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Day 6 Doubts About TMS

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Laudisco, Oct 13, 2014.

  1. Laudisco

    Laudisco Well known member

    At the moment I don't have any conscious doubts about the TMS diagnosis, yet I still have doubts about being able to recover completely. These are the main issues I'm struggling with:
    • The fatigue is so hard to fight, so I'm afraid that if I ignore it and just do my normal day to day activities I will get even more exhausted and burned out. I'm trying to work out what is the best way to overcome this, because the fatigue and tiredness also tends to make me feel negative and down - so it's harder to be positive and optimistic about my recovery.
    • I worry that maybe my emotional issues are so intense and challenging that it will be nearly impossible to recover, or it may take many months. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and feel like I must be a "hard case" even though I know consciously that my issues are not any worse than most other people!
    • It often seems hard to believe or comprehend that the symptoms are really in my control, because it often feels so overwhelming and unpredictable. At times I feel powerless to do anything about it.
  2. Laudisco

    Laudisco Well known member

    Also, I had a positive experience with the muscle relaxation/meditation exercise. I have done similar things before, but usually in a lying down position. I found it helpful and even though my mind wandered quite a bit, I realised I could learn to focus my mind and relax more. It also helped me to realise that I struggle with being aware of what is going on around me, so it's important for me to "stop and smell the roses" so to speak.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is wonderful progress, Laudisco. You're living in the present, focusing on what is going on NOW and relaxing.
    Remember deep breathing. It's so important. And visualize yourself in a calm, sunny, warm, peaceful place.
    Listen to the sounds, feel the warmth, smell the roses. Bless you.
  4. Laudisco

    Laudisco Well known member

    Thanks Walt! I'm making progress slowly but surely. I also like to visualise myself as a horse, with lots of energy, as I love horses and the way they move.

    Another image I like to think about is a soaring eagle, as it reminds me of the Scripture "those who hope in the Lord will rise on wings like eagles, they will run and not be weary, they will walk and not be faint".
  5. blake

    blake Well known member

    Hi Laudisco,

    I felt the same way as you: I believed in TMS, but not that I could acutally heal. I think in my case it was because of a deep sense of unworthiness. With the journaling, I was able to get at a lot of repressed emotions, which helped me feel a lot better about myself. Plus, thanks to the positive reinforcement and support I found on this forum, I started to see myself differently: I now feel I am worthy and I can heal just like everyone else. I don't know exactly when that change happened for me, but it did. And since then, I stopped looking at the calendar. I just know and trust that I will be completely pain free at some point. When I do experience pain, I tell myself that it's because I still having things to learn about myself.
    Laudisco and Judith like this.
  6. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Laudisco, are you getting t thirty minutes a day of aerobic exercise?
  7. Laudisco

    Laudisco Well known member

    I'm starting to get back into it - I went back to the gym today for half an hour, which was good. The fatigue still came back afterwards, but I'm glad I went back. I'm planning to go back to the gym more frequently, as I stopped when I thought the tiredness was due to a virus. I assumed that the virus would pass, but it's been six weeks so I think I really need some exercise again!
    Tennis Tom likes this.
  8. Laudisco

    Laudisco Well known member

    Also, thank you so much for sharing Blake!! I really appreciate it. :)
  9. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    GOOD! You need MINDBODY strength and fitness to fight the gremlin.
  10. blackdog

    blackdog Peer Supporter

    Hi Laudisco,

    I struggle with fatigue as well. In my case it is from insomnia, depression and anxiety. This started around the beginning of the year and I too wonder how much energy to exert (i.e. look for work or not). Recently, I have really started to see that I need so badly to stop trying so hard. All my life I have tried and tried to feel better somehow, because I had a hard time having faith or trust and letting things be. It is becoming clearer to me that this is crushing me and keeping soooo much tension trapped in my body. It is hard to not want to control things when I am in so much pain (physical, psychic, spiritual - it's all the same). I believe that the more I can let go of needing to be in control and trying so hard to manufacture my life circumstances (including controlling the symptoms), the more I will have an opportunity to build faith and trust and the more that I can stop trying (like a good cycle instead of the viscous ones I am used to). This is versus tying so hard and not getting anywhere, so feeling helpeless, so trying harder and so on. You can see the dliemma there, right? I am starting to believe that the symptoms are not in my control, so I have to let go in order for them to heal. I feel that is the only way to let the tension go from my mindbody. I told my TMS counselor yesterday that it is so hard to do because the fatigue and the insomnia are so horribly frightening to me and he told me that, yes, TMS will go for your most vulnerable areas. It is very difficult to accept, like it shouldn't be happening or is not fair, but that is more TMS psychology at work. Although in a way it isn't fair, it also is I guess, because it is what is happening. What it boiled down to in my therapy session was whether I really want to live in the condition that I am in. When he was able to help me see that I have a deep desire to live and compassion for myself, I could see that I do want to live despite how difficult my life is right now (and has always been to a degree). That was the most compassion that I have ever felt for myself and I felt part of something let go. Last night and today I feel more like it may be OK to see how hard I try and maybe accept my situation a bit more and allow myself to not try as hard. I feel like you are having some of these difficulties, so I hope this is of some help to you. We could all use a little more self-compassion and acceptance. Wishing you well,


