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Medicine Science

Interrupted Sleep Might Be the Best Kind 277

Posted by timothy
from the helps-me-remember-my-dreams-too dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "BBC reports that a growing body of evidence from both science and history suggests that eight-hours of uninterrupted sleep may be unnatural as a wealth of historical evidence reveals that humans used to sleep in two distinct chunks called first and second sleep. A book by historian Roger Ekirch, At Day's Close: Night in Times Past, unearths more than 500 references to a segmented sleeping pattern — in diaries, court records, medical books and literature, from Homer's Odyssey to an anthropological account of modern tribes in Nigeria. 'It's not just the number of references — it is the way they refer to it, as if it was common knowledge,' says Ekirch. References to the first and second sleep started to disappear during the late 17th Century with improvements in street lighting, domestic lighting and a surge in coffee houses — which were sometimes open all night. Today most people seem to have adapted quite well to the eight-hour sleep, but Ekirch believes many sleeping problems may have roots in the human body's natural preference for segmented sleep which could be the root of a condition called sleep maintenance insomnia, where people wake during the night and have trouble getting back to sleep. 'Our pattern of consolidated sleep has been a relatively recent development, another product of the industrial age, while segmented sleep was long the natural form of our slumber, having a provenance as old as humankind,' says Ekrich, adding that we may 'choose to emulate our ancestors, for whom the dead of night, rather than being a source of dread, often afforded a welcome refuge from the regimen of daily life.'"
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Interrupted Sleep Might Be the Best Kind

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  • Still do (Score:5, Funny)

    by SJHillman (1966756) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:05PM (#39137053)

    I still sleep in two chunks, only I call the second one "work"

  • I Believe It (Score:5, Informative)

    by mx+b (2078162) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:06PM (#39137069)
    I sometimes have insomnia in the middle of the night, after awaking from a few hours' rest. At first I was angry that I needed to get up soon and couldn't sleep, but then I started taking it in stride. If I cannot feel sleepy within 15 minutes or so of laying back down, I get up and read or work on a project or something for an hour or two until the sleepiness comes back, or simply nap after work the next day. Since doing that I feel more relaxed and natural. I am not sure if its biological or simply a state of mind, but I often find it is better not to force sleep if I am not ready for it, it just frustrates me and wastes time. Unfortunately, the way society is set up does not make it easy to run counter to that schedule of course, but I try.
    • by gnick (1211984)

      I'm the same way. TFA refers to it as "sleep maintenance insomnia". Doesn't really help giving it a name except to know that it may be more common than you may have thought.

    • Re:I Believe It (Score:5, Informative)

      by anonymousNR (1254032) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:46PM (#39137551) Homepage
      Cannot say if this works for everyone, when I get up in the middle of the night and cant sleep, I use the trick I stole from the lucid dreamers, stare at a point constantly, preferably (for me that is) a low lit corner of the room and before I know it I fell a sleep.
      • Re:I Believe It (Score:5, Interesting)

        by cob666 (656740) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:57PM (#39137697) Homepage

        Cannot say if this works for everyone, when I get up in the middle of the night and cant sleep, I use the trick I stole from the lucid dreamers, stare at a point constantly, preferably (for me that is) a low lit corner of the room and before I know it I fell a sleep.

        This is also one of the quickest ways of learning self hypnosis.

        • I lucid dream quite often. I've found that a combination of reality checks and using "second sleep" as a method of wakefully induced lucid dreaming or "WILD". It's far easier to go into a lucid dream if you wake up before your sleep cycle is completed. When you go back to sleep you can do whatever you want, it's pretty damn fun.
      • Indeed, I found that opening my eyes and looking at something makes me tired. If I lie there awake with my eyes closed I will stay awake for hours.

        • by TechyImmigrant (175943) * on Thursday February 23, 2012 @02:03PM (#39138603) Journal

          >Indeed, I found that opening my eyes and looking at something makes me tired. If I lie there awake with my eyes closed I will stay awake for hours.

          If I take 5000 IU of D3 first thing in the morning, chased with 1/2 pint of heavy cream, I never fail to sleep at night.
          Each to their own.

