Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
BACK Divide the Hours of Rest: Better to Take Sleep in Installments rather than in One Long Session’, Pittsburgh Courier, 6 May 1911, 8. DIVIDE THE HOURS OF REST Better to Take sleep in Installments Rather Than in One Long session If you wish to be perfectly fit and healthy don't take your sleep in "a long dose." Instead of, say, always going to bed at 11 p. m. and rising at 7 a. m., divide your sleeping hours Into two portions. as, for instance, from 6 p. m. to 8:30 p. m. (first sleep) and from 2 a. m. to 6:30 a. m. in the second sleep. This method of sleeping in watches give the brain-for all those who do mental work-just stimulus needed, and promotes fresh energy and vigour to both mind and body. A doctor who is a serious advocate of sleeping in watches gave the above interesting theory. Every man and woman whose work requires a large expenditure of mental energy should divide his or her sleeping  hours into two" he said. "I am acquainted with many people who now always take they sleep in two 'doses,' and they will tell you what a vast improvement It is on the usual rule of on long sleep In the 24 hours.  "The Ideal times of sleep for the brain worker are the afternoon and the early hours at the morning. Of course this program could only be carried out by the woman whose time is her own." I am afraid that Ekirch reads far too much into this passage because while it does indeed mention ‘first’ and ‘second sleep’ what is in fact proposed is completely different from any version of ‘segmented sleep’ that Ekirch has proposed. The use of ‘first sleep and second sleep does not demonstrate that the author is “ignorant almost certainly, of past practice” rather that they have at least a basic understanding of English to now that the first of two events is ordinarily termed the ‘first’ and the subsequent occurrence of the event is usually termed the ‘second’. Therefore if there are two sleeps in any 24 hour period the period that occurs first would be termed the ‘first sleep’, the next, subsequent, sleep would thus be termed the ‘second sleep’. Note that this advice is quite specifically only for people “whose work requires a large expenditure of mental energy” and is not advice for the general population. ‘Sleep!’, Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle, 6 Apr. 1895; I admit I am at a total loss as to what Ekirch believes is relevant in this article. Sleep In Man and Beasts “I have a new remedy for insomnia” said the nervous member as he entered the club rooms this morning/ “if it is good, tell us about it.” “It is very simple. Just go to bed and the the most comfortable position sleeping. The slowly open and close your eyes. if after forty winks, you are not asleep, try forty more. The great difficulty with victims of insomnia is that they almost always fall to thinking of the events of the day. This may be prevented by persistent counting, but that is itself a mental effort and wakes one up. Not so, however, with winking. I defy any of you to think of anything else while you are engaged in this simple exercise.” On Animal Sleep. Though many animals look on sleep as a luxury, and make comfortable beds for its enjoyment, other sleep but little, and their slumbers are so light that they seem to have the power of becoming instantaneously awake, however soundly they may have been sleeping. There is good reason to believe that the broken and timid form of animal sleep in the greater number of species is not such as they would actually choose, but is the result of habits acquired and transmitted in centuries of danger and avoidance of their enemies; and that the same causes which have modified the hours of sleep have also modified its character. A sleeping fox will rise, gallop off, and dodge the hounds with as much coolness and knowledge of the ground as if it had been surprised on the prowl with all its wits awake. Hares seem never to sleep; however closely they may lie in their forms, the eye is alert and vigilant. Stags sleep soundly when watched by their hinds. But a solitary stag, sleeping on a hillside, retains the two senses of hearing and scent in full vigour. Deerstalkers have discovered by experiment that the sleeping senses of the stag are sensitive up to a distance of a least 200 yards on the windward side. Between the drowsy sleep of the nocturnal animals and the hyper-sensitive sleep of those that send their lives in constant fear of their enemies, a place must be found for the form of slumber enjoyed by the large carnivores, and that of domestic animals; the former have no enemies to fear, except man, and the later, protected by man, enjoy to the full the blessing of nocturnal rest. Tigers are frequently found fast asleep in the daytime. Native hunters have been known to track them after a “kill” to the place in which they were lying fast asleep and gorged with