    P.S. Feeling down or depressed from fatigue is another TMS symptom and can be viewed that way, although I often find it to be very difficult. Having said that, and others may disagree, seeing a doctor for medication management for these kinds of symptoms may be necessary, depending on their severity, until one has made enough progress in their work to stop taking them. Like I said, others may disagree, but they should probably be people who have had these particular symptoms.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2014
  11. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Laudisco.
    It would help you a lot if you could get better sleep.
    Your insomnia is most likely TMS, so I hope you will keep working the ESP.

    My routine for sleep is while in bed, make the room dark, turn the clock so you can't see the time,
    breathe deeply, say a relaxing mantra I like "Every day in every way I'm getting better."
    If not asleep yet, count backwards from 100 to 1. It pushes worry out of your mind.
    Or say, "I'll think about all that tomorrow."

    But here are some Internet tips on getting better sleep. Hope they help.

    How to sleep better tip 1: Keep a regular sleep schedule
    Getting in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle—your circadian rhythm—is one of the most important strategies for achieving good sleep. If you keep a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, you will feel much more refreshed and energized than if you sleep the same number of hours at different times. This holds true even if you alter your sleep schedule by only an hour or two. Consistency is vitally important.

    • Set a regular bedtime. Go to bed at the same time every night. Choose a time when you normally feel tired, so that you don’t toss and turn. Try not to break this routine on weekends when it may be tempting to stay up late. If you want to change your bedtime, help your body adjust by making the change in small daily increments, such as 15 minutes earlier or later each day.
    • Wake up at the same time every day. If you’re getting enough sleep, you should wake up naturally without an alarm. If you need an alarm clock to wake up on time, you may need to set an earlier bedtime. As with your bedtime, try to maintain your regular wake-time even on weekends.
    • Nap to make up for lost sleep. If you need to make up for a few lost hours, opt for a daytime nap rather than sleeping late. This strategy allows you to pay off your sleep debt without disturbing your natural sleep-wake rhythm, which often backfires in insomnia and throws you off for days.
    • Be smart about napping. While taking a nap can be a great way to recharge, especially for older adults, it can make insomnia worse. If insomnia is a problem for you, consider eliminating napping. If you must nap, do it in the early afternoon, and limit it to thirty minutes.
    • Fight after-dinner drowsiness. If you find yourself getting sleepy way before your bedtime, get off the couch and do something mildly stimulating to avoid falling asleep, such as washing the dishes, calling a friend, or getting clothes ready for the next day. If you give in to the drowsiness, you may wake up later in the night and have trouble getting back to sleep.
    Discovering your optimal sleep schedule
    Find a period of time (a week or two should do) when you are free to experiment with different sleep and wake times. Go to bed at the same time every night and allow yourself to sleep until you wake up naturally. No alarm clocks! If you’re sleep deprived, it may take a few weeks to fully recover. But as you go to bed and get up at the same time, you’ll eventually land on the natural sleep schedule that works best for you.

    How to sleep better tip 2: Naturally regulate your sleep-wake cycle
    Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin production is controlled by light exposure. Your brain should secrete more in the evening, when it’s dark, to make you sleepy, and less during the day when it’s light and you want to stay awake and alert. However, many aspects of modern life can disrupt your body’s natural production of melatonin and with it your sleep-wake cycle.

