Insomnia is literally the worst. Especially when one minute you’re peacefully sleeping and then suddenly you’re awake, going over the hundreds of little jobs you’ve been putting off for weeks. Goodbye requisite eight hours of sleep.
But apparently, instead of working out how you’re going to get all the laundry done, have time to get the dog washed and when you’ll be able to squeeze in a quick gym session, we should do what the Victorians did and embrace our disjointed sleep.
Back in the day waking up during the night was common. In fact, according to Roger Ekirch, a professor of history at Virginia Tech, in a pre-electricity world, people would go to sleep after dark for a few hours in what was called ‘first sleep’ and then wake up around midnight. They would stay awake for an hour or so, reading, writing or having some late night fun before going back to sleep. ‘Second sleep’ complete, they would wake up refreshed and ready to face another day in the factory.
The Sleep Coach, Cheryl Fingleson, says that the idea of sleeping like a Victorian has some merit.
“The Victorians got it right, have two good blocks of sleep which will be helpful to regenerate your brain and body, which is better than trying to fight to have one sleep.”
She says lying around, tossing and turning, and watching the minutes tick by actually stimulates a hormone called cortisol in our brain. This tricks us into thinking it’s time to wake up for the day, making it harder to fall back to sleep.
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