Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
BACK Colley Cibber, The Lady's Last Stake: or, The Wife's Resentment (London, 1708), 48; here  “but in the very middle of my first comfortable Nap, I was awaken'd with th' alarum of tingle, tingle, tingle” This is an example that challenges Ekirch’s assertions that “Typically, descriptions recounted how an aroused individual had "had," "taken," or "gotten" his or her "first sleep." and that  “the vast weight of surviving evidence indicates that awakening naturally was routine, not the consequence of disturbed or fitful slumber”.   Tobias George Smollett, The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom, 2 vols. (London, 1753), 1: 73; “He did not neglect the rendezvous, but, presenting himself at the appointed time, which was midnight, made the signal they had agreed upon, and was immediately admitted by Wilhelmina, who waited for hire with a lover's impatience.  Fathom was not deficient in those expressions of rapture that are current on those occasions; but, on the contrary, became so loud in the transports of self-congratulation, that his voice reached the ears of the vigilant stepmother, who wakening the jeweller from his first nap, gave him to understand that some person was certainly in close conversation with his daughter; and exhorted him to rise forthwith, and vindicate the honour of his family.” This is an example that challenges Ekirch’s assertions that “Typically, descriptions recounted how an aroused individual had "had," "taken," or "gotten" his or her "first sleep." and that  “the vast weight of surviving evidence indicates that awakening naturally was routine, not the consequence of disturbed or fitful slumber”. Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights, Ian Jack, ed. (Oxford, 1981), 97. “About the middle of the night, I was wakened from my first nap by Mrs. Linton gliding into my chamber, taking a seat on my bedside, and pulling me by the hair to rouse me.” This is an example that challenges Ekirch’s assertions that “Typically, descriptions recounted how an aroused individual had "had," "taken," or "gotten" his or her "first sleep." and that  “the vast weight of surviving evidence indicates that awakening naturally was routine, not the consequence of disturbed or fitful slumber”. Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales (Avon, Conn., 1974), 93; here There are 2 occurrences of "dead sleep" “Awaking on the rain, if he it hear. The deade sleep, for weary business” and “A nightingale upon a cedar green, Under the chamber wall where as she lay, Full loude sang against the moone sheen, Parauntre,* in his birde’s wise, a lay Of love, that made her hearte fresh and gay; Hereat hark’d she so long in good intent, Till at the last the deade sleep her hent.”  Henry Roberts, Honurs Conquest (London, 1598), 134; here “about the middest of the night, all being in their dead sleep, sodainely the princesse started out of her bedde, running about the chamber like one lumatike” Rowley, All's Lost by Lust; here Mar. Sleepes he Fydella ? Fyd. Slumbringly Madam; hee's not yet in his dead sleepe. Mar. Tis now his dying, anon comes his dead sleep. For never shall he wake, untill the world Hath Phoenix-like bin hid in his owne ashes, This is an example of where ‘dead sleep’ is a description of death and is not related to sleep Thomas Randolph, Poems with the Muses Looking-glasse . . . (Oxford, 1638); here Will not this rowse her [f]rom her dead sleepe, nor this? Shirley James, The Constant Maid (London, 1640); here All people are a bed, the verie Owles Are in their dead sleep Robert Dixon, Canidia: or, The Witches . . . (London, 1683),  (Ekirch is not clear with his reference it is actually page 16 of the 4th part here 'Twas just at Midnight, when dead sleep, Had seiz'd on Mortals very deep. These references have nothing to do with Ekirch’s conception of ‘segmented sleep’ and are merely a description of deep sleep as for example Barclay's English Dictionary 1824 Figuratively, without sense or motion ; hence a dead sleep, which imitates the want of sense and motion in a dead body, is called a dead sleep here  or Webster’s 1828 dictionary Imitating death; deep or sound; as a dead sleep here  an unequivocal example of this usage is in Psalm 76:6 of the King James Bible “At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, both the chariot and horse are cast into a dead sleep”. Ekirch states that he found fewer references to segmented sleep in early American which he suggests means “that this pattern, though present in North America, may have been less widespread than in Europe”, He hypothesises that one of the reasons for this is the differences in “day/night ratios” however this is a relatively improbable idea given that for instance day length in Concord Mass. is at its maximum never more than 01:08:58 longer than that in London . He also suggests that it was due to “the wider availability of candles and other forms of artificial illumination in the colonies” but does not offer any supporting evidence for this conjecture Ekirch quotes two American sources for the phrase “first nap” "Letter of the Drum," Pennsylvania Gazette (Philadelphia), April 23, 1730 here  “That the next Night he with his Companion went to Bed in the same Room, in which they had been so terribly frighten'd; that they had not taken their first Nap, before they heard an uncouth Noise under them; that his Companion was shortly after seized violently and forcibly by the great Toe, and in great Danger of being pulled out of the Bed;”  Although Ekirch ascribes this letter to Benjamin Franklin, he did not actually write the  "Letter of the Drum”,  but a reply to it entitled "On that Odd Letter of the Drum” which does not mention first sleep/nap here Hudson Muse to Thomas Muse, April 19, 1771, in "Original Letters," Willam and Mary Quarterly 2 (April 1894): 240 here  “Though I could not indulge myself that way, returning from Cambridge, as I expected, being much terrified in my first nap by a full broadside from the whole cabbin crew (bugs I mean), that I ever after was afraid to shut my eyes together, for as I may hope to be saved they were so numerous that the night I lay in bed I caught several galloping over my face, which seemed to be their favorite amusement & slick lusty doggs they were.” This is an example that challenges Ekirch’s assertions that “Typically, descriptions