A Skill I Need to Learn

But as part of a wider overhaul of my sleep habits.

I learned recently about "segmented" sleep. Researcher A. Roger Ekirch in his book "At Day's Close: Night in Times Past" writes,

... until the close of the early modern erea [sic], Western Europeans on most evenings experienced two major intervals of sleep bridged by up to an hour or more of wakefulness. Around midnight, they woke up, and instead of tossing and turning restlessly trying to get back to sleep, used the time to meditate, study, or talk."

Other references to this pattern included afternoon naps of no more than 30 minutes; a power nap or "caffeine nap" in which one has coffee, tea, or energy drink, then immediately closes their eyes to go to sleep and allows the caffeine to limit the time of the nap.

As someone who is perpetually sleep-deprived, this pattern intrigues me and, for a start, I've begun to get up and have a cup of chamomile tea in the middle of the night, if I awaken. I read some poetry, play some soft jazz or classical music, and then go back to sleep. Very human and civilized.

Nap time is more of a problem, though, as I'd have to leave my office - perhaps go to my car - to have the privacy to close my eyes for 15-30 minutes in the middle of the day.

Sleep is a beautiful thing, mostly scorned in today's world. People brag about how little they can function on, but it seems more like they're bragging about how much damage they are doing to themselves and how much a slave they are to the clock.

It would sound comical, but the world could use some "sleep activists", to go along with the "Slow Food" and "Take Back Your Time" movements.

50percent 50percent
51-55, M
3 Responses Nov 26, 2007

I feel that "over 40" sense as well, but I suspect that it's more a matter of decades of neglect than it is of true aging. I think that people who take care of themselves consistently from youth onward retain most if not all of their energy well past mid-life. Although I have no citation for this handy, John Glenn is supposed to have passed the annual NASA fitness test every year since his first flight.<br />
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We certainly get less resilient - no doubt about that. Where we could, but shouldn't, go on 5 hours of sleep in our 20s, if affects us more when we're in our 40s and 50s. Good, nourishing food in moderation, fresh air, sunlight, and exercise, rest, and great social contacts from the start make life longer and more worthwhile.

That sounds wonderful. I've taken to drinking catnip tea to help me relax, but the fact that I was stressed enough to be prescribed valerian (which has the same properties as catnip, which is why I'm drinking catnip tea), shows a big problem in my sleep habits. <br />
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...yeah, heading to bed now. It is quite late indeed.

Very educational. thanks for the 411.