BBC News – The myth of the eight-hour sleep

Many people wake up at night and panic,” he says. “I tell them that what they are experiencing is a throwback to the bi-modal sleep pattern.” But the majority of doctors still fail to acknowledge that a consolidated eight-hour sleep may be unnatural. “Over 30% of the medical problems that doctors are faced with stem directly or indirectly from sleep. But sleep has been ignored in medical training and there are very few centres where sleep is studied,” he says.

I always enjoy keeping up with research on sleep. It has to be the subject least well understood, with arguably with the most potential to improve our lives and, at work, our productivity. This article discusses the notion that our sleep used to be done in 2x 4 hours… much like the army does. What we know is that the first few hours of sleep are deeper and more reposing. During the last few hours of a night’s sleep, the amount of deep sleep (stage 3-4 non-REM) is less and, the ability to fall back asleep becomes increasingly difficult if you have been woken. Personally, I would subscribe to a 2x 4-hour sessions, albeit I typically need no more than 6 1/2-7.

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