Bifurcated sleep

Researchers took volunteers, put them to bed in a dark room at six pm and kept track of their sleep patterns. Initially they slept straight through for 11 hours. After catching up on sleep, they moved into a bifurcated pattern of three to five hours sleep, then waking up and dozing or relaxing for a couple hours, then falling back to sleep for another 4 hours. The conclusion was that this was the normal human sleep pattern. How cavemen slept before Jay Leno.
So let’s all start sleeping like this and check back in a month or so and talk about how it changed our lives. We’ll go to bed at six pm, sleep until ten or eleven, wake up, talk about our dreams, or have a shag or just lay there musing on something, then go back to sleep until five, and start our day.
I read something else about how the night used to have a different function in pre-industrial society. It mentioned people sleeping like this, hitting the hay at darkfall, then waking up for hanky panky, or to go play cards, or have a midnight snack, then going back to sleep.
It strikes me that my childhood sleep pattern of staring at the ceiling for a couple hours, fearing monsters or the future or whatever, may have been completely normal and natural.

7 responses to “Bifurcated sleep

  1. It’s true. This is how both me and my husband sleep since we quit office jobs to work for ourselves, and can get up any time we like.

  2. This is about how my sleep routine goes these days anyway except last night it was punctuated by several bouts of profuse vomiting from the child, which did nothing to help me relax or doze off.

  3. This sleep pattern works best for me too. I’m thinking that when you were a child you were closest to the neanderthal…all that worrying about monsters was right on target.

  4. Now, I only have to ditch my partner’s TV set out elegantly through the third floor window and I can join the dreamers’ club I guess.
    … and maybe work out on my late night blogaholism.
    Us bloody, addicted souls!

  5. flerdle

    I first noticed that tendency in myself about 15 years ago, much to the amusement of my friends at the time (I either crawled into a corner for an hour or was terrible company). And it’s how I would sleep, if given the chance: 8:30pm till 12:30am, then awake, 1:30am till 5 or 6am. These days, for many reasons, I just skip the first half and get up at 8am :-(

  6. Wow- this is good news. I thought I was all screwed up in my sleep since working from home. I was beginning to think I was just getting old :-(

  7. My pattern, when left to my own devices, is five hours of sleep and eight hours of waking. Which makes for a 26 hour day. Since I found that out, I have been claiming my own time zone.