Sleeping Eight Hours Does Not Come Naturally

Stephanie Hegarty writes that requiring eight, unbroken hours of sleep is a myth.

In the early 1990s, psychiatrist Thomas Wehr conducted an experiment in which a group of people were plunged into darkness for 14 hours every day for a month.

It took some time for their sleep to regulate but by the fourth week the subjects had settled into a very distinct sleeping pattern. They slept first for four hours, then woke for one or two hours before falling into a second four-hour sleep.

Hegarty goes on to describe how this segmented sleeping pattern used to be more normal and accepted. This resonates because it is exactly what my body wants to do, only my modern schedule and family responsibilities punish me for it.

[Cross-posted at The Incidental Economist]

Austin Frakt

Austin Frakt is a health economist and an assistant professor at Boston University's School of Medicine and School of Public Health. He blogs at The Incidental Economist.