    • Re:I Believe It (Score:5, Informative)

      by msobkow (48369) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @01:20PM (#39138017) Homepage Journal

      I don't even try to get back to sleep any more. I just accept the fact that 3-4 hours at a stretch is all I'm comfortable sleeping. So I get up at 1-2 AM most nights and work until around 7, then sleep another 3-4 hours until 11-12. I get in my eight hours total, I feel fully rested, and I find those wee morning hour coding sessions are incredibly productive for some reason. (It's not like it's due to the peace and quiet -- I don't have family and neighbours making much noise during most days in the first place.)

      A "full night's sleep" in the sense of an 8-9 hour stretch in bed is extremely rare for me nowadays.

      It still freaks my Mom out when I call her and say something like "I was working on blah-blah at about 6 this morning..." because she KNOWS I'm not a "morning person" and never have been. But while I'm not exactly "chipper" without a couple cups of coffee when I get up, I find that with a split sleep shift, I'm at least not an outright grouch when I get up.

      • I get tired rather fast after work, so I've have done a lot of split sleep shifts. The only trick is when you have to still keep an 8-5 office schedule the next day, the WHOLE split sleep takes some 13 hours for me, including the block in the middle, so that I can't "dawdle after work" and start the pattern much later than about 6PM to really do it right.

        This is a topic I've had an amateur interest in for years, so I may get The Book mentioned in The Article.

        The key "potential drawback" is that they used to

    • by cusco (717999)
      During and just after high school I worked as a techie in the theatre and got accustomed to a reduced sleep schedule. (Sometimes MUCH reduced...) If I slept more than 5-6 hours at a stretch I generally felt groggy and generally sore when I got up.

      Now we have Peruvian Hairless dogs (calatos) that sleep in the bed with us. They get in and out of the bed several times each night, and that little bit of interruption opening up the blankets to let them back in seems to make a big difference. I can sleep 7
    • I suffer from interrupted sleep on a daily basis, I always have. Even as a child I couldn't sleep a full night and as I get older it just gets worse. I just seem to wake up without any good reason and then I can't get back to sleep anymore and it is not related to apnea, I do not suffer from that. These days I know quite well when I am still sleepy enough to get back to sleep and when I am not, and if I am not sleepy enough I just straight up go and start doing something. Often it takes me anything between

  • interrupted sleep (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:08PM (#39137091)

    As one who had his sleep interrupted during 40 years of medical practice, and now can sleep through the night, a full night of uninterrupted sleep feels wonderful- far better than interrupted sleep.

  • Napping (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DigiShaman (671371) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:09PM (#39137097) Homepage

    Call it a self discovery, but I found napping after I get home from work for two hours is life changing. It clear sthe mind from stress and when you wake up, you feel like the work day happened just 12 hours ago. Feeling mentally and physically detached from the office has been extremely beneficial to me. But then again, I suppose it's because I do work about 50 to 55 hours a week.

    • Re:Napping (Score:5, Insightful)

      by chispito (1870390) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:16PM (#39137171)
      Perhaps this goes without saying, but... no kids?
      • I can't nap. I feel groggy and heavy afterward, much worse than I do when I wake up in the morning. I don't like that feeling at all, so when I'm tired enough to drift off in the afternoon or evening at home I try my best to resist.

        • by ArsonSmith (13997)

          I have the same problem. I have found that if I'm so bad I don't feel i can stay awake I set my phone timer for 15 mins and let me dose off for just that short time. The grogginess is very short and often I feel much better afterwards. Any longer and it puts me in pretty bad shape. Irritable and sleepier than if I had just stayed awake.

        • Re:Napping (Score:4, Interesting)

          by ColdWetDog (752185) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:47PM (#39137569) Homepage

          Try napping for shorter periods of time - 20 to 30 minutes in order to not drop into deeper REM sleep. Works for some people. It's the 'power nap' idea. YMMV, of course.

          I think one aspect that many of these studies overlook is that there is absolutely no teleologic / social / evolutionary reason for the population to have the same requirements in many aspects of our lives, sleeping being one. Some people really do well with prolonged, constant sleep. Others can get by on much less. I've been jealous of the latter for many years because if I don't get enough sleep, I really pay for it for days.

          But I can do pretty well with short naps for a couple of days, then things catch up. It also depends on what you're doing. It's OK to be a bit tired when you are washing your car or taking a walk. Running the chain saw, not so much.

