours of sleep a night. Think how much longer their productive lives are. As such, if I have a bout of insomnia, I get out of bed and go do something until I get tired. I can lie in bed, staring at the ceiling, and contemplating my troubles, when I'm dead.

Re:I Believe It (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137513)

I've certainly been motivated to change things... and you raise a remarkable point. This will, hopefully, discourage me from sitting in bed and trying to work myself to exhaustion in one bock.

Re:I Believe It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137861)

I wonder if people who sleep less die younger, i.e. the amount of time we spend awake is roughly the same (barring other causes of death)

Re:I Believe It (2)

gnick (1211984) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137349)

I'm the same way. TFA refers to it as "sleep maintenance insomnia". Doesn't really help giving it a name except to know that it may be more common than you may have thought.

Re:I Believe It (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137413)

You post a completely personal anecdote that is modded +4 informative. AC posts a joke above that is modded -1. Same joke gets posted by a logged on user and he gets modded +5 Funny.

You dumb fucks are not supposed to keep modding shit up just because it's been modded up by 30 other slashtards. If you are modding a story, then you are supposed to be browsing at -1 and up-modding comments that have not been moderated and not focusing on down-modding comments. This is spelled out in the FAQ.

Slashdot = stagnant turd hangout of teenage dweebs.

Re:I Believe It (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137483)

If you think that the moderations points actually are important then perhaps you belong on facebook rather than slashdot.

Re:I Believe It (5, Funny)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137963)

Curunir_wolf likes this

Re:I Believe It (5, Informative)

anonymousNR (1254032) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137551)

Cannot say if this works for everyone, when I get up in the middle of the night and cant sleep, I use the trick I stole from the lucid dreamers, stare at a point constantly, preferably (for me that is) a low lit corner of the room and before I know it I fell a sleep.

Re:I Believe It (4, Interesting)

cob666 (656740) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137697)

Cannot say if this works for everyone, when I get up in the middle of the night and cant sleep, I use the trick I stole from the lucid dreamers, stare at a point constantly, preferably (for me that is) a low lit corner of the room and before I know it I fell a sleep.

This is also one of the quickest ways of learning self hypnosis.

Re:I Believe It (2)

Apothem (1921856) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137935)

Both of which can bring you to a state where you could probably have all sorts of fun if you maintain your consciousness well enough.

Re:I Believe It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137559)

Who would have thought that sleeping when you are tired and staying awake when you are not is good for you. Notice the sarcastic lack of question mark at the end of that sentence.

Re:I Believe It (4, Informative)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39138017)

I don't even try to get back to sleep any more. I just accept the fact that 3-4 hours at a stretch is all I'm comfortable sleeping. So I get up at 1-2 AM most nights and work until around 7, then sleep another 3-4 hours until 11-12. I get in my eight hours total, I feel fully rested, and I find those wee morning hour coding sessions are incredibly productive for some reason. (It's not like it's due to the peace and quiet -- I don't have family and neighbours making much noise during most days in the first place.)

A "full night's sleep" in the sense of an 8-9 hour stretch in bed is extremely rare for me nowadays.

It still freaks my Mom out when I call her and say something like "I was working on blah-blah at about 6 this morning..." because she KNOWS I'm not a "morning person" and never have been. But while I'm not exactly "chipper" without a couple cups of coffee when I get up, I find that with a split sleep shift, I'm at least not an outright grouch when I get up.

Re:I Believe It (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39138063)

I remember a study in Spain from long ago (20 years) that tested for this and found that two 3 hours naps every 12 hours worked out to be the best. Somehow the study was looking at the siesta tradition and came across this.

Good luck getting your boss to give you a 3 hour lunch.

Imagine sleeping from Midnight to 3 am, getting dressed and doing stuff till noon. Then sleep to 3 pm, getting up doing more stuff till midnight.

interrupted sleep (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137091)

As one who had his sleep interrupted during 40 years of medical practice, and now can sleep through the night, a full night of uninterrupted sleep feels wonderful- far better than interrupted sleep.

Re:interrupted sleep (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137415)

Don't you think it might depend on whether the interruption is caused by outside forces or not? I doubt too many of our ancestors had beepers (or whatever you use now).

Re:interrupted sleep (5, Insightful)

zmooc (33175) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137475)

And that, Mr. A.C., is the difference between waking up and being woken up.