    Spending long days in an office away from natural light, for example, can impact your daytime wakefulness and make your brain sleepy. Then bright lights at night—especially from hours spent in front of the TV or computer screen—can suppress your body’s production of melatonin and make it harder to sleep. However, there are ways for you to naturally regulate your sleep-wake cycle, boost your body’s production of melatonin, and keep your brain on a healthy schedule.

    Increase light exposure during the day
    • Remove your sunglasses in the morning and let light onto your face.
    • Spend more time outside during daylight. Try to take your work breaks outside in sunlight, exercise outside, or walk your dog during the day instead of at night.
    • Let as much light into your home/workspace as possible. Keep curtains and blinds open during the day, and try to move your desk closer to the window.
    • If necessary, use a light therapy box. A light therapy box can simulate sunshine and can be especially useful during short winter days when there’s limited daylight.
    Boost melatonin production at night
    • Turn off your television and computer. Many people use the television to fall asleep or relax at the end of the day, and this is a mistake. Not only does the light suppress melatonin production, but television can actually stimulate the mind, rather than relaxing it. Try listening to music or audio books instead, or practicing relaxation exercises. If your favorite TV show is on late at night, record it for viewing earlier in the day.
    • Don’t read from a backlit device at night (such as an iPad). If you use a portable electronic device to read, use an eReader that is not backlit, i.e. one that requires an additional light source such as a bedside lamp.
    • Change your bright light bulbs. Avoid bright lights before bed, use low-wattage bulbs instead.
    • When it’s time to sleep, make sure the room is dark. The darker it is, the better you’ll sleep. Cover electrical displays, use heavy curtains or shades to block light from windows, or try a sleep mask to cover your eyes.
    • Use a flashlight to go to the bathroom at night. If you wake up during the night to use the bathroom—as long as it’s safe to do so—keep the light to a minimum so it will be easier to go back to sleep.
    How to sleep better tip 3: Create a relaxing bedtime routine
    If you make a consistent effort to relax and unwind before bed, you will sleep easier and more deeply. A peaceful bedtime routine sends a powerful signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down and let go of the day’s stresses.

    Make your bedroom more sleep friendly
    • Keep noise down. If you can’t avoid or eliminate noise from barking dogs, loud neighbors, city traffic, or other people in your household, try masking it with a fan, recordings of soothing sounds, or white noise. You can buy a special sound machine or generate your own white noise by setting your radio between stations. Earplugs may also help.
    • Keep your room cool. The temperature of your bedroom also affects sleep. Most people sleep best in a slightly cool room (around 65° F or 18° C) with adequate ventilation. A bedroom that is too hot or too cold can interfere with quality sleep.
    • Make sure your bed is comfortable. You should have enough room to stretch and turn comfortably. If you often wake up with a sore back or an aching neck, you may need to invest in a new mattress or a try a different pillow. Experiment with different levels of mattress firmness, foam or egg crate toppers, and pillows that provide more or less support.
    Reserve your bed for sleeping and sex
    If you associate your bed with events like work or errands, it will be harder to wind down at night. Use your bed only for sleep and sex. That way, when you go to bed, your body gets a powerful cue: it’s time to either nod off or be romantic.

    Relaxing bedtime rituals to try
    • Read a book or magazine by a soft light
    • Take a warm bath
    • Listen to soft music
    • Do some easy stretches
    • Wind down with a favorite hobby
    • Listen to books on tape
    • Make simple preparations for the next day
    How to sleep better tip 4: Eat right and get regular exercise
    Your daytime eating and exercise habits play a role in how well you sleep. It’s particularly important to watch what you put in your body in the hours leading up to your bedtime.

    • Stay away from big meals at night. Try to make dinnertime earlier in the evening, and avoid heavy, rich foods within two hours of bed. Fatty foods take a lot of work for your stomach to digest and may keep you up. Also be cautious when it comes to spicy or acidic foods in the evening, as they can cause stomach trouble and heartburn.
    • Avoid alcohol before bed. Many people think that a nightcap before bed will help them sleep, but it's counterintuitive. While it may make you fall asleep faster, alcohol reduces your sleep quality, waking you up later in the night. To avoid this effect, stay away from alcohol in the hours before bed.
    • Cut down on caffeine. You might be surprised to know that caffeine can cause sleep problems up to ten to twelve hours after drinking it! Consider eliminating caffeine after lunch or cutting back your overall intake.
    • Avoid drinking too many liquids in the evening. Drinking lots of water, juice, tea, or other fluids may result in frequent bathroom trips throughout the night. Caffeinated drinks, which act as diuretics, only make things worse.
    • Quit smoking. Smoking causes sleep troubles in numerous ways. Nicotine is a stimulant, which disrupts sleep, plus smokers experience nicotine withdrawal as the night progresses, making it hard to sleep.
    If you’re hungry at bedtime
    For some people, a light snack before bed can help promote sleep. When you pair tryptophan-containing foods with carbohydrates, it may help calm the brain and allow you to sleep better. For others, eating before bed can lead to indigestion and make sleeping more difficult. Experiment with your food habits to determine your optimum evening meals and snacks.