          • Re:Napping (Score:5, Informative)

            by Prune (557140) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @01:57PM (#39138519)

            This is simply a bad recommendation. You should nap a full sleep cycle, which is 90 minutes on average (usually the first one is a bit longer, around two hours). Please see the average somnogram here: http://www.lakesidepress.com/pulmonary/Sleep/hypnogram.png [lakesidepress.com]

            There's a reason the Spanish siesta is about two hours. It's been shown that interrupting a sleep cycle during the deeper parts is extremely counter-productive, and can leave you even worse off than if you had stayed awake (or woken up at the previous point of light sleep, i.e. REM portion).

            Another reason it doesn't make sense to sleep for 20 minutes is that BY FAR the most restorative action of sleep happens during the deep parts of the cycle, to the extent that there is research into drugs that increase the portion of sleep spend in those parts so that, say, soldiers etc. can sleep a smaller number of cycles for the same rest.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Ed_1024 (744566)
            I'm an airline pilot and we get the same sort of advice. Personally, it doesn't work for me and I feel much better after an extended sleep on-board, rather than a 20min kip. Mind you, I've done the job (long-haul) for long enough now that any sort of natural body rhythms have been burnt out, along with being in a particular time zone... I can stay up until breakfast or go to bed - doesn't seem to matter anymore :(
          • It was probably evolutionarily advantageous for people to sleep at different times, in different patterns and for different lengths of time. Better coverage of watching for predators, certain game my be easier to hunt at different times, etc.

    • by xTantrum (919048) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:25PM (#39137277)
      I think Ekirch's research is obviously correct but his conclusions might be a little off. it's well known already people tend to lose productivity during the afternoon in the modern day workplace. This is why the Europeans have their siesta [wikipedia.org]. Prior to the industrial era and the advent of lighting yes, we may have had our circadian clocks synced to this pattern prof. Ekirch talks about. However, it is Post-Industrial now, many countries around the world have constant non natural light and many individuals work around the clock and have varying shifts. As a result, the need for sleep - or "power naps" - hasn't changed, our clocks have just synced to a different schedule. Where you are in the world and the personal schedule you have will determine the optional time for that cat nap needed to recharge.
      Again, it's not that we don't need to "sleep" twice in a day, more than likely we do. there is evidence [go.com] that points to its benefits, however as we are finding out with medicine today, it would be and should be tailored to the individual and their schedule.
    • Re:Napping (Score:5, Informative)

      by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:29PM (#39137343) Homepage

      That is called a Siesta, and civilized cultures have been doing it for thousands of years. and early afternoon nap typically after lunch or a couple hours after lunch works wonders.

      My body actually get's "sleepy" around 3:00-4:00pm every day and it's common with others as well. your body WANTS a nap.

    • Re:Napping (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bored (40072) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:32PM (#39137373)

      That was me before I got married/kids. It was fantastic..

      I would get up and have another 4-6 hours of _VERY_ productive time. I would go running, go to the gym, write code, go to the local bar and hit on women, remodel the house, etc. This was when I was the most effective.

      Now I just walk around like a zombie all day, until I hit the bed. Nothing really gets done unless I drink massive quantities of caffeine.

  • I find this very interesting... for as long as I can remember I wake up in the middle of the night, usually around 2-3 am and lay awake for a while before going back to sleep (with differing amounts of success). Maybe now there's an actual reason or explanation why?
    • by gnick (1211984)

      I mentioned above, TFA refers to it as "sleep maintenance insomnia". I ran into this article yesterday at work and was interested that maybe I'm not as weird as I thought. To make it through the night, my doc gave me a mild sleep-aid that helps some.

  • nothing to see here. This article is nothing new. YES our bodies have evolved with natural processes tuned to respond to our natural surroundings. This was "common" knowledge to homo sapiens but sometime around the industrial revolution, we evolved into humanoid machine meta sapiens. Now, we spend more time indoors under artificial lighting and in manufactured vehicles than we do in natural surroundings. We read books and news articles to learn what to do with our bodies and learn how they work. We also fo
  • The Uberman (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DamageLabs (980310) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:12PM (#39137121) Homepage

    Always wanted to try the Uberman http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2002/4/15/103358/720 [kuro5hin.org]

    Unfortunately, other people that I have to work with did not approve.