Re:interrupted sleep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137491)

So is it or is it not a good thing that I get up to pee three times a night?

just what i need (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137095)

for you to wake me the heck up for this....
goes back to bed....

Napping (5, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137097)

Call it a self discovery, but I found napping after I get home from work for two hours is life changing. It clear sthe mind from stress and when you wake up, you feel like the work day happened just 12 hours ago. Feeling mentally and physically detached from the office has been extremely beneficial to me. But then again, I suppose it's because I do work about 50 to 55 hours a week.

Re:Napping (5, Insightful)

chispito (1870390) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137171)

Perhaps this goes without saying, but... no kids?

Re:Napping (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137423)

I can't nap. I feel groggy and heavy afterward, much worse than I do when I wake up in the morning. I don't like that feeling at all, so when I'm tired enough to drift off in the afternoon or evening at home I try my best to resist.

Re:Napping (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137525)

I have the same problem. I have found that if I'm so bad I don't feel i can stay awake I set my phone timer for 15 mins and let me dose off for just that short time. The grogginess is very short and often I feel much better afterwards. Any longer and it puts me in pretty bad shape. Irritable and sleepier than if I had just stayed awake.

Re:Napping (3, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137569)

Try napping for shorter periods of time - 20 to 30 minutes in order to not drop into deeper REM sleep. Works for some people. It's the 'power nap' idea. YMMV, of course.

I think one aspect that many of these studies overlook is that there is absolutely no teleologic / social / evolutionary reason for the population to have the same requirements in many aspects of our lives, sleeping being one. Some people really do well with prolonged, constant sleep. Others can get by on much less. I've been jealous of the latter for many years because if I don't get enough sleep, I really pay for it for days.

But I can do pretty well with short naps for a couple of days, then things catch up. It also depends on what you're doing. It's OK to be a bit tired when you are washing your car or taking a walk. Running the chain saw, not so much.

Re:Napping (1)

LanMan04 (790429) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137733)

Perhaps this goes without saying, but... no kids?

Yeah, no shit. I think it'll be able to nap after work in about 15 years or so...

Right Tune...wrong lyrics... (4, Interesting)

xTantrum (919048) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137277)

I think Ekirch's research is obviously correct but his conclusions might be a little off. it's well known already people tend to lose productivity during the afternoon in the modern day workplace. This is why the Europeans have their siesta [wikipedia.org] . Prior to the industrial era and the advent of lighting yes, we may have had our circadian clocks synced to this pattern prof. Ekirch talks about. However, it is Post-Industrial now, many countries around the world have constant non natural light and many individuals work around the clock and have varying shifts. As a result, the need for sleep - or "power naps" - hasn't changed, our clocks have just synced to a different schedule. Where you are in the world and the personal schedule you have will determine the optional time for that cat nap needed to recharge.
Again, it's not that we don't need to "sleep" twice in a day, more than likely we do. there is evidence [go.com] that points to its benefits, however as we are finding out with medicine today, it would be and should be tailored to the individual and their schedule.

Re:Right Tune...wrong lyrics... (5, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137369)

IF you want to torture people make them work the "swing shift" 1st shift for 1 week, 2nd Shift for the next week, and 3rd shift the third week, rotate back to 1st.

Within 2 months you will become highly cranky, want to kill everyone and you enjoy a constant mental fog of never feeling awake.

Re:Napping (0)

Pr0n K1ng (160688) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137341)

I think this is what you meant to type:

"Call it a self discovery, but I found fapping after I get home from work for two hours is life changing. It clear sthe mind from stress and when you finish, you feel like the work day happened just 12 hours ago. Feeling mentally and physically detached from the office has been extremely beneficial to me. But then again, I suppose it's because I do work about 50 to 55 hours a week."

Re:Napping (5, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137343)

That is called a Siesta, and civilized cultures have been doing it for thousands of years. and early afternoon nap typically after lunch or a couple hours after lunch works wonders.

My body actually get's "sleepy" around 3:00-4:00pm every day and it's common with others as well. your body WANTS a nap.

Re:Napping (4, Insightful)

bored (40072) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137373)

That was me before I got married/kids. It was fantastic..

I would get up and have another 4-6 hours of _VERY_ productive time. I would go running, go to the gym, write code, go to the local bar and hit on women, remodel the house, etc. This was when I was the most effective.

Now I just walk around like a zombie all day, until I hit the bed. Nothing really gets done unless I drink massive quantities of caffeine.

Re:Napping (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137605)

Have you looked in a mirror recently? Any funny markings around your face?

