The History of Sleep

Although sleep is an essential part of human life, we are still learning about the real reasons as to why we really need it. 

Throughout history, people have faced this question and puzzled over the importance and necessity of human rest. 

Check out these historical sleep facts below, to discover how sleep has baffled us for centuries.

We used to separate sleep into two parts

Although it might seem strange to think it, sleeping in one eight hour chunk is a relatively new concept.

Before the industrial revolution, people actually split their sleep into two sections- creating a first and a second sleep.

After a few hours of rest, they would wake for one hour, during which they would talk, cook food or play games, before heading back to bed!

People believed God communicated with them through their sleep.

People used to believe that sleep was the period in which God entered their minds.

Ancient societies such as the Egyptians and the Ancient Greeks practiced this, believing that their mind became the possession of the Gods once they fell to sleep.

We used to think sleep was demonic possession.

Although you might dread waking up for work in the modern day, in the medieval period, people thought themselves lucky to be waking up at all.

In a period of disease and suspicion, many people believed that sleep made the body vulnerable to demons and witchcraft.

Tokens were placed around the bed and symbols scratched into the walls to protect the occupants!

The Ancient Greeks had an interesting theory…

When it comes to sleep theories, it looks like the Ancient Greeks had an idea closest to the truth.

They believed that sleep is caused by a rush of blood to our stomachs, causing us to feel drowsy.

Whilst this isn’t entirely true, digestion does occur whilst we sleep, and is aided of course by our resting state. Nearly there Ancient Greeks!

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