Segmented Sleep Lost to Artificial Light


Mon, Nov 10th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Beautifully written — probably written at night — aeon's Karen Emslie looks at our lack of broken sleep. By sleeping uninterrupted throughout the night, we no longer wake up in the middle of it to think, make love and be creative. The culprit? The lightbulb.

The Romans, Greeks and Incas woke up without iPhone alarms or digital radio clocks. Nature was their timekeeper: the rise of the sun, the dawn chorus, the needs of the field or livestock. Sundials and hourglasses recorded the passage of time until the 14th century when the first mechanical clocks were erected on churches and monasteries. By the 1800s, mechanical timepieces were widely worn on neck chains, wrists or lapels; appointments could be made and meal- or bed-times set.



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