    • Re:The Uberman (Score:5, Informative)

      by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross@@@yahoo...ca> on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:21PM (#39137227)

      In Germany they did a documentary on the Uberman and they mocked it. They thought crazy idea. So the "victim" gave his fullest and something strange happened.

      1) Getting used to the schedule was hard.
      2) Once used to the schedule it actually worked very well. The doctors who inspected him thought the experiment would fail, were also surprised. They did reaction tests, brain scans, and a battery of other tests such as blood pressure. He passed with amazing colours.

      After the test was done the volunteer said he would go back to the original sleeping habits. Not because he did not like it, but because it is out of tune with the rest of society. For the the uberman to work he had to take naps and at the wrong time it was a bit wierd. And then with all of the free time he had he did not know what to do. He ran out of things to do.

      So end conclusion yeah it works, but it is a major lifestyle change.

    • Always wanted to try the Uberman http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2002/4/15/103358/720 [kuro5hin.org]

      Unfortunately, other people that I have to work with did not approve.

      I've tried as well. The highly fragmented sleep posed a serious detriment to my ability to function, and also the scheduling would be very conflicting with much of my daily activities. Even for moments of my life when I had next to nothing to do it would still cause issues.

      The best way to perform it is with larger fragments of sleep, with 2 I've found (as well as discovered in research) as being the most expedient. This article here is especially intriguing to me, because it correlates with my previous rese

  • And too much soup, beer, whatever, before go sleep.

    Over-efficient kidneys, too.

  • I call bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by S77IM (1371931) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:14PM (#39137147)

    As a parent of two small children, I've been forced to do "segmented sleep" for extended periods (our babies were not good eaters so we had to wake them up in the middle of the night for a feeding). It sucks, and I'm positive that I'm not the only parent to have experienced this.

    Just going to sleep in the evening and waking up in the morning feels a lot better and more natural to me.

      -- 77IM

    • Re:I call bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

      by batquux (323697) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:24PM (#39137261)

      Your situation might be different, but I figured out you just let them sleep. They'll come around on the eating. It's easy to get caught up in the science and numbers and forget they're critters, not machines.

      • Your situation might be different, but I figured out you just let them sleep. They'll come around on the eating. It's easy to get caught up in the science and numbers and forget they're critters, not machines.

        This is true in my experience for older children, but, for the first month or two of life, you really do need to make sure they're getting milk every 3-4 hours. But now that our kids are 5 and 2, if they don't eat, it's their choice (especially the five year-old).

    • by lazycam (1007621)
      I totally agree. And there are other things to consider as well. My doctor regularly lectures me on the relationship between sleep, blood pressure [sciencedaily.com], and obesity [webmd.com].
    • Re:I call bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LordArgon (1683588) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:27PM (#39137309)

      I've been forced to do "segmented sleep"

      If it's forced, then you're not actually doing it... The story is about waking naturally between sleeps, not waking yourself up on a schedule. It also seems based on going to bed shortly after dusk which, at least for me, is hours before I've trained myself to go to bed.

    • by ciaohound (118419)

      Taking care of young children really was the most stressful thing I ever went through. I would be cautious about making inferences about sleep patterns or anything else based on that wonderful-yet-frequently-hellish period of my life :)

      PS: It got better.

    • by swb (14022)

      I was never more miserable than when our son needed to be fed in the middle of the night (it was demand feeding, not scheduled). Very tired in the morning and low energy during the day.

      I still feel that way if I have to get up in the middle of the night. I'm only 44 but I can't even tolerate staying up past midnight anymore -- I still wake at my usual time but feel awful from lack of sleep.

      That being said, the problem with "Segmented Sleep" is making it work with the normal chronological rhythms of mode

    • This worked for pre-industrial people because they tended to go to sleep earlier. As people started staying up later, they also tended to start sleeping through the night. And these people didn't set an alarm as a parent with a 3am feeding scheduled would, but woke naturally after a full sleep cycle. If you are awakened, rather than waking on your own, especially mid-cycle, you're going to feel worse.

