Just finished reading…

At Day’s Close: a history of nighttime, by A. Roger Ekirch. It’s a social history of what people did before they invented lighting, between around 1500 – 1830.
Not the sort of thing that I read normally – lots and lots of referenced quotes, more or less at random, but I found it endlessly fascinating. For one thing, it’s a great source of bawdy early modern English phrases. I also learned that before the advent of artificial lighting, most people slept in two distinct phases with a waking period inbetween at around midnight. Literature of the time refers to “first sleep”, a phrase which gradually disappears as our circadian rhythms altered.

One thought on “Just finished reading…

  1. chris

    Interesting. I’ve found over the years that I cannot sleep through the night if I go to bed between 9-11pm. I wake up for a couple of hours after midnight. Perhaps I have retrograde circadian rhythms?

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