Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
   BACK Stephanie Hegarty, ‘The Myth of the Eight-Hour Sleep’, BBC News Magazine, 22 Feb. 2012 here It is clear that Dr. Jacobs did not come to this conclusion based on any research merely an uncritical acceptance of the premise of Ekirch’s original paper. "For most of evolution we slept a certain way," says sleep psychologist Gregg Jacobs. "Waking up during the night is part of normal human physiology." The idea that we must sleep in a consolidated block could be damaging, he says, if it makes people who wake up at night anxious, as this anxiety can itself prohibit sleeps and is likely to seep into waking life too. Jacobs suggests that the waking period between sleeps, when people were forced into periods of rest and relaxation, could have played an important part in the human capacity to regulate stress naturally. In many historic accounts, Ekirch found that people used the time to meditate on their dreams. "Today we spend less time doing those things," says Dr Jacobs. "It's not a coincidence that, in modern life, the number of people who report anxiety, stress, depression, alcoholism and drug abuse has gone up." BACK
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