Sleep Basics affecting Sleep TIMING


Sleep is a many splendored thing

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part I of a three-part article in the Sleep Series

Courtesy of artist-educator Phillip Martin

Courtesy of artist-educator Phillip Martin

For most of the history of mankind, human beings divided life itself into two parts  — awake and asleep.

Other than cultures who were into dream interpretation in a big way, most people didn’t think much about sleep beyond that idea.

Most of us still don’t think about it much, unless we are forced to do so because we are having trouble sleeping or trouble staying awake.

Early to Bed, Early to Rise

Until the widespread availability of the electric light bulb, only beginning to come to public awareness around the dawn of the 20th century, most humans set their sleep-wake schedules in reaction to the availability of light, truly believing that they had made a pragmatic decision.

Oh sure, way back in the day somebody had to stay awake to protect the sleeping tribe, and many warring tribes chose to attack under cover of darkness, but there wasn’t a whole lot that the others could DO once darkness descended.

So they went to bed.

If they thought about it at all, most people probably believed they fell asleep quickly because they were exhausted from the demands of life in the primarily agrarian lifestyle of most of the human race for centuries. Little did they suspect that the reason sleep came so easily was a factor of what we call “entrainment to the light/dark cycle,” aided by the structure of their regular schedules.

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