For thousands of years, humans slept in two shifts. Should we do it again?

Published Date 04/10/2018
Media Source Big Think
Department History
Faculty Member A. Roger Ekirch
External Link For thousands of years, humans slept in two shifts. Should we do it again?
summary Excerpt: A. Roger Ekirch, historian at Virginia Tech, uncovered our segmented sleep history in his 2005 book At Day’s Close: A Night in Time’s Past. There’s very little direct scientific research on sleep done before the 20th century, so Ekirch spent years going through early literature, court records, diaries, and medical records to find out how we slumbered. He found over 500 references to first and second sleep going all the way back to Homer’s Odyssey. “It’s not just the number of references—it is the way they refer to it as if it was common knowledge,” Ekirch tells BBC.