Additional Historical References to "Segmented Sleep"


“Sleep: Historical and Cultural Perspectives,” in F. Cappuccio, M.Miller, and S. Lockley, eds., Sleep, Health and Society ( Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), 163-170.
“The Inquiry,” BBC World News, June 29, 2017
“The 15 Most Interesting People in Sleep.” Van Winkle’s, June 1, 2017
•“History of Sleep: What Was Normal,” News-Medical, May 17, 2017
"Segmented Sleep in Preindustrial Societies," Sleep, March 2016, 715-716.
Arianna Huffington, "My Q and A with Roger Ekirch on the Way We Sleep, and How It's Changed Over the Centuries,” Huffington Post, June 24, 2015.
“Connecting the Segments (of Sleep),” Past & Present, March 19, 2015
“The Modernization of Western Sleep: Or, Does Insomnia Have a History?” Past & Present, February 2015, 149-192.
“Sleep Medicine in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance,” in S. Chokroverty and Michel Billiard., eds. Sleep Medicine (New York: Springer Science, 2015), 63-67.
“Segmented Sleep,” Harper’s Magazine, August 2013, 35-37.
How Much Sleep Do You Really Need," May 5, 2013, Huffington Post
“Why Do We Get Insomnia?” The Why Factor, BBC World Service, Mar. 22, 2013
“Sleep,” The Why Factor, BBC World Service, Mar. 15, 2013
Interview on “Backstory,” NPR, March 8, 201310 Fun Facts About Sleep You Didn't Kno" Geobeats, 2013
"Zzzzzzs the Day,” April 28-29, 2012, Wall Street Journal
“Nineteenth-Century Sleep Violence Cases,” Dec 2011, Sleep Medicine Clinics
“Supernatural Terrors Tamed,” Aug. 1, 2010, New York Times
• "Violence in the Land of Sleep,” Mar. 23, 2010, New York Times
• "Dreams Deferred,” Feb. 19, 2006, New York Times“A Fitful History of Sleep,” Talk of the Nation, NPR February 20, 2006

The following are excerpts from novels, poems, essays, travel accounts, newspapers, periodicals, etc., related to segmented sleep that have not been quoted in the texts of my previous publications. Rather than just passing references to segmented or biphasic sleep, of which there are more than one thousand discovered to date, most of the excerpts demonstrate that this pattern of human slumber consisted of two intervals, bridged by a period of wakefulness, with most persons, following a normal bedtime, naturally awakening after the “first sleep”- unless it was prematurely disturbed (e.g. by another individual or noise) – around midnight or in the first hours of morning. As several examples illustrate, a small minority of persons deliberately chose not to take a second sleep, though these “exceptions to the rule” often, in fact, suggest the prevalence of biphasic slumber, dominant in the Western world until the mid- to late nineteenth century. I have posted the following references, for the most part, according to their publication dates, including those that have been reprinted. I will continue to supplement this list as I come across additional examples. Thank you for your interest in my research!


* Jeremy Penner, “Nocturnal Prayer in the Dead Sea Scrolls,” Studia Liturgica, 44 (2014), note 7, p. 236.

For the term “first sleep” (protos hupnos), see, e.g., Thucydides, Hist. 2.2.1.9, 7.43.2.6; Plutarch, Lysander 28.3 and Nicias 5.3; Aristophanes, The Wasps 31; Lucian, Toxaris or Friendship 17.2. In Themistocles 28.4, Plutarch writes, “in the night, in the middle of [or “in between”] the sleeps”. Sophocles, Ajax 285: “…dead of night (achras nuchtos), when the evening lamps no longer burned.”

Suidas explains the phrase achras nuchtos as peri prōton hupnon (“around first sleep”). Cf. A. Adler, ed., Svidae Lexicon (Paris: Lipsiae, 1928–38), 1:88 [Adler #957]. In a recent article William Holladay has argued that the Hebrew noun trdmh carries with it a connotation of “first sleep:” William Holladay, “Indications of Segmented Sleep in the Bible,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 69 (2007): 215–221."


* Rutebeuf, Complete Works [1260] “De la Griesche d’Yver, p. 72.

“I start my lamentable story: a poor story! Poor brains, poor memory gave me God, the king of glory, and poor income, and cold on the ass when the wind hits me, the wind blows me away and very often at any moment I feel the wind. The grièche had promised me everything she brings me: she pays me recta, she pays me everything, for a penny she gives me back a pound of extreme poverty. Poverty fell on me again: its door was always open to me, I was always in it, I never got out. In the rain I get wet, if it is hot, I sponge myself: I am rich! I only sleep my first sleep. I can't count my fortune: I have nothing. God makes the seasons come to an end for me: summer, the black fly bites me, winter, the white fly. I am like wild wicker or like a bird on a branch: in summer, I sing in winter, I cry, I lament, I strip myself like the tree from the orchard at the first frost.” [Such was his poverty and presumably wretched sleeping conditions, Rutebeuf was able to “only sleep my first sleep.]

