The History of Segmented Sleep
The History of Segmented Sleep
Sleep has been a vital and integral part of human existence since time immemorial. A good night’s sleep helps us to rest, rejuvenate and recharge our bodies for the day ahead. It is essential for our physical and mental health.
The sleep patterns of human beings have changed over the centuries, from monophasic to biphasic and now, segmented sleep. In the past, people used to sleep for around 8 hours straight through the night. This was known as monophasic sleep. However, over time, this changed to biphasic sleep, where people would sleep for around 4 hours in the night and then take a nap during the day.
Nowadays, segmented sleep is becoming increasingly popular. This is where people break up their sleeping time into smaller segments throughout the day and night. For example, they may sleep for 6 hours at night and then take a 30-minute nap during the day. Or they may split their sleeping time into 3 segments: 2 hours at night, 1 hour in the early morning and another 1-2 hours in the afternoon or evening (known as a polyphasic schedule).
There are many reasons why people choose to segment their sleep in this way. For some it is simply due to lifestyle choices or work commitments that make it difficult to get a full 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night. Others find that this helps them to fall asleep more easily and stay asleep for longer periods of time without waking up in the middle of the night (which can be disruptive to both your mental health and natural circadian rhythms). And finally, some people believe that by sleeping in shorter but more frequent bursts they are better rested overall than if they were to stick to just one long block ofsleep each day/night.
There is no right or wrong way to segment your sleep – it is entirely down to personal preference (and sometimes necessity). However, if you do find yourself struggling to get enough shut-eye or waking up feeling groggy more often than not, it might be worth considering returning back to a more traditional monophasic pattern instead!
The Science of Segmented Sleep
There are a lot of different opinions on what the best sleep pattern is. Some people swear by sleeping for eight hours straight, while others are proponents of segmented sleep. So, what is the science behind segmented sleep?
Sleep schedule refers to the timing of sleep in relation to the body’s circadian rhythm. The human body has an internal clock that regulates when we feel sleepy and when we feel awake. This clock is influenced by exposure to light and darkness.
Polyphasic sleep is a sleep pattern characterized by multiple periods of sleep during the day. Most people are monophasic, meaning they have one period of natural sleep at night. Segmented sleeping is a type of polyphasic sleep that involves taking multiple shorter naps throughout the day instead of one long period of uninterruptedsleep.
There is some evidence that segmented sleeping was the norm prior to the Industrial Revolution. In 2001, historian Roger Ekirch published a paper detailing his research on historical references to segmented sleep. He found that references to first and second sleeps were common in literature from around the world dating back centuries. It wasn’t until electric lighting became widespread in the 19th century that references to segmented sleep began to disappear from literature.
Ekirch’s theory is supported by studies on modern-day hunter-gatherer societies, which tend to have polyphasic sleeping patterns. It’s possible that our ancestors slept in a similar way before modern life disrupted our natural circadian rhythms.
So, why did we start sleeping in one long block? It’s likely because it’s more convenient for modern life. Most people now work nine-to-five jobs with set hours, which makes it difficult to take multiple naps during the day. Plus, society has come to view uninterrupted eight hours of nighttime sleep as ideal even though it may not be natural for everyone.
If you’re interested in trying out a segmented sleep schedule, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, make sure you’re getting enough total hours ofsleep each day—most adults need around seven or eight hours per 24-hour period. Second, pay attention to your body’s natural circadian rhythms and try to structure your naps around them if possible—for most people, this means taking a nap sometime after lunchtime and another one in late afternoon or early evening..
The Benefits of Segmented Sleep
There are many benefits of segmented sleep, also known as polyphasic sleep. This type of sleep includes taking multiple naps throughout the day instead of sleeping for one long stretch at night. Segmented sleep can help you to:
1. Get more hours of sleep: When you break up your sleep into segments, you’re actually getting more hours of sleep than if you slept through the night. This is because you’re not losing any time to falling asleep or waking up in the middle of the night.
2. Improve your focus and concentration: When you take a nap during the day, it can help to increase your alertness and improve your focus and concentration. This is especially beneficial if you have a big project or deadline coming up.
3. Boost your creativity: Napping can also help to boost your creativity as it gives your mind some time to relax and rejuvenate. If you’re feeling stuck on a project, try taking a nap and see if it helps to spark some new ideas.
4. Increase your physical endurance: Getting enough rest is crucial for athletes and people who regularly exercise as it helps to improve their physical endurance. If you find yourself feeling tired during the day, a quick nap may be just what you need to get through your workout or run without flagging halfway through.
5. Reduce stress levels: Stress can have a negative impact on both our physical and mental health, so it’s important to find ways to reduce our stress levels whenever possible. Taking regular naps can help to lower our stress hormones, leaving us feeling calmer and more relaxed overall.”
How to Implement Segmented Sleep
You should start by gradually adjusting your bedtime. Move your bedtime earlier or later by 10-15 minutes each day until you find the sleep schedule that works best for you. It may take a few days or weeks to find the ideal bedtime.
Once you have found the optimal time to go to bed, stick with it as much as possible. Segmented sleepers typically sleep for four to six hours, wake up for one or two hours, and then go back to sleep for another four to six hours.
Create a nighttime routine that helps you wind down before bed. This might include reading a book, taking a bath, or writing in a journal.
During your waking hours, avoid napping if possible. If you must nap, keep it short — no more than 30 minutes — and do it early in the day.
Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet so that you can get the most restful sleep possible.