You'll Never Guess How Your Ancestors Slept
We may know the names, dates of birth, professions and stories about our ancestors, but many questions still remain. We often know very little about many of their day-to-day activities.
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Take sleep, for example. We can assume that our grandparents sleeping patterns were similar to ours, but what about our distant ancestors? How did our grandparents’ grandparents, and our grandparents’ grandparents’ grandparents sleep?
According to recent research, our ancestors slept very differently than we sleep today! In the early 20th century, it was less common to have one long nighttime sleep, and most people slept in two big chunks at night.
It was found that over a 12-hour period, people would sleep for 3-4 hours, wake for a couple of hours, and then sleep again until morning. This was the accepted sleep pattern until the early 1900s.
So what exactly did people do in between their two sleeps? Stay in bed? Most opinions suggest that people probably read or spent time with their family members. It’s assumed that religious people would use the time to pray or reflect.
If this was the common practice, why don’t we still sleep in two shifts? When did this change?
This practice died out shortly after the turn of the 20th century, after the invention of street lights and later electric indoor lighting. When there were more street lights on the streets, going out at nights became less dangerous, and the streets were no longer dominated by criminals. People began socializing or working into the night, and the concept of two sleeps disappeared.
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