    If you need a bedtime snack, try:

    • Half a turkey sandwich
    • A small bowl of whole-grain, low-sugar cereal
    • Granola with low-fat milk or yogurt
    • A banana
    You’ll also sleep more deeply if you exercise regularly. You don’t have to be a star athlete to reap the benefits—as little as 20 to 30 minutes of daily activity helps. And you don’t need to do all 30 minutes in one session. You can break it up into five minutes here, 10 minutes there, and still get the benefits. Try a brisk walk, a bicycle ride, or even gardening or housework.

    Some people prefer to schedule exercise in the morning or early afternoon as exercising too late in the day can stimulate the body, raising its temperature. Even if you prefer not to exercise vigorously at night, don’t feel glued to the couch, though. Relaxing exercises such as yoga or gentle stretching can help promote sleep.

    How to sleep better tip 5: Get anxiety and stress in check
    Do you find yourself unable to sleep or waking up night after night? Residual stress, worry, and anger from your day can make it very difficult to sleep well. When you wake up or can’t get to sleep, take note of what seems to be the recurring theme. That will help you figure out what you need to do to get your stress and anger under control during the day.

    If you can’t stop yourself from worrying, especially about things outside your control, you need to learn how to manage your thoughts. For example, you can learn to evaluate your worries to see if they’re truly realistic and replace irrational fears with more productive thoughts. Even counting sheep is more productive than worrying at bedtime.

    If the stress of managing work, family, or school is keeping you awake, you may need help with stress management. By learning how to manage your time effectively, handle stress in a productive way, and maintain a calm, positive outlook, you’ll be able to sleep better at night.

    Relaxation techniques for better sleep
    Relaxation is beneficial for everyone, but especially for those struggling with sleep. Practicing relaxation techniques before bed is a great way to wind down, calm the mind, and prepare for sleep. Some simple relaxation techniques include:

    • Deep breathing. Close your eyes, and try taking deep, slow breaths, making each breath even deeper than the last.
    • Progressive muscle relaxation. Starting with your toes, tense all the muscles as tightly as you can, then completely relax. Work your way up from your feet to the top of your head.
    • Visualizing a peaceful, restful place. Close your eyes and imagine a place or activity that is calming and peaceful for you. Concentrate on how relaxed this place or activity makes you feel.
    How to sleep better tip 6: Ways to get back to sleep
    It’s normal to wake briefly during the night. In fact, a good sleeper won’t even remember it. But if you’re waking up during the night and having trouble falling back asleep, the following tips may help.

    • Stay out of your head. The key to getting back to sleep is continuing to cue your body for sleep, so remain in bed in a relaxed position. Hard as it may be, try not to stress over the fact that you’re awake or your inability to fall asleep again, because that very stress and anxiety encourages your body to stay awake. A good way to stay out of your head is to focus on the feelings and sensations in your body.
    • Make relaxation your goal, not sleep. If you find it hard to fall back asleep, try a relaxation technique such as visualization, deep breathing, or meditation, which can be done without even getting out of bed. Remind yourself that although they’re not a replacement for sleep, rest and relaxation still help rejuvenate your body.
    • Do a quiet, non-stimulating activity. If you’ve been awake for more than 15 minutes, try getting out of bed and doing a quiet, non-stimulating activity, such as reading a book. Keep the lights dim so as not to cue your body clock that it’s time to wake up. Also avoid screens of any kind—computers, TV, cell phones, iPads—as the type of light they emit is stimulating to the brain. A light snack or herbal tea might help relax you, but be careful not to eat so much that your body begins to expect a meal at that time of the day.
    • Postpone worrying and brainstorming. If you wake during the night feeling anxious about something, make a brief note of it on paper and postpone worrying about it until the next day when you are fresh and it will be easier to resolve. Similarly, if a brainstorm or great idea is keeping you awake, make a note of it on paper and fall back to sleep knowing you’ll be much more productive and creative after a good night’s rest.
    How to sleep better tip 7: Cope with shift work sleep disorder
    A disrupted sleep schedule caused by working nights or irregular shifts can lead to sleepiness in the work place, affect your mood, energy, and concentration, and increase your risk of accidents, injuries, and work-related mistakes. Shift workers tend to suffer from two problems: sleeping at home during the day and staying awake at work during the night. To avoid or limit these problems:

