Jones Smiles - March 2019

THE HISTORY OF SNOOZING HOWTHE ART OF SLEEP HAS CHANGED OVER TIME

There are few things in life that feel better than crawling into a comfy bed after a long day. Sleep is an essential part of human health. After a mere 24 hours of sleep deprivation, bodily functions and mental faculties start to go haywire, and 11 days seems to be the longest a person can live without sleep. While people acknowledge that sleep has always been a necessary part of human existence, very few know how drastically nightly routines have changed over time. Here are three significantly different historical approaches to sleep.

by the 1920s, this practice of having two sleep sessions each night entirely receded from the social consciousness. Historians attribute this shift to innovations in artificial lighting and work schedules during the Industrial Revolution that required workers to stay up longer and sleep less.

COZY BLANKETS

Most people find it difficult to sleep without some kind of covering, like a blanket, over their bodies. While researchers of the past entertained the idea that blankets offer some kind of primal protection for sleepers, they now believe the coverings help with temperature regulation, as maintaining a comfortable body temperature is necessary for good sleep. However, according to a recent study conducted in Sweden, weighted blankets help with much more than just temperature. Due to the added pressure, weighted blankets provide deep pressure touch (DPT), which increases the body’s amount of serotonin — a chemical that helps decrease blood pressure and rapid heart rate. Because of the effects of increased serotonin, weighted blankets are believed to help with anxiety and insomnia. While sleep patterns may change over time, the human need for sleep will not. As you crawl into your bed tonight, take some time to think about the way your ancestors approached their nightly snooze sessions. It’ll put you to sleep faster than counting sheep.

BRAIN FLOODS

For centuries, theorists associated sleep with blood loss and other health problems. But by the 1800s, notable physicians blamed sleep on a process known as congestion theory. In this theory, sleep was thought to be brought on by an overwhelming flow of blood to the brain, effectively flooding it and sending sleepers into a dreamlike state.

SLEEP GAPS

While many modern sleep experts support the consecutive eight- hour sleep regimen, historically, people had completely different sleep schedules. Medieval society actually had two sleep sessions a night — known as biphasic sleep — with a gap of wakefulness in between to eat, pray, talk, read, or write by candlelight. But

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