Day 13: "Sleep We Have Lost: Rhythms and Revelations"

Once again, I made the correct choice completely by accident. 

On Day 11, I chose to read and respond to a shorter article called, "Modern Life Suppresses an Ancient Body Rhythm," and it turns out that much of the information in this 1995 article, fuels this twelfth chapter in Roger Ekirch's book, At Day's Close. This chapter, above all other chapters in this section on sleep, is about segmented sleep - for the most part. 

Interestingly, while there are names for 'first sleep,' and 'second sleep,' as I may have previously mentioned, there was apparently no common name for the period of wakefulness in between. I have been struggling on a personal level with what to call this period, and the idea that it may never have had a name, gives me less of a sense of a need for one. 

There isn't much left in this chapter which describes how we now believe segmented sleep to have happened - people were in meditative states, the prayed, they had sex, they talked - but the chapter does also mention that the poor often got up to no good: "At no other time of the night was there such a secluded interval in which to commit petty crimes: filching from dockyards and other urban workplaces, or, in the countryside, pilfering firewood, poaching, and robbing orchards" (306). And no wonder, since the poor were likely destitute to the point of starvation in many cases. So much for the rich feeling sad about the perfect slumber the poor workers must have gotten. 

The chapter also notes that the wealthy began first to sleep through the night as staying up late into the evening eventually came into vogue with electric lighting. But this practice would reportedly cut down on the vividness of dreaming that people have when they sleep in segments. 

I am unsure whether or not my dreams have been more vivid than usual, and I am normally a very vivid dreamer, but I'm going to try and pay attention to this, and see what I come up with.