    • Limit the number of night or irregular shifts you work in a row to prevent sleep deprivation from mounting up. If that’s not possible, avoid rotating shifts frequently so you can maintain the same sleep schedule.
    • Avoid a long commute that reduces sleep time. Also, the more time you spend traveling home in daylight, the more awake you’ll become and the harder you’ll find it to get to sleep.
    • Drink caffeinated drinks early in your shift, but avoid them close to bedtime.
    • Take frequent breaks and use them to move around as much as possible—take a walk, stretch, or even exercise if possible.
    • Adjust your sleep-wake schedule and your body’s natural production of melatonin. Expose yourself to bright light when you wake up at night, use bright lamps or daylight-simulation bulbs in your workplace, and then wear dark glasses on your journey home to block out sunlight and encourage sleepiness.
    • Eliminate noise and light from your bedroom during the day. Use blackout curtains or a sleep mask, turn off the phone, and use ear plugs or a soothing sound machine to block out daytime noise.
    • Make sleep a priority at the weekends or on your nonworking days so you can pay off your sleep debt.
    How to sleep better tip 8: Know when to see a sleep doctor
    If you’ve tried the tips above and are still struggling with sleep problems, you may have a sleep disorder that requires professional treatment. Consider scheduling a visit with a sleep doctor if, despite your best efforts at self–help, you are still troubled by any of the following symptoms:

    • Persistent daytime sleepiness or fatigue
    • Loud snoring accompanied by pauses in breathing
    • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
    • Unrefreshing sleep
    • Frequent morning headaches
    • Crawling sensations in your legs or arms at night
    • Inability to move while falling asleep or waking up
    • Physically acting out dreams during sleep
    • Falling asleep at inappropriate times
    More help for how to sleep better
    Solving sleep problems
    Resources and references
    Tips for getting better sleep
    Twelve Simple Tips to Improve Your Sleep – Explore simple tips for making the sleep of your dreams a nightly reality. (Healthy Sleep, Harvard Medical School)

    Healthy Sleep Tips – A variety of sleep tips including bedtime snacks, exercise, room temperature, noise, and light control. (National Sleep Foundation)

    Adopt Good Sleep Habits – Learn how improving your sleep environment and sticking to a regular schedule can improve the quality of your sleep. (Get Sleep, Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep Medicine)

    Sleep Hygiene: Helpful Hints to Help You Sleep – More tips for getting better sleep. (University of Maryland Medical Center)

    Sleep environment
    The Sleep Environment – Learn about the dos and don’ts of the sleep environment and get tips for making your bedroom more sleep-friendly. (National Sleep Foundation)

    Inside your bedroom – use your senses – Your bedroom is your sanctuary from the stresses of the day. Use your senses to create the best environment for sleep (National Sleep Foundation)

    Lifestyle habits and sleep
    5 Foods that Help You Sleep: Eat right, sleep better – Food relates directly to serotonin, a key hormone that — along with Vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid — helps promote healthy sleep. (Cleveland Clinic)

    Foods That Help You Sleep – Guide to foods and bedtime snacks that can help you sleep. Also learn about foods that keep you awake. (AskDrSears.com)
  12. Laudisco

    Laudisco Well known member

    Thank you so much for sharing your story Black Dog! I was feeling quite down and out today, as I wanted to go to church and on the way to the bus stop I just felt too tired, sick and teary. I didn't want to go and cry in front of everyone, as I was planning to visit a friend's church. I ended up going back home and sleeping several more hours and I feel a bit saner now.

