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The Sociology of Disorders

The Big Idea for Friday, April 19, 2013

Before artificial light was bent to our will, most people would retire shortly after dusk, sleep for four or five hours, awaken for an hour or two, then drift back to sleep again until sunrise.

Doesn't that sound nice?

"Our sleep patterns have only shifted to the current 8-hour consolidated pattern in the decades since electric light became readily available," notes Ross Pomeroy in today's lesson. In other words, technology is the sleep disrupter. Or rather, technology is the sleep enabler, since our natural state was full of sleep disruptions. 

Early humans didn't sleep the same way we do. Pre-industrial couples would wake up in the middle of the night and have sex. But not only that. As Pomeroy reports, they also "did chores, took care of infants, wrote, read, ate, and quietly contemplated life."




  1. 1 We Don't Sleep Like We Used To
    Ross Pomeroy Experts' Corner
  2. 2 This Brain Goes to 11—And Won’t Shut Up!
    Shelby Harris
  3. 3 Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep
    Sam McNerney Moments of Genius
  4. 4 How Sleep Contributes to Weight Loss
    Jonny Bowden

The Sociology of Disorders

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