For a while now I have been fascinated by how our ancestors slept. I have read about hunter-gatherers, but also stayed closer to home and in time closer to home. Even in the 1800s people didn't sleep like we do now, the 8 hour stretch. This started with the industrial revolution and people, and children, needed to go away from home to work. Therefore they needed to sleep in 1 blow as they needed to get up early again. Street lights and other novelties made more light available as well, which inhibits sleep.
In the times of the cottage industry it didn't matter when and how people slept. They slept when they were tired and worked and lived the rest of the time. Usually this meant that they would sleep when it would get dark and get up when it would get light again. But this also meant that their nights were much longer than our 8 hours, more like 12 hours. So what often happened was that people would wake up after about 4 hours, would get up and do stuff, such as tending the fire, reading, writing, praying or such. Things that could easily be done in the night, and after a while get back to bed again for another 3 to 4 hours. I have also read about people actually doing some left housework, some handwork or such. Things that could easily be done by candle light.
As i love reading historical fiction, such as Poldark, Outlander and such I was amazed to see this phenomenon of "first and second sleep" mentioned in some of those books as well. I really like this and wonder whether I would feel more fit when I would try doing that.
Just now I read a fascinating article about the whole thing, which is much longer than what I just wrote above. Though I think it could benefit people to go back to a more natural way of life, the writer of the article is of a different opinion.
Here is the link: Your ancestors didn't sleep like you