Are you hard to kill?

Just a thought. Maybe you're more correct than you think you are.

This is very interesting (2)

robinsonne (952701) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137117)

I find this very interesting... for as long as I can remember I wake up in the middle of the night, usually around 2-3 am and lay awake for a while before going back to sleep (with differing amounts of success). Maybe now there's an actual reason or explanation why?

Re:This is very interesting (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137383)

I mentioned above, TFA refers to it as "sleep maintenance insomnia". I ran into this article yesterday at work and was interested that maybe I'm not as weird as I thought. To make it through the night, my doc gave me a mild sleep-aid that helps some.

move along humanoids... (2, Interesting)

StinyDanish (1196711) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137119)

nothing to see here. This article is nothing new. YES our bodies have evolved with natural processes tuned to respond to our natural surroundings. This was "common" knowledge to homo sapiens but sometime around the industrial revolution, we evolved into humanoid machine meta sapiens. Now, we spend more time indoors under artificial lighting and in manufactured vehicles than we do in natural surroundings. We read books and news articles to learn what to do with our bodies and learn how they work. We also forgot how to relate to other bodies and now need a presence online to communicate because we can not physically express ourselves. SO...move along this is just another science article. Now go back to "sleep".

The Uberman (3, Interesting)

DamageLabs (980310) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137121)

Always wanted to try the Uberman http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2002/4/15/103358/720 [kuro5hin.org]

Unfortunately, other people that I have to work with did not approve.

Re:The Uberman (5, Informative)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137227)

In Germany they did a documentary on the Uberman and they mocked it. They thought crazy idea. So the "victim" gave his fullest and something strange happened.

1) Getting used to the schedule was hard.
2) Once used to the schedule it actually worked very well. The doctors who inspected him thought the experiment would fail, were also surprised. They did reaction tests, brain scans, and a battery of other tests such as blood pressure. He passed with amazing colours.

After the test was done the volunteer said he would go back to the original sleeping habits. Not because he did not like it, but because it is out of tune with the rest of society. For the the uberman to work he had to take naps and at the wrong time it was a bit wierd. And then with all of the free time he had he did not know what to do. He ran out of things to do.

So end conclusion yeah it works, but it is a major lifestyle change.

Re:The Uberman (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137917)

Ran out of things to do? What the fuck! Days could be 90 hours long, and I'd still never feel like I had enough time. How could anyone ever run out of things to do?

Re:The Uberman (2)

virgnarus (1949790) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137273)

Always wanted to try the Uberman http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2002/4/15/103358/720 [kuro5hin.org]

Unfortunately, other people that I have to work with did not approve.

I've tried as well. The highly fragmented sleep posed a serious detriment to my ability to function, and also the scheduling would be very conflicting with much of my daily activities. Even for moments of my life when I had next to nothing to do it would still cause issues.

The best way to perform it is with larger fragments of sleep, with 2 I've found (as well as discovered in research) as being the most expedient. This article here is especially intriguing to me, because it correlates with my previous research and personal experience on it. Two 3-hour sessions of sleep (I've found before and after work) are very refreshing, and even if my schedule does not allow 3 hours during that day, I can adjust to have a larger period at night and a shorter power nap during the day after work and it offers just as much. Given that from what I've learned from sleep psychology that the body performs a full sleep cycle in around 3 1/2 hours only to repeat it again during a standard period of 7-8 hours of sleep, I can see why this would be the more natural approach.

Is because tiny bladder (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137123)

And too much soup, beer, whatever, before go sleep.

Over-efficient kidneys, too.

My Sleep Dr is just wrong. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137143)

My Sleep Dr always says to try and get 7 hours but I can only get between 4-6. Some of it is just LIFE. Good example is when I first laid down, I still wasn't really tired. I just wrapped my blanket a bit tighter and listened to a podcast and conked out about 20 minutes later. The bad part is this was at 2 am. I woke up and after I snagged a cup of coffee I feel pretty good.

Sleep Apnea and other sleep disorders is one thing I wish I didn't have. I am convinced we don't know near enough about sleep.

I call bullshit (3, Insightful)

S77IM (1371931) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137147)

As a parent of two small children, I've been forced to do "segmented sleep" for extended periods (our babies were not good eaters so we had to wake them up in the middle of the night for a feeding). It sucks, and I'm positive that I'm not the only parent to have experienced this.

Just going to sleep in the evening and waking up in the morning feels a lot better and more natural to me.

