Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
BACK George Bourne [George Sturt], Change in the Village (New York, 1912), 13. For the persistence of segmented sleep in rural locales, Ekirch refers to George Sturt's book ‘Change in the Village’ here as a description of a rural community that “may have afforded an unmarked grave for this among so many other vestiges of traditional life by World War I”  Ekirch for some reason believes that this book is describing Struts home, which he calls “the hamlet of Farnham in Surrey”, however it is clear from the text that Strut is describing an unnamed village close to, indeed it may even be considered a suburb of, the prosperous market town of Farnham, population in the 1901 census of approx. 14,000.  Ekirch claims that the book describes how "braying" motor cars, road lamps, and "lit-up villa windows" had only recently breached the "quiet depths of darkness, however the texts actually says  “As for the daytime, the labourer can hardly look from his door without seeing up or down the valley some sign or other telling of the invasion of a new people, unsympathetic to his order. He sees, and hears too. As he sweats at his gardening, the sounds of piano-playing come to him, or of the affected excitement of a tennis- party; or the braying of a motor-car informs him that the rich who are his masters are on the road”. Therefore it is clear that the braying motor cars cause their disturbance of the rural idyll during the day. With regards to the light disturbing the night the passage states "It is borne in upon the senses in the shape of sights and sounds proclaiming across the valley that the village is an altered place, that the modern world is submerging it, that the old comfortable seclusion is gone. Even the obscurity of winter nights does not veil that truth; for where, but a few years ago, the quiet depths of darkness were but emphasized by a few glimmering cottage lights, there is now a more brilliant sparkling of lit-up villa windows, while northwards the sky has a dull glare from new road-lamps which line the ridge on its town side”   it is clear that these are descriptions of the changing character of the night and not actually a description of the causes of disturbed sleep, particularly given that there is merely a ‘dull glare’ from the road-lamps. The actual reason for his waking him from his first sleep are explicitly enumerated in the following passage. “Even in bed one could not be secure. Once or twice some wild cry in the night--a woman's scream, a man's volley of oaths-- has drawn me hurrying to my window in dread that outrage was afoot; and often the sounds of obscene singing from the road, where men were blundering homewards late from the public-houses in the town, have startled me out of my first sleep”. This disturbance is surely one that has occurred since men started drinking! Notice the phrase is “startled me out of my first sleep” 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”.  [Felix M’Donogh], The Hermit in the Country: or, Sketches of English Manners, 4 vols. (London, 1820–22), iv, 16–17; here What are his peaceful pastimes, his social joys, his domestic delights? Mrs. Manorfield is waked out of her first sleep with the clattering of horses' hoofs ; loud voices, and the cracking of whips continue until breakfast is over. Notice the phrase  “waked out of her first sleep” 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.” This passage would also suggest that “first sleep” cannot be referring to a period ending around midnight given that the disturbances  “continue until breakfast is over”. This passage offers no support for the idea of ‘segmented sleep’ Charles Ollier, ‘The Night-Shriek: a Tale for December’, Bentley’s Miscellany (Dec. 1841), 572; here Gilbert, therefore, determined to make his attempt that night as soon as the farmer should be fallen into his first sleep. This passage offers no support for the idea of ‘segmented sleep’ ‘Northern Collieries: Concluding Article’, Chambers Edinburgh Journal, 27 Aug. 1842, 250; here  About nine o'clock fiddles begin to sound very inharmoniously; attempts at solos upon the flute to die away in the birth of the first note ; meetings, for various purposes, to break up ; and boys to become considerably less pugnacious and vociferous. These are the signs of a settlement for the night ; and at ten or eleven o'clock nearly the whole collier village is quiet or snoring. Woe to the ill-starred stranger whose avocations may have detained him to this hour, or beyond it, if he attempt, ungraded and unprotected, to thread his way for the first time through the unmitigated darkness of the pitmen's colony. Ten to one but he tumbles unawares into some old railway cutting (which, indeed, happened to myself), and there he is likely to remain for all the assistance that he can obtain from the colliers, whose first sleep would scarcely suffer disturbance from anything short of an explosion of carbureted hydrogen gas. So seldom are the remote pit villages trodden by the feet of strangers, that cuttings and embanments of abandoned railways are sometimes permitted to remain unfenced in the very centre of streets, in perfect consistency with the safety of the inhabitant s, but to the imminent risk of the limbs of visitants, who have to grope their way at night, for the first time, through the unlighted neighbourhood. This is hardly a description of a ‘rural’ locale. This passage offers is no support for the idea of ‘segmented sleep’ ‘News-Worms’, Evening Mail (London), 9 Mar. 1849; A Wesleyan Minister, Sorrow on the Land: Containing an Account of the Inundation Occasioned by the Bursting of the Bilberry Reservoir, February 5th, 1852, whereby Eighty Lives and a Large Amount of Property Were Destroyed (London, 1852), 26; here At eleven, Mr. Roebuck said, " You will see such a sight before one, or at the latest two, o'clock as you never saw in your life before: there will not be a mill left in the valley." But, strange infatuation ! although that valley contained mills, houses, and cottages, to the water's edge, and hundreds of human beings, most of them in all the insensibility of their " first sleep " at midnight, not a single messenger is despatched lower than Digley-Mill, only about-one sixth of the distance from the reservoir to Holmfirth. This is hardly a description of a ‘rural’ locale. This passage offers no support for the idea of ‘segmented sleep Times, 10 Jan. 1863; But when the last fatal 4’oclock had stuck and the final numbers had been declared, horses were ridden to death, collarbones were broken, the small towns on the road to London waked out of their first sleep, and the Metropolis itself kept out of bed till 2 in the morning to hear the result This is another 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.” Ludlow, ‘The Game Finished’, 372; here  He saw the come back from the Drawing room between five and six, Helen with a brilliant colour in her cheeks, and at eight o’clock we went in. London parties, which begin when you ought to be in your first sleep, are not understood by us country people, and eight was the hour named in the Whitney’s invitation. It is difficult to discern from this passage what time this is referring to if eight o’clock is too early for a London party to start what time is the correct time when “you ought to be in your first sleep” BACK
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