Remarkable article on broken sleep!!

celticmoonApril 1, 2007

I am starting a new thread rather than post way at the end of Gibby's thread on sleep because I don't want anyone interested in sleep problems to miss this. I mentioned on the other thread that DH follows the professional literature closely. This morning he was stunned to read this. Now we are both saying wow, could that be it?

Basically this article describes that in early preindustrial times and in even some current remote cultures, two stages of sleep is normal. There is even language for it: first sleep and second sleep. The time between the two sleeps is for sex, visiting, chores, dream reflection and contemplation. (have to imagine the whole extended family in the same space. get it while you can, I guess).

Our bodies may be wired for broken sleep. Two stages.

DH is fascinated. And considering how to reframe that mid sleep awakening into a useful time. Interesting concept to "go with" the awakening rather than fight it.

Here is the link. Prepare to have your curiosity piqued.

Here is a link that might be useful: Article:

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Yes indeed , the concept is interesting; even though it might not be practical to have that active period between the 2 sleeps , it might help someone to accept that this is how they are wired and not stress out about it.

I read through the 3 pages quickly, quite an interesting find. I'll go back and read it again. ( maybe between my 2 sleeps)

    Bookmark   April 1, 2007 at 7:26PM
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I have had "broken sleep" for a year and a half with my son. I highly DON'T recommend it! It sucks. You're always tired, and you are not more productive in those inbetween times.

They also thought that bathing wasn't healthy in those days and avoided it for weeks or months.....

    Bookmark   April 1, 2007 at 8:25PM
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It sure made for a great night's sleep last night when I woke up in between 'sleep 1' and 'sleep 2' and just relaxed...
Hubby also enjoyed hearing about it and will, I thinnk, benefit as well.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 10:05AM
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Cool Sweeby. DH reported 'sleep1' was really good, but 'sleep2' was not so good. He said it was different though to be awake and not pathologizing it and just thinking and relaxing. He is in a very good mood today, happy not to have taken a pill.

We will see where this goes.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 10:09AM
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Just think of countries like Spain and Greece where the entire country takes an afternoon siesta, and the entire country has dinner at around 10 pm, then sleep, then work/school from 8-1, then lunch, then sleep, then a light dinner/kids go back to school until 5, then a leisurely evening and dinner at 10, the taverna until 12, then sleep again...

My dh is from Greece. You can't even get GAS between 2 and 4. The entire country shuts down. Everyone sleeps.

It's a much nicer lifestyle. We're doing it all wrong here. Our bodies are wired for afternoon naps.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 8:08PM
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My body has naturally done this for five years. True, it began with menopause symptoms, but it has lasted after. At that time, I left work and began getting a lot of outdoors time, much less stress and the ability to go back to bed a second time. I knew I could sleep then until I woke up so I felt relaxed about it. Just not normal. This recent research makes me feel less like a freak.

I usually get between 6 and 7 hours of sleep and am not sleepy during the day.

Having said this, I don't know how people could do this in our society, especially with jobs and children.

I did used to tease on this forum that all my posts were made between 3 and 5 am!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 8:42AM
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Celtic - I've read this thread but not the article completely yet. I printed it out for tonight's bedtime reading. The first few paragraphs sound just like me!! I've long known the sleep cycle required for the typical business day is not natural for me.....not sure what I'll be able to do about that until I retire......

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 9:49PM
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Okay - read this - it's interesting. However it doesn't help those of us who have to conform to modern day business hours...... If I didn't have to be at work in the morning I'd love to get up at 3am and do a bunch of other stuff for a couple hours.....

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 1:46PM
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This is my first time over on this side of the forum and this caught my attention. My DH has done this all his life. He gets up for 1-2 hours in the middle of the night. He reads, listens to music, watches movies, etc. I think he secretly loves this time. He gets a whole lot more accomplished than I do and I think this is why. I sleep straight through (unless I have a little one climbing over me). It is interesting that my kids often take advantage of the time DH is gone to sneak into my bed! I am going to look at the other thread about this...very interesting article.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 12:06PM
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I had broken sleep cycles for years! I'd check on the kids, pets and take a restroom break before getting back in bed. Couldn't do much around the house for fear of waking someone up. I always thought it was just the mother instinct in me, left over from 7 cumulative years of nursing babies or being pregnant. I was so happy when I finally stopped waking up for 2-3 hours per night. Lately, I've been waking up for an hour or two....I hate to think it's going to be lasting for awhile!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 6:58PM
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Well, it has been two weeks since DH found the article. "sleep 1" and "sleep 2" have now made it into our household language. DH seems more content with the idea that this may just be how he is wired. He does not seem to be as disturbed over the awakening mid sleep.

A little odd that he now is sleeping 8-1am, and then 3-5am or so, but what the heck. He would usually fall asleep in a chair by 8:30 anyway. Now he announces it is time for "sleep 1!" Beats taking pills.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 10:41PM
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That's really funny. I do the same as your husband, but I go to bed at 11; my "up" interval is from 3-5; and I go back to sleep then and get up around 8. I get some of my best work done in the middle of the night...the bills, the letters, menu-planning, the internet. Notice I didn't say housework.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 7:24PM
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This is good to know. I work graveyard shift so I usually sleep from 7-10am and from 6-10pm (not sure which is sleep 1 or sleep 2). I never wake feeling refreshed, so for the last two years my doctor has been urging me to try a sleep aid to get a full 8 hours. This is my long term schedule so I resist, thinking my body will eventually adjust, and not wanting to take sleeping pills for years on end. The next time he starts the *restorative sleep* lecture I may just refer him to this Riverhill article.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 10:06PM
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pamela, housework would be too noisy, only silent activities are

I accomplish a lot during the day; I don't want to be up during the night doing whatever I was doing all day. I do resort to sleeping aids once in a while when I start being awake at 4:30 for too many days in a row. If I go to bed at 10, that's 6.5 hours of sleep, not quite enough but I can't fall back asleep.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 8:08PM
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If patients perceived interrupted sleep as normal, he points out, they might experience less distress when they awaken at night and fall back to sleep more easily.

I read something once that said if you woke up in the middle of the night, you should NOT look at the clock. Or if you're going to bed late, you shouldn't look at the clock. The idea is that knowing how little time you have left to sleep, or even simply focusing on time itself, will make it harder for you to go back to sleep.

So i covered up my alarm clock, and I stopped looking. And I go back to sleep immediately.

My DH always looks at the clock, and then says, "there's not enough time to go back to sleep," etc. When I did that, I found I couldn't go back to sleep. But now that I don't care, I find that I *can* get to sleep, and even if the alarm goes off in an hour, at least I've had an hour of sleep, and my rhythms aren't thrown off.

So if you tend to wake up at 4:30 a.m, I challenge you to NOT look at the clock, not care, etc. Just go potty (or whatever), and get back in bed and lie there, and not worry about TIME.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 5:18PM
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I'll try that , TS, it's become too much of a habit for me.........

I am elated if I sleep in till 5:30.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 7:58PM
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Tally sue, great suggestion! DH *always* checks the clock when he awakens. As though the clock, and not his body, will determine whether to try to sleep more. I'm gonna go cover it right now!


BTW, he continues to fare better overall accepting the 'sleep 1' and 'sleep 2' concept.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 10:09AM
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