  -- 77IM

Re:I call bullshit (-1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137235)

As a parent of two small children, I've been forced to do "segmented sleep" for extended periods (our babies were not good eaters so we had to wake them up in the middle of the night for a feeding). It sucks, and I'm positive that I'm not the only parent to have experienced this.

Just going to sleep in the evening and waking up in the morning feels a lot better and more natural to me.

  -- 77IM

You wake your kids up to feed them? Seriously? Whatever ever happened to feeding the kid when it wakes up hungry and demands it? I'm no expert, but waking the kid up to feed it sounds like a bad pattern to get into for the kid.

Do you only feed your kid once a day or something? I just can't imagine why you'd feed your kid at a certain time, instead of when it's hungry. Of course, i'm talking about kids that can't get up and feed themselves, like 4ish and under.

Re:I call bullshit (3, Informative)

halfEvilTech (1171369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137449)

This is actually not uncommon, especially with younger infants. If they have issue breastfeeding and you have to use formula; the first few weeks you typically have to feed them every 3-4 hours since they taking in smaller amounts more frequently. As they begin to put on a small amount of weight their appetite increases so they can eat more in one feeding but need fewer feedings. But yes that first 1-2 months can be like this. It was for both of my boys.

Re:I call bullshit (5, Informative)

gnick (1211984) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137461)

You wake your kids up to feed them? Seriously? Whatever ever happened to feeding the kid when it wakes up hungry and demands it? I'm no expert, but waking the kid up to feed it sounds like a bad pattern to get into for the kid.

You're right. You're not an expert. For newborns, making sure they stay nourished is extremely important especially in the first month or so. So if you have a fussy eater or the mom has trouble nursing and wants to be sure the child is getting her milk (better in many ways than any formula out there - especially early on), then yes you might have to wake the baby up every couple of hours.

Re:I call bullshit (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137667)

Not better in many ways... Better in EVERY way

Re:I call bullshit (3, Insightful)

batquux (323697) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137261)

Your situation might be different, but I figured out you just let them sleep. They'll come around on the eating. It's easy to get caught up in the science and numbers and forget they're critters, not machines.

Re:I call bullshit (2)

Literaphile (927079) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137791)

Your situation might be different, but I figured out you just let them sleep. They'll come around on the eating. It's easy to get caught up in the science and numbers and forget they're critters, not machines.

This is true in my experience for older children, but, for the first month or two of life, you really do need to make sure they're getting milk every 3-4 hours. But now that our kids are 5 and 2, if they don't eat, it's their choice (especially the five year-old).

Re:I call bullshit (1)

lazycam (1007621) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137293)

I totally agree. And there are other things to consider as well. My doctor regularly lectures me on the relationship between sleep, blood pressure [sciencedaily.com] , and obesity [webmd.com] .

Re:I call bullshit (5, Insightful)

LordArgon (1683588) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137309)

I've been forced to do "segmented sleep"

If it's forced, then you're not actually doing it... The story is about waking naturally between sleeps, not waking yourself up on a schedule. It also seems based on going to bed shortly after dusk which, at least for me, is hours before I've trained myself to go to bed.

Re:I call bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137331)

You're external stressor, the children, are a constant, so for you there really is no sleep schedule that will be relieving during this time. Or, till they're out of the house.

Best wishes!

Re:I call bullshit (1)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137459)

Taking care of young children really was the most stressful thing I ever went through. I would be cautious about making inferences about sleep patterns or anything else based on that wonderful-yet-frequently-hellish period of my life :)

PS: It got better.

Re:I call bullshit (1)

swb (14022) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137477)

I was never more miserable than when our son needed to be fed in the middle of the night (it was demand feeding, not scheduled). Very tired in the morning and low energy during the day.

I still feel that way if I have to get up in the middle of the night. I'm only 44 but I can't even tolerate staying up past midnight anymore -- I still wake at my usual time but feel awful from lack of sleep.

That being said, the problem with "Segmented Sleep" is making it work with the normal chronological rhythms of modern life. Paleos didn't have kids in school, jobs or other morning commitments besides deciding if they wanted to eat off the carcass from the day before or whether they should go out and hunt that afternoon.

I probably could wake at 2:30 AM and work for a couple of hours and then sleep again, but I need to get my son to school by 7:50 AM, and my boss kind of wants me working by 8:30, so I can't really go back to bed at 4 AM and sleep until 8 AM and start my day at 10.

