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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

“[…] an older, more natural tuning fork”

From: elephant
“[…] for much of history people slept into two separate chunks separated by a waking period, as opposed to a single span of sleep. In answer to my questions, he shared his insights on 'normal' insomnia, how technological advances have changed the way we sleep, and why in many ways we're living in a golden age of sleep.

1) How was the waking time between the two sleeps spent?

In myriad ways, from the spiritual to the profane, in addition to more mundane tasks such as rising to urinate, either in a chamber pot or, on mild evenings, outdoors. Fires needed to be tended or perhaps a tub of ale brewed. Virgil in the Aeneid wrote of women servants, after the 'first slumber,' who 'ply the distaff by the winking light, and to their daily labor add the night.' The sick were given potions and elixirs; whereas for the poor, the dead of night (midnight to three a.m.) was a prime time for poaching and petty theft so long as the moon, or 'tattler,' was not full. Orchards were pilfered and firewood filched. Still, most persons never left their beds, preferring instead to ponder dreams from which they awakened. No other period afforded such a secluded interval of darkness in which to absorb fresh visions of solace, spirituality, and self-revelation.”
— Roger Ekirch, in conversation with Arianna Huffington, Huffington Post
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