    Also, thanks for sharing the sleep tips Walt! I don't have a major issue with insomnia, but I've realised going to bed and getting up at irregular times is probably exacerbating my fatigue and energy issues.
  13. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle


    It's only a problem if you allow your TMS mind to make it one! Here's a great article I'll post once again. I now look forward to waking up and doing productive or un-productive things when the world is quiet (except for 6.0 earthquakes like last night when I was awake reading about Lotus 7's, the car not the petal or the position, it was quite a ride, ready to bail and run). When I want to take an afternoon nap, I fix myself a nice warm cup of coffee and I'm out like a light.


    The myth of the eight-hour sleep

    Comments (321)
    By Stephanie Hegarty BBC World Service

    We often worry about lying awake in the middle of the night - but it could be good for you. A growing body of evidence from both science and history suggests that the eight-hour sleep may be unnatural.
    In the early 1990s, psychiatrist Thomas Wehr conducted an experiment in which a group of people were plunged into darkness for 14 hours every day for a month.
    It took some time for their sleep to regulate but by the fourth week the subjects had settled into a very distinct sleeping pattern. They slept first for four hours, then woke for one or two hours before falling into a second four-hour sleep.
    Though sleep scientists were impressed by the study, among the general public the idea that we must sleep for eight consecutive hours persists.
    In 2001, historian Roger Ekirch of Virginia Tech published a seminal paper, drawn from 16 years of research, revealing a wealth of historical evidence that humans used to sleep in two distinct chunks.
    [​IMG] Roger Ekirch says this 1595 engraving by Jan Saenredam is evidence of activity at night
    His book At Day's Close: Night in Times Past, published four years later, unearths more than 500 references to a segmented sleeping pattern - in diaries, court records, medical books and literature, from Homer's Odyssey to an anthropological account of modern tribes in Nigeria.
    Much like the experience of Wehr's subjects, these references describe a first sleep which began about two hours after dusk, followed by waking period of one or two hours and then a second sleep.
    "It's not just the number of references - it is the way they refer to it, as if it was common knowledge," Ekirch says.
    During this waking period people were quite active. They often got up, went to the toilet or smoked tobacco and some even visited neighbours. Most people stayed in bed, read, wrote and often prayed. Countless prayer manuals from the late 15th Century offered special prayers for the hours in between sleeps.
    And these hours weren't entirely solitary - people often chatted to bed-fellows or had sex.

    Between segments
    Some people:
    • Jog and take photographs
    • Practise yoga
    • Have dinner...
    A doctor's manual from 16th Century France even advised couples that the best time to conceive was not at the end of a long day's labour but "after the first sleep", when "they have more enjoyment" and "do it better".
    Ekirch found that references to the first and second sleep started to disappear during the late 17th Century. This started among the urban upper classes in northern Europe and over the course of the next 200 years filtered down to the rest of Western society.
    By the 1920s the idea of a first and second sleep had receded entirely from our social consciousness.
    He attributes the initial shift to improvements in street lighting, domestic lighting and a surge in coffee houses - which were sometimes open all night. As the night became a place for legitimate activity and as that activity increased, the length of time people could dedicate to rest dwindled.

    When segmented sleep was the norm
    • "He knew this, even in the horror with which he started from his first sleep, and threw up the window to dispel it by the presence of some object, beyond the room, which had not been, as it were, the witness of his dream." Charles Dickens, Barnaby Rudge (1840)
    • "Don Quixote followed nature, and being satisfied with his first sleep, did not solicit more. As for Sancho, he never wanted a second, for the first lasted him from night to morning." Miguel Cervantes, Don Quixote (1615)
    • "And at the wakening of your first sleepe You shall have a hott drinke made, And at the wakening of your next sleepe Your sorrowes will have a slake." Early English ballad, Old Robin of Portingale
    • The Tiv tribe in Nigeria employ the terms "first sleep" and "second sleep" to refer to specific periods of the night
    Source: Roger Ekirch
    In his new book, Evening's Empire, historian Craig Koslofsky puts forward an account of how this happened.
    "Associations with night before the 17th Century were not good," he says. The night was a place populated by people of disrepute - criminals, prostitutes and drunks.
    "Even the wealthy, who could afford candlelight, had better things to spend their money on. There was no prestige or social value associated with staying up all night."
    That changed in the wake of the Reformation and the counter-Reformation. Protestants and Catholics became accustomed to holding secret services at night, during periods of persecution. If earlier the night had belonged to reprobates, now respectable people became accustomed to exploiting the hours of darkness.
    This trend migrated to the social sphere too, but only for those who could afford to live by candlelight. With the advent of street lighting, however, socialising at night began to filter down through the classes.
    In 1667, Paris became the first city in the world to light its streets, using wax candles in glass lamps. It was followed by Lille in the same year and Amsterdam two years later, where a much more efficient oil-powered lamp was developed.
    [​IMG] A small city like Leipzig in central Germany employed 100 men to tend to 700 lamps
    London didn't join their ranks until 1684 but by the end of the century, more than 50 of Europe's major towns and cities were lit at night.
    Night became fashionable and spending hours lying in bed was considered a waste of time.
    "People were becoming increasingly time-conscious and sensitive to efficiency, certainly before the 19th Century," says Roger Ekirch. "But the industrial revolution intensified that attitude by leaps and bounds."
    Strong evidence of this shifting attitude is contained in a medical journal from 1829 which urged parents to force their children out of a pattern of first and second sleep.
    "If no disease or accident there intervene, they will need no further repose than that obtained in their first sleep, which custom will have caused to terminate by itself just at the usual hour.
    "And then, if they turn upon their ear to take a second nap, they will be taught to look upon it as an intemperance not at all redounding to their credit."