Re:I call bullshit (2)

Vary Krishna (885632) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137505)

This worked for pre-industrial people because they tended to go to sleep earlier. As people started staying up later, they also tended to start sleeping through the night. And these people didn't set an alarm as a parent with a 3am feeding scheduled would, but woke naturally after a full sleep cycle. If you are awakened, rather than waking on your own, especially mid-cycle, you're going to feel worse.

The NYT article is better than the BBC one, imo. I think the idea here is (or should be) that not everyone is equally well adapted to the new sleep pattern, and that understanding the way we used to sleep may help understand some forms of insomnia. It certainly doesn't necessarily mean that we'd all be better off going back to the old pattern. Not that we could, anyway, without turning off the electricity at sundown - most of this is caused by increased light exposure. Without the pre-industrial light exposure you would still have your post-industrial hormone levels which are supposed to be making you want to sleep through the night. Your body is waking up ready to go, rather than giving you a nice dose of Prolactin to keep you relaxed, happy, and a little horny. :-p

Pre-industrial? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137153)

There's countless millions of pre-industrial people alive today. Do they commonly exhibit this behavior? You don't need to dig through medieval diaries when there are humans alive now who exist at varied levels of social and technological development. I'm more interested how agrarian and hunter-gatherer societies treat sleep today than urban Europeans a few hundred years ago. Urban Europeans have always engaged in bizarre activities.

Re:Pre-industrial? (2)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137843)

There's countless millions of pre-industrial people alive today. Do they commonly exhibit this behavior?

That's an interesting question, but we may be unable to answer it. Even in supposedly pre-industrial segments of the world population, artificial light at night is more common than it was back in the 17th century. So it might be difficult, if not impossible, to find a truly pre-industrial population to study.

Also, from TFA:

"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."

Re:Pre-industrial? (1)

LQ (188043) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137977)

There's countless millions of pre-industrial people alive today. Do they commonly exhibit this behavior? You don't need to dig through medieval diaries when there are humans alive now who exist at varied levels of social and technological development. I'm more interested how agrarian and hunter-gatherer societies treat sleep today than urban Europeans a few hundred years ago. Urban Europeans have always engaged in bizarre activities.

The account I read http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16964783 [bbc.co.uk] mentioned an anthropological account of modern tribes in Nigeria.

Impractical in today's society (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137157)

Unfortunately, whether sleeping in two bits is beneficial is a moot point, since in today's society it is not a practical proposal. Most people simply don't have the time to make the night last longer than the eight hours that we have. Telling people to take a break in the middle will just cause them to sleep less, and we aren't doing too well on that subject as is.
I think it's a symptom of overpopulation. Because there are a lot of us, we need to work harder to eke out a living on this planet, and we have to make sacrifices for that. Some people can afford to work part-time, and I envy them, but most of us simply can't.

No way (0)

Barabul (1853988) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137163)

I call bullshit. I've got a new puppy waking me up every night around 2 AM, then again around 6-7 AM, for almost 2 months, and I've never been so tired before. Ever.

Re:No way (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137311)

Same here. I was utterly miserable for 3 months being woken by a puppy in the night. I never resented my girlfriend so much as when she convinced me a puppy was a good idea. Now the dog is older and fixed and sleeps throughout the night, which makes it high energy by the time we get home, which is its own sorry source of stress before bedtime. I am seriously reconsidering my interest to have kids later in life.

Re:No way (1)

berashith (222128) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137381)

my guess is that you arent going to sleep at dusk. I have to force myself to stay up until after 10pm to make sure that I dont wake after just a few hours. My natural schedule is to wake around 1 if I go to sleep near 9, and then stay awake several hours, sleeping from 4-5 am until around 8. This does not work with a wife/kids/job etc, so I no longer follow this. It used to drive people crazy that I could get so much done while they were asleep.

Re:No way (3, Insightful)

mmelson (441923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137389)

I've got a new puppy waking me up...

The difference is that you're being woken up forcefully, and not waking up naturally. If you wake up during the wrong part of sleep, you often feel worse off than you were when you went to bed.

Re:No way (1)

Barabul (1853988) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137923)

I think you are right. This might make a big difference.

Re:No way (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137427)

I call BS also. I've had patterns of broken sleep due to children and picking my girlfriend up from third shift and both had a significant negative effect on my energy levels and focus. Recovery 2-3 months of continuous uninterrupted sleep before I had normal energy levels throughout the day. What was the purpose of this study?

