The ideal of eight hours of sleep is an invention of modern times – a dangerous one. Our ancestors could least better, they slept in two phases. In between: praying, talking, smoking and sex.
In January 2012 came the film “The City Dark,” which deals with “light pollution”
Who wants to sleep well, dreams only of one: eight hours of sleep at a stretch. The sleep is interrupted, it means stress. Nod off quickly, then it means the currency, because the workday is just a few hours.
More and more of those affected access about to sleeping pills, although shorten this new, according to a study the lives – and have not often: “Only 20 percent of the patients we achieved with tablets really have a feel-good sleep, with more than 70 percent, he remains disturbed,” says sleep researchers Ingo Fietze
The “chicken hormone” to the “best time of conception”
The conventional wisdom from the ideal sleep is a March The majority of human history, we have slept in phases. Psychologist Thomas Wehr pointed to the early 90s in an experiment: He had a group over a month 14 hours a day in the dark. After four weeks, the subjects developed a new sleep rhythm: They slept three to five hours, awoke for an hour or two, and then declined for three to four hours away.
Actually, this knowledge is as old as the Western world. Homer mentioned the so-called “first sleep” already in the 8th Century BC in his “Odyssey”. In ancient and medieval times was the awakening after the first nap than usual. Increases in the body in the wake of the prolactin level Intermezzo: The hormone makes for breeding chickens to ensure that they remain seated on their eggs. Since that time only the wealthy could afford candles, sold our ancestors, the time between the stages of sleep, praying, chatting, smoking – or sex. “After the first sleep you have more fun”, the French physician Laurent Joubert suggested (1529-1583), couples with infertility. Then it could be “do better” and have success if they were “immediately after” go to sleep.
The drug Light
Sleep researchers army noticed that the sleep interruption to the state of meditation is not dissimilar and often occurs after heavy REM sleep, in which people dream. The wax layer was formerly used to process these dreams, take the ten percent of our lifetime. 100000-200000 dreams we experience in that range on average.
The phenomenon that in the 17 Century heralded the end of a healthy two-phase sleep seems trivial today: artificial lighting. She has physical effects on our body. “Every time we turn on a light, we take a drug that affects sleep, as we inadvertently,” the biologist Charles Czeisler explains chrono with a view to changes in temperature and the sleep hormone melatonin.
From 1667 began to cities such as Paris and Lille, to illuminate the streets with candles. Amsterdam in 1669 led an oil lamp. A gas lamp appears twelve times brighter than a candle, a light bulb 100 times more: the illumination of the night has extended the hours to be worked out in the social prestige or income. Activities were shifted to the night: theater and cafes and last but not least the further reformation changed the living habits. Since the church had armed services will be held at night and sometimes in secret.
“Many people wake up at night and get panic»
Industrialization is the final step – there was the two-piece sleep definitely compressed. That the good old habit is forgotten, is now a problem. “Many people wake up at night and get panic,” says neuro-researcher Russell Foster of the University of Oxford, the BBC. Sleep psychologist Gregg Jacobs adds: “For most of the time evolution we have slept in a certain way. It is a normal part of human physiology, waking up at night. “
How mad is our belief that we need to sleep eight hours, also shows a view into other cultures: Carol Worthman of Emory University in Atlanta has among African peoples, but also in Pakistan and Indonesia found multiphase sleeper. Animals also exhibit this pattern, which have a clear advantage in nature: “When we lived in the open exposed savanna would have us sound sleep made vulnerable to predators,” recalls the anthropologist.