      The NYT article is better than the BBC one, imo. I think the idea here is (or should be) that not eve
    • by Prune (557140)
      You called BS too early and I'll refute your post now:

      1. All the difference is the difference is in waking up normally, at light stages in a sleep cycle, as opposed to being woken up forcefully when you're likely to be into a deeper stage. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep#Sleep_stages [wikipedia.org] Referring to the sleep diagram there, if you're woken up at any point where you're deeper than stage 1, it has a very stressful effect on the brain. If you're woken up from stage 3 or 4 of a cycle, you'd be worse off than
      • by Prune (557140)
        Better study: Wehr, T.A. (June 1992). "In short photoperiods, human sleep is biphasic". J Sleep Res 1 (2): 103–107. (you can download it on PubMed)
  • Pre-industrial? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:14PM (#39137153)

    There's countless millions of pre-industrial people alive today. Do they commonly exhibit this behavior? You don't need to dig through medieval diaries when there are humans alive now who exist at varied levels of social and technological development. I'm more interested how agrarian and hunter-gatherer societies treat sleep today than urban Europeans a few hundred years ago. Urban Europeans have always engaged in bizarre activities.

    • There's countless millions of pre-industrial people alive today. Do they commonly exhibit this behavior?

      That's an interesting question, but we may be unable to answer it. Even in supposedly pre-industrial segments of the world population, artificial light at night is more common than it was back in the 17th century. So it might be difficult, if not impossible, to find a truly pre-industrial population to study.

      Also, from TFA:

      "In the early 1990s, psychiatrist Thomas Wehr conducted an experiment in which a group of people were plunged into darkness for 14 hours every day for a month. It took some time for their

    • Re:Pre-industrial? (Score:5, Informative)

      by howdygnome (1976604) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @02:09PM (#39138693)
      Having written a book on sleep deprivation...

      Yes modern pre-industrial societies have segmented sleep. Their sleeping pattern in more fluid with daytime napping as an option. They keep their infants near when sleeping. Chimps also have segmented sleep.

      Your sleep needs reflect the prior two weeks of accumulated debt. It can easily take more than a week to catch up on what you have been missing. The early stages don't feel great. In human studies where subjects live without time cues (free running experiments) they initially sleep up to eleven hours at a time then shift to segmented sleep. Long interrupted sleep feels great when you are sleep deprived. It is actually a good gauge of your sleep deprivation.

      Sleep restricted people (e.g. getting 6 hours every night) have the same impairment as those who have pulled an all nighter but lack the insight into their cognitive impairment. There is also a loss of effective self monitoring and the ability to learn effectively from mistakes (especially negative input). That probably applies to most slashdotters.

      Doctors and new parents have interrupted sleep inflicted on them when trying to fit in with the industrial modern work week (9 AM to 5 PM; 40 hours a week). This is not compatible. Those of you who call BS based on those experiences are feeling tired due to accumulated sleep debt.

      The long term consequences of sleep deprivation or restriction: obesity, hypertension, diabetes , cardiovascular disease (MI Stroke), impaired immune function and cognitive emotional impairment (ADD, depression etc). There is an overall higher mortality rate due to these problems.
  • Siesta (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:15PM (#39137165)

    Plenty of the Latin countries still adhere to a segmented sleep pattern.

    In my personal case, the period between 1 and 4 pm is useless for getting anything creative accomplished and my emotional state and creativity peaks in the hours beginning at dusk and for many hours after.

    The pattern of siesta and staying up late for dinner, etc. seems to fit this pattern quite nicely.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:17PM (#39137177)

    And my wife keeps asking why I insist on waking every 10 minutes to search the house...and also sleep propped up in a chair with a loaded gun beside me.

    See, honey, THIS IS WHY!

  • Does this mean I get first and second breakfast too? Those hobbits were on to something!!

  • Other primates? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheCRAIGGERS (909877) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:18PM (#39137191)

    I wonder, does anybody know how other primates handle sleep? If it's ingrained as they say, one would think our ancestors would also display the same tendencies.

  • Life Expectancy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Also, people used to have shorter lives. Perhaps due to not enough sleep.

  • With all the glowing screens and communication devices we have, it's easy to fill every hour at night as full as you would during the day.

  • Except that I need to be alert and awake for my job so I have to cram as much sleep in as possible to make it through the day, and if I want any time after work to do anything I can't afford to nap.

