A lot of people don’t really pay that much attention as to how important it is to get enough sleep. In fact, it is extremely important to revitalize the body and rejuvenate the mind. However, what does this mean? How does it look like? A lot of people have problems staying asleep during the night and they might ask themselves if they have insomnia, a sleeping disorder or something graver.
What you need to know is that sleeping does not always have to be an all-night matter. In fact, historical records show that we need to look at sleep differently.
If you have problems with waking up during the night, you might have sleep apnea or insomnia. This term- segmented sleep presents an irregular sleep pattern which might be nothing but a biological response.
Roger Ekirch, an English scholar, discovered that our ancestors practiced segmented sleep. What this means is that they got up in the middle of the night to meditate, pray or do some chores. There were some references to first sleep and second sleep in a lot of documents from before the Industrial Revolution.
These hours were spent in prayer most of the time. This is because this time in between was around midnight when the brain was producing the relaxing hormone- prolactin.
In fact, a lot of sleeping problems might have roots in the body’s natural preference for segmented sleep.
According to Ekrich, a lot of sleeping problems nowadays stem from the body’s natural preference for segmented sleep. He also believes that the historical sleeping patterns may be the reason for a lot of people suffering from insomnia.
‘For most of evolution, we slept a certain way. Waking up during the night is part of normal human physiology. The idea that we must sleep in a consolidated block could be damaging, he says, if it makes people who wake up at night anxious, as this anxiety can itself prohibit sleep and is likely to seep into waking life too.’ – Psychologist Greg Jacobs.
According to Russell Foster, a professor of circadian neuroscience at Oxford:
‘Many people wake up at night and panic. I tell them that what they are experiencing is a throwback to the bi-modal sleep pattern. But the majority of doctors still fail to acknowledge that a consolidated eight-hour sleep may be unnatural. Over 30% of the medical problems that doctors are faced with stem directly or indirectly from sleep. But sleep has been ignored in medical training and there are very few centers where sleep is studied.’
We will conclude this article by telling you something interesting. You need to know that the natural biorhythms are controlled by exposure to light and darkness. So, before we had light, people used to schedule their day according to the sunrise and sunset. So, when the sun was up, people were as well, when it was down, they went to sleep. They did not turn to any types of pills! This will surely make you think!
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