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Do we need 8 hours of continuous sleep?

Interesting and something to consider while also reading on the dangers of sleeping pills.  The well documented normal pattern of sleep before electricity was a couple hours after dusk to sleep 4 hours, then actually get up for 1-2 hours and read, pray, visit neighbors, etc., then go back to sleep for another 4 hour.  These sleep periods were named “first sleep” and “second sleep”, with the period in between renowned for being a time to be creative and pensive.

With the advent of streetlights more people would spend their time outside during the dark hours rather than “wasting” time sleeping.  This gradually changed our sleep patterns our current 8 hour sleep period.  While most of us have adapted to the 8 hour sleep period some insomnia disorders can possibly be linked to not having that period of wakefulness at night.  Additionally waking up in the middle of the night and being unable to go back to sleep right away can cause anxiety and further perpetuate their insomnia.

Source: BBC News


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