June 4, 2017

I'm a morning person, obviously, or this would be terrible.

I'm interested in the "first sleep, second sleep" approach to sleeping. But what's the best interval? In the past 24 hours, I slept from 9:30 to 2:30 and then from 10 to 1. That can't be right! But I feel great, especially since I'm experiencing the day as 2 completely fresh mornings.

28 comments:

BDNYC said...

Isn't "first sleep, second sleep" more of a winter thing?

lgv said...

That's not 2nd sleep. That's a long nap during the day. My two sleep routine was 9-1 or 2 and 3-5 or 4-6.

Bruce Hayden said...

I have long been a two sleep person. Almost 30 years ago, I got through law school, while working full time, that way. I would sleep several hours, wake up, study, sleep some more, wake up, go to work, then school, and home. Rinse and repeat for three years. It worked because for much of my adult life, I have wasted the time between first sleep and second sleep, such as, for example, commenting on Ann's blogs. My problem right now is that my partner is a one sleep person, who sleeps extremely for 2-3 hours, lightly after that, and typically can't fall back asleep if I wake her up in that latter period. Which means that if I wake up too late from my first sleep, and then get up, waking her up, she is grumpy the next couple of days from lack of sleep. And she insists that it is my fault. Right. She should have figured this out almost 20 years ago when we first got together.

Marc Puckett said...

For several years, I slept from 7:30 or 8 to midnight and then until just before 6:00 from, oh, between 2 and 3. One adjusts. I still, some 20 odd years later, wake up after about four and a half hours of sleep.

Paul Ciotti said...

Ben Franklin (to whom I am distantly related) used to do the first sleep, second sleep routine. He'd be up in the middle of the night reading books naked. I also read that peasants, in the days before the Industrial Revolution, followed that schedule as well. They'd go to bed early, sleep four hours, lie awake in bed, where it was warm, and chat with their wives.

Paul Ciotti said...

Bruce Hayden, have you considered separate beds? Great invention for us older folks.

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

I'm an extreme morning person, as well. My ideal sleep time would be 8:30 - 3:30 for one sleep or 8:30 to 1:30 then have coffee, read, etc. for a few hours then sleep about another 1-2 hours then do some type of workout. I slept like this when I lived alone or when my daughter was small and it was just me and her. My family situation now won't allow this and I end up on a more conventional type schedule but I am not nearly as productive with reading/working or exercise as a result.

Bruce Hayden said...

@Paul - separate bedrooms in AZ, which works out decently well, except that we get out of practice for MT, where the other bedrooms are upstairs. Which means that I will typically end up on one of the (too short) sofas in the living room for my second sleep. We tried separate twin beds a couple years ago, but she didn't do well with that, going back and forth between sprawled out and fetal position throughout the night.

Bruce Hayden said...

It is, maybe, an interesting adaption to living in northern latitudes. I would be interested in seeing if there were a racial component to this two sleep phenomenon, as there are to other things like malaria resistance and vitamin D deficiency.

David said...

This is what happens when you "retire." Your schedule isn't influencing your sleep times as much. Right now you are experimenting. You will settle into something that works for you and Meade.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

"2 completely fresh mornings" - I think your second morning is what we call afternoon. With another 3 hour nap, you can have a third morning this evening.

ALP said...

"But I feel great...."

Then you are doing it right.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The second sleep is a natural thing. Laying there and worrying about going back to sleep is only going to make it worse.

My schedule generally.....8:30 to bed. Read for a bit. First sleep 9:00 to 1:30. Wake up. Visit the restroom, drink some water. Read some more. Second sleep from 2:30 or 3 (if a really good book) to 5:30 or 6am. I seldom take naps during the day but if I do, then for no more than 45 min to an hour. Any more than that, then I am groggy for the rest of the day. Plus I wake up thinking about what I "should" be doing.

Hubby likes to watch something like a science or nature documentary in the lull period at night. A show where they drone on and on in monotone and it puts you back to sleep. My daughter used to call it the 'dull channels'. I can't stand the sound because I begin to get interested in the show and start actually watching...... so he sits in our super soft plush chair with a ottoman at the other end of the master suite, and wears headphones and falls right back to sleep. Then he may (or may not) wake up and come back to bed. Alternately...one or the other of us will go into the office and sleep on the futon bed that has a nice memory foam topper.

Sleeping separately is a great idea. We need our beauty rest, especially more so as we get older :-)

Ann Althouse said...

@Bruce

A simple solution is to sleep in separate rooms (or for you to move to the other room during the early part of her sleep).

Ann Althouse said...

"This is what happens when you "retire." Your schedule isn't influencing your sleep times as much. Right now you are experimenting. You will settle into something that works for you and Meade."