food, and shoot them as they lie. When taking its midday repose in districts where it is little disturbed, the tiger does not always retire to a place of security, like the bear, or even the leopard, which usually sleep on the branch of a tree, It just lies down in some convenient spot, either shady or warm, according to the weather, and there sleeps, almost regardless of danger. They have been found lying in dry nullahs, under trees, and even in the grass of the hillsides, unobserved, until their disturber came within a few yards of them. Tigers kept in captivity awaken gradually, stretching and yawning like a dog. Yet, like the dog, they possess the power of vigilance in sleep which they can use if required. Dogs, which at once the drowsiest and most wakeful of domestic animals, according to their state of mind and circumstances, seem to sleep lightly or heavily at will. Nothing can be more slow, reluctant, and leisurely that the enforced waking of a petted house dog when it does not wish to be disturbed. It will remain deaf to a call, twitch its feet if tickled, but not unclose its eyes, and finally stretch and yawn like a sleepy child. But mention something interesting to the same dog when sleeping, such as the word “walk” or click the lock of a gun, and it is on its feet in an instant, and ready for enterprise. Thus animals seem capable of three forms or degrees of sleep: one the deep stupor of the nocturnal creatures; a second semi-human slumber of carnivorous and domesticated animals, which have a power of vigilance at command; and lastly, the vigilant sleep of the persecuted ruminant and rodent tribes. On the Value of Sleep The man who works hard must have plenty of rest, as a rule, his sleep should be unbroken and undisturbed. The actual number of hours’ sleep taken and necessary for persons in health varies within wide limits according to age the soundness of sleep itself, and individual peculiarity. Infants often sleep 20 hours  out of the 24, and children, as a rule, require very much more sleep than adults. in persons from 15 to 25 eight hours are necessary, but people in the prime of life do very well with seven hours’ rest, or even less. Some people of energetic temperaments get along very well with five hours’ sleep out of the 24; but this is exceptional. In idiots and persons who are more or less demented the greater part of the day may be passed in sleep. These people, when their simple wants are satisfied, dream away their time, and are oblivious of all that goes around them. After a prolonged mental effort many notable people have been known to pass from 24 to 36 hours in bed; and shop girls and others who are hard-worked during the week not infrequently sleep the greater part of Sunday, not leaving their room until late in the evening, when they take a stroll, have supper, and then again retire to rest. ‘Sleeplessness’, Daily Mail, 4 Dec.1920. For an unusually early reference to the ‘forced and therefore unnatural’ character of ‘second sleep’, see R. Scott Chrystal, Health and Long Life: or, How to Live for a Hundred Years (London, 1874), 57.  here  Nature is her own interpreter, and unless disturbed by some external cause, it is time to get up when conciousness is restored. There is no worse habit than trying to go back to sleep for five or ten minutes, and especially when this is repeated several time before getting up, this second sleep is forced and therefore unnatural, and one is often more  exhausted by it than before going to sleep for the first time; this is tippling in sleep and has the same stupefying effect as whisky tippling. This passage is clearly referring to what in the modern day is pressing the snooze button on the alarm clock in the morning and cannot seriously be thought to be describing anything to do with segmented sleep.  Another harbinger of this shift is a letter of 19 August 1884 from an Edinburgh resident, Thomas Hume, in which he recounts an incident in 1812: ‘Somewhere about 1 or 2 o’clock, as my mother lay half awake, after her first sleep, as it is termed [my italics] . . . ’, Myers, ‘Specimens of the Classification  of  Cases’, 192. here From Mr. Thomas Hume. 109, Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh. August 19th. 1884. During a night in the year 1812, or thereabouts, somewhere about 1 or 2 o'clock, as my mother lay half awake. after her first sleep, as it is termed, she was suddenly startled and alarmed by a terrible crash on the window of the bedroom, by which the whole glass was apparently shivered to pieces in a moment; and immediately thereafter. as if in the distance, a low,melancholy wail, though quite distinct, of "0 Vale, Vale. I do not understand what Ekirch is implying bay saying this passage is a “harbinger of this shift” for this to be clear we would need to know by whom it is “termed” and the exact context it was being used. BACK
© Dr. Neil Stanley 2013-2018