The myth of eight hour sleep and why that's a good thing for bread bakers
I have read a lot of posts on TFL where people talk about the losing sleep, or refusing to lose sleep, because of breadbaking. Personally, I find that me, my breads, and my cat all seem to wake up at 4 a.m. and I've stopped fighting it.
I read an interesting article recently titled The Myth of the Eight-Hour Sleep about scientific and historic evidence that an eight hour sleep pattern is unnatural. Instead, the more natural pattern is to sleep in two distinct chunks -- typically a four hour chunk followed by 1 – 2 hours of wakefulness then another four hours of sleep. Historic references frequently refer to “first sleep” and “second sleep." People used that period of wakefulness between sleeps to engage in a variety of activities (prayer, meditation, sex, visiting neighbors, etc) which may have helped regulate stress. Apparently, this "bi-modal sleep pattern" started fading in the late 17th century (starting with upper classes who could afford candlight and expanding as street lights, gas lamps etc. became more ubiquitous) and by the 1920s it had disappeared from our social consciousness.
The article came to mind when I got up at 4 a.m last Saturday to shape my sd boules. I find it comforting to know that I'm not some crazy obsessive but simply in sync with the natural rythms of body, bread (and cat).
Anyway, I recommend the article and would be interested in hearing the thoughts/experiences of others.