I was able to do this before retiring, since I could work during any period I wanted except when a class (or meeting) was scheduled. I tended to have my classes start at 4:20 or something like that. I'm a morning person, so I put the classes in the late afternoon so I didn't overpower students with my overbearing morningosity.

Ann Althouse said...

I often took naps in the middle of the workday before retirement.

rcocean said...

Before I got married, I often took a cat nap during the Afternoon. But now I can only do it on weekends when no family matters intrude. Of course, my cat naps were usually under 1 hour. Sleeping more than that seems excessive.

My Latin American friend says fewer & fewer of his countrymen take long siestas - but older people do it more often.

He says its more healthy - but the mortality rates for Spain and Latin America don't back him up.

rcocean said...

"I tended to have my classes start at 4:20 or something like that"

I would've hated any professor with such a late start time. I always tried to get all my classes done by noon.

Bill Peschel said...

Glad to see the BBC article mention "At Day's Close: Night in Times Past." It's one of those books that make you reconsider what's normal for humans. Loved the book so much we bought a copy.

The first sleep / second sleep also allows couples to do something other than talk, which is the ideal prelude to second sleep. I find my sleep to be deeper and more refreshing afther the midnight hour. (Of course, I also get up and read, too.)

cf said...

My life history is mostly two sleep.

Grew up on the Rio Grande and my mom insisted on her daily nap, so we HAD to be still and quiet if not in true siesta. Ahhhh. I can ever since take a catnap, just like that,in my car if need be, get down to a snore breath that wakes me up, haha, eight minutes or twelve, and be restored for the rest of a challenging day.

And then that summer between college graduation and landing my first position, biorhythms were kind of new, and I was free to experiment on myself. I had freelance artwork to produce throughout the summer but no school schedule to anchor and dictate the rest.

Here is what my body did on its own accord and loved: waking between 2 am and 4 to work, up 7-10 hours, down 3 to 5 hours, up another 8, and back down to start again

The thing is, it seemed my body rolled through a 3 day sequence, where my early morning wakeup would 2 am, but the next day it would be near 4 and around 6 am the third day. And darn if somehow i would find myself back at 2 am the fourth day.

It was cool to observe and let it work on me, great to be creating while others Dream, and great to awaken in the afternoon, work done, all fresh, head out to the limestone steppingstone cliffs of Lake Travis.

All the best in Your explorations of sweet sleep and great wakings. Summer is especially ripe for it.

richlb said...

I've found myself in a first/second sleep pattern since last July. We got a new dog (a stray found tied up and almost dead in the city) and her sleeping window is shorter than our original dog. So I wake at about 530am to take her out and tackle a few small tasks before laying back down at 6am to sleep until 7. Hasn't really made me any more tired even though I sleep about an hour less than previously.

Luke Lea said...

Don't go overboard. Just because you no longer have teaching responsibilities. . . If your husband says too much maybe, maybe you should listen to him.

Josephbleau said...

In the Navy you have 4 on and 8 off rotating forward. Ain't a bad life.

Bruce Hayden said...

10 pm to 1 am First Sleep tonight. My guess right now is that I will be up now until maybe 4, which means Second Sleep maybe 4-7 am tonight. The good and bad is that the Althouse threads are light tonight. Last night First Sleep was over early thanks to a thunderstorm that came over about midnight.

jaed said...

I've wondered whether first sleep/second sleep has something to do with monastic hours. Have they found the historical pattern outside medieval Europe?

Monasteries traditionally have collective prayer several times during the night. Originally, this was every three hours, but it was modified for practicality. I came across this in Mariette in Ecstacy (fiction, but this is pretty representative):

The Winter Life of the Sisters of the Crucifixion
2:00 We rise in silence, go to choir, recite Matins.
2:30 Meditation, followed by Lauds.
3:00 Sleep, reading, or private prayer.
5:00 Second rising.


....then the main part of the day begins. That looks an awful lot like first sleep/second sleep.

TSH73 said...

Ann,
I'm about your age and involuntarily began having "1st sleep, 2nd sleep" happen a few years ago. "Sleep maintenance insomnia" in medical parlance but more likely, as i suspect you would agree, a very natural phenomenon. Was disturbing and unresponsive to pharmacology until i adapted to it. Still working, my routine has become budgeting 10 hours for sleep; bed at 9 or so, awake 3-5 hours later; i get up and read/meditate/pray (no screens) for about an hour and a half; this seems the sweet spot to go back to bed and generally fall asleep again within half an hour. Then up ~7. So, 10 hours budgeted nets me about 8 hours of sleep. Works although a bit painful at first giving up those evening waking hours.

Marc Puckett said...

jaed, See my comment, toward the beginning of the thread. I wondered if anyone would think about the night office. :-)

jaed said...

;-)