Re:No way (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137457)

Really? You're getting 8-10 total hours of sleep a night and have never felt so tired in your entire life?

Re:No way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137469)

Bummer. I had a puppy that slept pretty well. No water a couple of hours before and a potty walk right before bed. He slept in a crate next to my bed too, so he had a cozy ltitle den and could see/hear me all night. Good luck.

Re:No way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137487)

If your 8 hours of sleep gets interrupted, you're screwed. But if you have 10 to 12 hours to begin with losing some to interruption is not a big deal.

Re:No way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137501)

I had two dogs from puppyhood, so I know what that's like. Then I had a baby... Wow that's a lot harder. Then a second baby... I feel no pity for anyone else anymore. Having two children is the hardest thing in the world by leaps and bounds. It makes a job look like playtime. It makes puppies seem easy. Through all that, I can definitely tell you: I like a full nights sleep the best :)

Re:No way (1)

sirdude (578412) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137523)

yikes! That must be a real bitch.

(sorry)

Re:No way (1)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137689)

Yeah, you're not going to get much sympathy from any new parents around here.

Siesta (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137165)

Plenty of the Latin countries still adhere to a segmented sleep pattern.

In my personal case, the period between 1 and 4 pm is useless for getting anything creative accomplished and my emotional state and creativity peaks in the hours beginning at dusk and for many hours after.

The pattern of siesta and staying up late for dinner, etc. seems to fit this pattern quite nicely.

Finally, some vindication (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137177)

And my wife keeps asking why I insist on waking every 10 minutes to search the house...and also sleep propped up in a chair with a loaded gun beside me.

See, honey, THIS IS WHY!

Does this mean I get first and second breakfast to (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137189)

Does this mean I get first and second breakfast too? Those hobbits were on to something!!

Other primates? (4, Interesting)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137191)

I wonder, does anybody know how other primates handle sleep? If it's ingrained as they say, one would think our ancestors would also display the same tendencies.

Re:Other primates? (1)

Lee_Dailey (622542) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137601)

howdy TheCRAIGGERS (909877),

um, er, you _do_ know that the current set of primates are not our ancestors? they share some ancestors with us if you go far enuf back, but _none_ of the current available set are our ancestors. [*grin*]

take care,
lee

Re:Other primates? (1)

cornjones (33009) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137887)

what does that have to do w/ his question? Seeing how the current batch of primates sleeps in the wild could be relevant. ie a family member that didn't industrialize. i don't know the answer but i would be interested.

Re:Other primates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137613)

Existing primates are not our ancestors.

sleep apnea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137209)

One of the underlying issues that most overlook is sleep apnea. There are a few types of sleep apnea but most experience it from being overweight or smoking. Those affected by sleep apnea will wake up often and have interrupted sleep. Most will never get a deep sleep and don't seem to even have dreams.

Re:sleep apnea (1)

BagOBones (574735) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137403)

Exactly, this theory seems to go against everything they try and tell you when you are diagnosed with apnea...

Life Expectancy (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137239)

Also, people used to have shorter lives. Perhaps due to not enough sleep.

Night is no refuge (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137241)

With all the glowing screens and communication devices we have, it's easy to fill every hour at night as full as you would during the day.

I find this hard to believe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137263)

Just look at a normal sleep EEG [medscape.com] and tell me that you're reaching consciousness naturally during these periods. You naturally sleep the whole night. I don't see where they're getting "you will wake up at least once and that's fine" from the fact that they're reading 500-year-old accounts of people who basically had trouble sleeping.

da Vinci (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137305)

I've heard claims that da Vinci believed polyphasic sleep was more restorative and that he frowned on sleeping for extended periods of time at once. Of course, I probably read this on the internet so we know it is fact and proves that all great minds slept with the regularity of a cat's sleep schedule. I don't know why they spent time researching it when they could have just read the internet.

Yea.... (1)

Tyr07 (2300912) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137327)

Except that I need to be alert and awake for my job so I have to cram as much sleep in as possible to make it through the day, and if I want any time after work to do anything I can't afford to nap.

I know government/work would love if all I did was go to work, come home, nap a bit, get up, do a bit of laundry, make dinner, go to bed, go back to work and repeat.

Unfortunately for them, I'm not a slave. So until they adjust what they want me to do to fit with napping / segmented sleep, it's too bad.