recounted how an aroused individual had "had," "taken," or "gotten" his or her "first sleep." and that  “the vast weight of surviving evidence indicates that awakening naturally was routine, not the consequence of disturbed or fitful slumber”. Washington Irving, The Beauties of Washington Irving . . . (Philadelphia, 1835), 152; Irving, A Book of the Hudson . . . (New York, 1849), 51; Irving, Bracebridge Hall, Tales of a Traveller, The Alhambra (New York, 1991), 398, 813;   Ekirch gives two examples of segmented sleep from  Washington Irving, firstly he mentions The Beauties of Washington Irving (on page 208 not page 152 as given by Ekirch) and  A Book of the Hudson. However both of these actually refer to the same story ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’  “Besides, there is no encouragement for ghosts in most of our villages, for they have scarcely had time to finish their first nap, and turn themselves in their graves, before their surviving friends have travelled away from the neighbourhood; so that when they turn out at night to walk their rounds, they have no acquaintance left to call on” The others are in Bracebridge Hall  “He had not taken above half of his first nap, when he was awakened by the clock of the chateau, in the turret over his chamber, which struck midnight”. and The Alhembra “ One night he was roused from his first sleep by a knocking at his door” Both of these are examples that challenges Ekirch’s assertions that “Typically, descriptions recounted how an aroused individual had "had," "taken," or "gotten" his or her "first sleep." and that  “the vast weight of surviving evidence indicates that awakening naturally was routine, not the consequence of disturbed or fitful slumber”. Note also  that he is only half way through his ‘first nap’ when he is awakened at midnight perhaps this is why Ekirch is somewhat vague with the idea that “individuals waking sometime after midnight before ultimately falling back to sleep” Ekirch finds “references to segmented sleep in twelve works of American fiction published during the first half of the nineteenth century”. Of the references given by Ekich all but two of them concern the sleeper(s) being woken from their first sleep thus challenging  Ekirch’s assertion that “Customary usage confirms that "first sleep" constituted a distinct period of time followed by an interval of wakefulness. Typically, descriptions recounted how an aroused individual had "had," "taken," or "gotten" his or her "first sleep. Richard Penn Smith, The Forsaken: A Tale, 2 vols. (Philadelphia, 1831), 2: here  “Music certainly has a more heavenly influence at the dead of night than at any other hour but the ‘squire did not relish being startled from his first sleep, after a debauch, to listen to it, for not one time in ten would the singing in his head accord with the pitch-note of the bagpipe.” This is an example that challenges Ekirch’s assertions that “Typically, descriptions recounted how an aroused individual had "had," "taken," or "gotten" his or her "first sleep." and that  “the vast weight of surviving evidence indicates that awakening naturally was routine, not the consequence of disturbed or fitful slumber”. James Fenimore Cooper, The Ways of the Hour (New York, 1850), 276 here “Let her go, then, and satisfy her curiosity, and pass the night with Sarah, who must be through with her first nap by this time.” Nathaniel Hawthorne, Tales and Sketches: A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys, Tanglewood Tales for Girls and Boys, Roy Harvey Pearce, ed. (New York, 1982), 293 here “We sailed away at eleven, and I was roused from my first sleep by the snortings and hissings of the vessel as she got under way” This is an example that challenges Ekirch’s assertions that “Typically, descriptions recounted how an aroused individual had "had," "taken," or "gotten" his or her "first sleep." and that  “the vast weight of surviving evidence indicates that awakening naturally was routine, not the consequence of disturbed or fitful slumber”. Missed by Ekirch is the fact that the phrase also  occurs Hawthorne’s ‘Wakefield’ in Twice–Told Tales  Boston, American Stationery Co Boston 1837 190 here “Wakefield lies down betimes, and starting from his first nap, spreads forth his arms into the wide and solitary waste of the unaccustomed bed” January 6, 1854, Hawthorne, The English Notebooks (New York, 1962), 44. This passage is a flight of fancy by Ekirch. On January 6, 1854 Nathaniel Hawthorne was working as the US Consul in Liverpool (Ekirch is mistaken that Hawthorne was “visiting London one winter” rather than working in Liverpool, 183 miles north west of London where he worked for 4 years). He writes, "At this season, how long the nights are—from the first gathering gloom of twilight, when the grate in my office begins to grow ruddier, all through dinnertime, and the putting to bed of the children, and the lengthened evening, with its books or its drowsiness,—our own getting to bed, the brief awakenings through the many dark hours, and then the creeping onward of morning. It seems an age between light and light." Hawthorne makes numerous comparisons between England and the US in all manner of areas such as the lack of beauty of the English women (p. 27-28, 88-89), the superiority of the American army (p297), food (p345), hotels (p185), religious sincerity (p198), manners (p62, 87,197), etc. etc. However no such comparison is made in this passage between “the nature of English nights and sleep from his own experience in New England” as Ekirch claims, Hawthorne is merely bemoaning the shortness of a mid-winters night. (compare this to the passage given in the entry for June 17th 1854 (p63) where after a description of and English summers day he writes “If we could only have such dry, deliciously warm evenings as we used to have in our own land”), Using 2015 figures shows that on the 6th January the day in Liverpool was 1hr 24mins shorter than that in Concord, where Hawthorne had lived a prior to moving to England. Furthermore it should be noted that on that day the day length in Concord was just 9 minutes less than that in Rome challenging the idea put forward by Ekirch that the paucity of US descriptions of first/second sleep is in some way due to a difference in daylight given the number of Italian descriptions he gives in footnote 67 p.364). BACK
© Dr. Neil Stanley 2013-2018