Try Bimodal Sleep If You Wake up Frequently at Night
A common misconception is that the only way to fall asleep is to stay in bed for 7-8 hours straight until you’re done. If you find it difficult to fall asleep for so long, try sleeping twice a night.
As sleep researchers Dr. Melinda Jackson and Dr. Siobhan Banks write in The Conversation, the idea of staying asleep for one long period of time is not the only way people have slept. In fact, it was once the norm to sleep a few hours at dusk, wake up briefly in the middle of the night, and then fall asleep again until morning. This is called bimodal sleep patterns. For those who find it difficult to sleep at night, it is best to get up immediately after waking up:
Anthropologists have found evidence that bimodal sleep was the norm in preindustrial Europe. The onset of sleep was determined not by the established time of going to bed, but by whether there was anything to do. In the book by the historian A. Roger Ekirch, At Dusk : A Night in the Past , households retired at this time a couple of hours after dusk, woke up a few hours later for an hour or two, and then slept until dawn.
During this waking period, people would relax, contemplate their dreams, or have sex. Some of them sewed, chopped wood, or read by relying on the light of the moon or oil lamps.
Of course, if you’re already sleeping well and feeling rested throughout the day, there’s no reason to change your habits. However, if you’re struggling to get enough sleep, it might be worth considering if the stereotypical pattern is working for you. If you often wake up in the middle of the night, it is better to get up to do something rather than gaze at the ceiling.
We used to have two dreams instead of one? Should we again | Conversation through Inc.