Today’s Big Idea
The Sociology of Disorders
We don't sleep the way we used to. In the pre-industrial past, when the sun went down, the mass of humanity would go to bed. For a short period of time, anyway. They would wake up after four or five hours, and then do all sorts of things like have sex, do chores and take care of babies. Then they would go back to bed.
Technology changed all of that, as we have become consolidated sleepers. The current 8-hour consolidated pattern has emerged in the decades since electric light became readily available. This technology has created great benefits. People can stay up and read, as well as partake in other beneficial pursuits in the hours after work that would have been impossible in the dark.
So technology is both a sleep disrupter as well as a sleep enabler, since our natural state was full of sleep disruptions. In today's lesson, Ross Pomeroy looks at some of the surprising health consequences of sleep disorders, and how it impacts your life.