Posted: 24/08/2014 at 19:02
All this talk about sleep has reminded me of an article I read a year or two ago; it may have been on the BBC web site. Apparently up until the 16th or 17th century people used to have 2 sleeps per night.
The first sleep would be soon after sunset, then they would wake, perhaps eat, socialise etc then sleep again.
What changed all this was, I think, a combination of improved/cheaper artificial lighting/ factory hours/ street lighting?
It is similar to the change in eating habits, the old habits still maintain on building sites; a sort of breakfast at 10.30, which echoes the Georgian idea of hot chocolate and perhaps something to eat at that time. The Georgians then had 'Dinner' at about 4.00, then a late 'supper' after the Opera or Theatre at about 11.00pm
Now I am pretty much retired, I can eat when I want to and sleep when I want to. This means I do not have to conform my sleeping or eating to business times and I feel much better for it.