    I know government/work would love if all I did was go to work, come home, nap a bit, get up, do a bit of laundry, make dinner, go to bed, go back to work and repeat.

    Unfortunately for them, I'm not a slave. So until they adjust what they want me to do to fit with napping / segmented sleep, it's too bad.

  • by SpaghettiPattern (609814) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:30PM (#39137351)

    Interrupted Sleep Might Be the Best Kind.

    The next best kind would perhaps be the coitus one?

  • by JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:34PM (#39137395)
    The longer i tend to sleep past 6 hours, the worse I feel throughout the day.
    Some of my best/most productive days have been on 3-4 hours of sleep.
  • by ryanov (193048)

    I can't agree with this. Sometimes I take a nap after work, then am up way too late, and then get about half a night's sleep. I definitely feel worse than I would if I slept uninterrupted for 9 hours, even if that might be the total of the two halves.

  • I think the key thing to remember here is that this was most popular at a time when most people would go to bed around dusk due to the lack of available light. If you go to bed that early, it could well work to have segmented sleep. There's a lot of variables floating around when it comes to how to get 'a good night's sleep'. Calling bullshit just because being woken up during the night by your new puppy or baby makes you feel like crap seems a bit far fetched to me. There's so many other variables that are
  • by WillAdams (45638) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:42PM (#39137507) Homepage

    He was noted for having maintained, by preference, the split-shift sleeping schedule which he'd become accustomed to while serving in the Navy even after the war --- this was noted in the biographical notes section of at least one printing of his unfinished book _The Master Mariner_.

  • Those that complain that they have experienced interrupted sleep (e.g. with kids, medical profession, etc.) and prefer uninterrupted sleep are missing the point.

    The article talks about "segmented sleep", let's say you sleep 4 hours at night and 4 hours in the day.

    In other words, you go to sleep and naturally wake up whenever your body feels like (nothing interrupted the sleep), then get active, the go to sleep again and naturally wake up again (nothing interrupted the sleep), then get active again. Rinse a

  • Naps (Score:5, Funny)

    by PPH (736903) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:47PM (#39137565)

    Or as they are commonly known in the post-industrial world: meetings.

  • Finally, a plausible scientific theory as to why my sleep seems more restful when I hit the snooze button a few times, rather than jumping out of bed immediately at the first alarm. Not that any such theory would convince my snooze-button-averse wife...
  • by fatboy (6851) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @01:04PM (#39137803)

    I had an "on-call" week from hell before Christmas last year. Didn't get more than 3 hours of contiguous sleep that week. I caught strep throat and was sick my entire Christmas vacation (both days). No, I didn't RTFA, but I think their study must have not taken into account sleep interrupted by external stimuli. I need at least 8 hours in my bed. Asleep or otherwise :D

  • Cats (Score:5, Funny)

    by Oswald McWeany (2428506) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @02:05PM (#39138627)

    I've noticed my cats also practice interrupted sleep.
    They sleep for 11 hours- wake for an hour to eat/use litter box/scratch up the furniture. Then they sleep for 12 more hours.

    The cats seem very rested and happy- I think I need to follow the cat model for success.

  • by sexconker (1179573) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @02:50PM (#39139235)

    This story pops up every year, and they always talk about how Ben Franklin would have 2 or 3 one hour stretches of "wakeful sleep" every night. I mean, just imagine that fucker in his old timey pajamas, holding a candle! Haha wow! Maybe we should all sleep like him.

    Nope. Fuck you. Interrupted sleep is terrible. If it was good for you, parents of newborns would be so alive, cheerful, youthful, energetic, productive, etc.
    The reality is, of course, that they are grumpy, zombies.

  • Classic fallacy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday February 23, 2012 @03:06PM (#39139399) Homepage Journal

    It was done by our 'ancestor' therefor it's the best way to do things.

    Studies done with scientific rigor are the only way to determine if breaking up your sleep is optimal.

  • by Lawrence_Bird (67278) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @08:56PM (#39142771) Homepage

    Just because humans had to operate under those conditions in the past does not mean that sleeping in that manner was better for health in the long run. Not getting chased by wooly mammoths and saber tooth tigers is another thing we seem to be doing better without.

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