    Stages of sleep
    Every 60-100 minutes we go through a cycle of four stages of sleep
    • Stage 1 is a drowsy, relaxed state between being awake and sleeping - breathing slows, muscles relax, heart rate drops
    • Stage 2 is slightly deeper sleep - you may feel awake and this means that, on many nights, you may be asleep and not know it
    • Stage 3 and Stage 4, or Deep Sleep - it is very hard to wake up from Deep Sleep because this is when there is the lowest amount of activity in your body
    • After Deep Sleep, we go back to Stage 2 for a few minutes, and then enter Dream Sleep - also called REM (rapid eye movement) sleep - which, as its name suggests, is when you dream
    In a full sleep cycle, a person goes through all the stages of sleep from one to four, then back down through stages three and two, before entering dream sleep
    Source: Gregg Jacobs
    Today, most people seem to have adapted quite well to the eight-hour sleep, but Ekirch believes many sleeping problems may have roots in the human body's natural preference for segmented sleep as well as the ubiquity of artificial light.
    This could be the root of a condition called sleep maintenance insomnia, where people wake during the night and have trouble getting back to sleep, he suggests.
    The condition first appears in literature at the end of the 19th Century, at the same time as accounts of segmented sleep disappear.
    "For most of evolution we slept a certain way," says sleep psychologist Gregg Jacobs. "Waking up during the night is part of normal human physiology."
    The idea that we must sleep in a consolidated block could be damaging, he says, if it makes people who wake up at night anxious, as this anxiety can itself prohibit sleeps and is likely to seep into waking life too.
    Russell Foster, a professor of circadian [body clock] neuroscience at Oxford, shares this point of view.
    "Many people wake up at night and panic," he says. "I tell them that what they are experiencing is a throwback to the bi-modal sleep pattern."
    But the majority of doctors still fail to acknowledge that a consolidated eight-hour sleep may be unnatural.

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    "Over 30% of the medical problems that doctors are faced with stem directly or indirectly from sleep. But sleep has been ignored in medical training and there are very few centres where sleep is studied," he says.
    Jacobs suggests that the waking period between sleeps, when people were forced into periods of rest and relaxation, could have played an important part in the human capacity to regulate stress naturally.
    In many historic accounts, Ekirch found that people used the time to meditate on their dreams.
    "Today we spend less time doing those things," says Dr Jacobs. "It's not a coincidence that, in modern life, the number of people who report anxiety, stress, depression, alcoholism and drug abuse has gone up."
    So the next time you wake up in the middle of the night, think of your pre-industrial ancestors and relax. Lying awake could be good for you.
    Craig Koslofsky and Russell Foster appeared on The Forum from the BBC World Service. Listen to the programme here.
    Do you sleep in segments? Send us your sleep stories.
    Last edited: May 22, 2014
    Tennis Tom, May 22, 2014Report
    Tennis Tom, Aug 24, 2014Report
  14. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    When I can't get to sleep I practice deep breathing and imagine myself in my favorite place...
    paddling a canoe in the northwoods wilderness of Minnesota-Ontario.
    And I tell myself that I will think about or worry about everything in the morning, not now.
    Laudisco likes this.

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