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Sleep in parts

benjamin-franklin.jpgMore surprising still, Ekirch reports that for many centuries, and perhaps back to Homer, Western society slept in two shifts. People went to sleep, got up in the middle of the night for an hour or so, and then went to sleep again. Thus night ? divided into a ?first sleep? and ?second sleep? ? also included a curious intermission. ?There was an extraordinary level of activity,? Ekirch told me. People got up and tended to their animals or did housekeeping. Others had sex or just lay in bed thinking, smoking a pipe, or gossiping with bedfellows. Benjamin Franklin took ?cold-air baths,? reading naked in a chair.

So says a November 11, 2007 New York Times Magazine report.

Improbable Research