Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
Roger Ekirch claims that “Until the close of the early modern era, Western Europeans on most evenings experienced two major intervals of sleep bridged by up to an hour or more of quiet wakefulness“ and that this mode of sleeping was “the predominant pattern of sleep before the Industrial Revolution”. Below are passages that contradict this statement From  Thomas More - Utopia 1516 “The Utopians: but they, dividing the day and night into twenty-four hours, appoint six of these for work, three of which are before dinner and three after; they then sup, and at eight o’clock, counting from noon, go to bed and sleep eight hours: the rest of their time, besides that taken up in work, eating, and sleeping, is left to every man’s discretion; yet they are not to abuse that interval to luxury and idleness, but must employ it in some proper exercise, according to their various inclinations, which is, for the most part, reading.” here The following passage from The Life of Johnson Vol. 03 Page 52 appears to specifically warn against segmented sleep “Johnson observed, that 'a man should take a sufficient quantity of sleep, which Dr. Mead says is between seven and nine hours.' I told him, that Dr. Cullen said to me, that a man should not take more sleep than he can take at once. JOHNSON. 'This rule, Sir, cannot hold in all cases; for many people have their sleep broken by sickness; and surely, Cullen would not have a man to get up, after having slept but an hour. Such a regimen would soon end in a long sleep.” In his Collection of English Proverbs, by John Ray, Cambridge. 1678 here flatly contradicts Ekirch description of segmented sleep. “For the sun being the life of this sublunary world, whose heat causes & continues the motion of all terrestrial animals, when he is farthest off (that is, about midnight) the spirits of themselves are aptest to rest & compose; so the middle of the night must needs be the most proper time to sleep in: especially if we consider the great expense of spirits in the day-time, partly by the heat of the afternoon, & partly by labour & the constant exercise of all the senses. Wherefore then to wake, is to put the spirits in motion when there are fewest of them, &; they naturally most sluggish & unfit for it.” Which would also seemingly apply to the idea of segmented sleep.
© Dr. Neil Stanley 2013-2018