Magazine article Psychology Today

Rewriting the Rules of Bedtime

Magazine article Psychology Today

Rewriting the Rules of Bedtime

Article excerpt

IF THE BILLIONSof dollars spent annually on sleeping aids tell us anything, sleep can be as frustrating as it is vital. In his new book, Wild Nights, Emory University professor Benjamin Reiss, a scholar of American literature and culture, traces the surprising modern history of sleep, including our attempts to tame it. -JOSHUA ALVAREZ

BEFORE 1800: Communal sleepingand segmented sleep (two periods of sleep with an hour or two in between) were typical across cultures. In most homes, rooms and beds were shared. "The nuclear family-based arrangements common today were not imaginable in most parts of the world," Reiss says. "People simply did not have sufficient space."

MID TO LATE 1800: Dedicated bedrooms became common in North America and Europe. Communal sleeping faded, the book explains, as "high-minded authorities (concerned about hygiene and Victorian propriety) actively tried to eliminate It."

LATE 1800S : Sleep condensed In one block replaced segmented sleep in the West. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.