The next best kind would be (5, Funny)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137351)

Interrupted Sleep Might Be the Best Kind.

The next best kind would perhaps be the coitus one?

Re:The next best kind would be (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137433)

Interrupted Sleep Might Be the Best Kind.

The next best kind would perhaps be the coitus one?

You mean when you're fucking tired?

I can agree with this. (2)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137395)

The longer i tend to sleep past 6 hours, the worse I feel throughout the day.
Some of my best/most productive days have been on 3-4 hours of sleep.

No. (1)

ryanov (193048) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137445)

I can't agree with this. Sometimes I take a nap after work, then am up way too late, and then get about half a night's sleep. I definitely feel worse than I would if I slept uninterrupted for 9 hours, even if that might be the total of the two halves.

Apples and oranges? (2)

dnewt (2457806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137473)

I think the key thing to remember here is that this was most popular at a time when most people would go to bed around dusk due to the lack of available light. If you go to bed that early, it could well work to have segmented sleep. There's a lot of variables floating around when it comes to how to get 'a good night's sleep'. Calling bullshit just because being woken up during the night by your new puppy or baby makes you feel like crap seems a bit far fetched to me. There's so many other variables that are modified due to our modern lifestyle.

the naval author Nicholas Montsarrat did this (3, Informative)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137507)

He was noted for having maintained, by preference, the split-shift sleeping schedule which he'd become accustomed to while serving in the Navy even after the war --- this was noted in the biographical notes section of at least one printing of his unfinished book _The Master Mariner_.

Full sleep Segmented sleep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137511)

I don't know about others, but I can't get enough rest if my sleep is segmented. I find that I rest more if my sleep is wholly uninterrupted at night. I wake up more grumpy and tired than I started with if I had to wake up at any time for no valid reason - whether it's my cat scratching the wall to get me to open the curtains so he jump on the window, or getting up because my bladder has to be emptied right then. I used to have insomnia as a little kid and I think the fact that I can't fall asleep easily is rooted in that, so I value full sleep rather than having it in segments BECAUSE it is so hard for me to just get back into sleep mode. I guess it depends on each person, but how are you supposed to get a full night's worth of sleep if you keep waking up at random intervals?

Not interrupted, but segmented! (2)

hgayosso (104704) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137549)

Those that complain that they have experienced interrupted sleep (e.g. with kids, medical profession, etc.) and prefer uninterrupted sleep are missing the point.

The article talks about "segmented sleep", let's say you sleep 4 hours at night and 4 hours in the day.

In other words, you go to sleep and naturally wake up whenever your body feels like (nothing interrupted the sleep), then get active, the go to sleep again and naturally wake up again (nothing interrupted the sleep), then get active again. Rinse and repeat every day.

A car analogy (electric car):

Charge up the batteries
do errands
Charge up the batteries
do more errands

This would guarantee that all errands are done at almost full power and speed.

If instead you:
Charge the batteries
Do lots of errands

The problem is that probably the last errands will be done with less power and speed as the batteries are almost drained.

"interrupted sleep" would be like losing power so can't fully charge the batteries in the above examples.

Naps (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137565)

Or as they are commonly known in the post-industrial world: meetings.

Snooze (1)

JeanCroix (99825) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137623)

Finally, a plausible scientific theory as to why my sleep seems more restful when I hit the snooze button a few times, rather than jumping out of bed immediately at the first alarm. Not that any such theory would convince my snooze-button-averse wife...

I can't sleep between 11pm-2am (1)

dittbub (2425592) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137643)

Maybe if I just go to sleep when i'm tired, like soon after work, perhaps i'll sleep better. But i'm afraid i won't wake up and sleep a full 8 or more hours. Making the next day a really long day. But then it seems i'm the least tired between 11pm and 2am and i so i don't end up getting enough sleep. Making the next day a really REALLY long day.

Eight Hours?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137767)

Who gets eight hours of sleep?

On call from hell (2)

fatboy (6851) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137803)

I had an "on-call" week from hell before Christmas last year. Didn't get more than 3 hours of contiguous sleep that week. I caught strep throat and was sick my entire Christmas vacation (both days). No, I didn't RTFA, but I think their study must have not taken into account sleep interrupted by external stimuli. I need at least 8 hours in my bed. Asleep or otherwise :D

My lucid dreams are always after an interruption. (1)

F34nor (321515) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137895)

Anyone out there wan to help me make a DIY Android lucid dreaming mask like the Nova Dreamer?

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