* Tobias Venner, Viae Rectae ad Vitam Longam (London, 1623), p. 8.

“It is best to lye first on the left side, that the meats may the better descend to the bottome of the stomacke, which toward the left side is chiefly situated, and the alimentary juice be the more easily conceived in the liver; and after the first sleep to turn to the right side; for this change doth greatly ease the body.”

*Lauquel sont contenues ses plus rares expériences pour diverses maladies, principalement des femmes, avec leurs embellissemens (Paris, 1635).

“They [pills] are taken in the evening four or five hours after the meal, or for the better in the morning after the first sleep, or in the morning.”


* Cautionary Rules for Preventing the Sickness; Published by Order of the Lord Mayor (London, 1665), p. 6.

“Three are the dose, to be taken after the first sleep, and thin broth or posset-drink to be drank three hours after.”


* Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, Marchioness of Sévigné, 1626-1696, Correspondence (Paris, 1675), I, p. 598.

“We can not travel more sadly than I do. This is the fourth time I have written to you; without what would I have become? Here is what kills me a little, it is that after my first sleep, I hear two o'clock ring, and instead of going back to sleep, I put the stew with bitter chicory; it boils until the end of the day to ride in a coach.[Rather than retire after her first sleep and hearing a bell ring two o’clock, she makes a medicinal brew of chicory, a reported source of physical and mental well being.]

* Charles Perrault, Parallel of the Ancients and Moderns . . . (Paris, 1688-1697), IV.

“Let's stay there, it would be wrong to ask more for the first time. But I have to tell you before than to dispose of my opinion of all our dispute; I put it this morning in ver [ ? ], having not been able to go back to sleep after my first sleep.”

* John Hancocke, Febrigugum Magnum: Or, Common Water . . . (London, 1723), p. 29.

“When I went to Bed I drank a glass of water, and set another by me to drink after my first sleep.”

*The Complete Family-Piece: and, Country Gentleman, and Farmer’s Best Guide (London, 1737), p. 50.

"“With half a dram of dioscordium, and let the patient take it either going to bed, or early in the morning after his first sleep.”


* A History of the Lives and Sufferings of the Principal English Protestant Martyrs . . . (London, 1746), p. 460.

“And that night, (as he had done all the way,) he eat his meat quickly, and slept his first sleep soundly, as it was reported by them of the guard . . . . After his first sleep he continued in prayer until the morning . . . .”


* Mercure de France (Paris, 1753-1754).

With respect to his private life, this is what this historian tells us about it. Marshal slept little after his first sleep, he réveilloit his Secretaty which LYING choit the feet of his bed, and he dictated to him what he had intended to make during the day: then he rendormoit, and his re ^ he had himself read what he had dictated. He often entrenched or rejoined, according to the new ideas that had come to him. It was then, continues the same historian, that he destined the officers to the various things to which he had intended to employ them. He was writing a newspaper exactly what he did, but was his fault j or that of ion son, we have lost those memories which would have done a great honor to the Nation."

* Bacon, Francis, The Works of Francis Bacon, Baron of Verulam, Viscount St. Alban, And Lord High Chancellor of England (London, 1765) I, pp. 152, 428.

“For which I have compounded an ointment of excellent odour, which I call Roman ointment; vide the receipt. The use of it would be between sleeps; for in the latter sleep the parts assimilate chiefly.”

“Once in the week, or at least in the fortnight, to take the water of mithridate distilled, with three parts to one, or strawberry water to allay it; and some grains of nitre and saffron, in the morning between sleeps.”

* The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, July 7, 1773

https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t17730707-1&div=t17730707-1&terms=first%20sleep#highlight

“Q. What o'clock did you go to bed that night?

Burn. Almost twelve.

Q. What part did you lie in?

Burn. The middle room; there are two rooms upon one floor.

Q. Where did Mrs. Whitefield lie?

Burn. In the fore room.

Q. How came you to be up so late?

Burn. My husband was in liquor, and I dare not then disturb him till he has had his first sleep.”

* The Workes of Aristotle, . . . . (London, 1777), pp. 357-58.

“When coition is over, some further directions are necessary; and therefore let the vanquished bridegroom (for he must needs be vanguished that has in the encounter lost his artillery) take heed how he retreats too soon out of the field of love, lest he should hereby leave an entrance too open, and some inimick colds should strike into the womb. But after he has given time for the matrix to close up, and make all sure, he may withdraw, and leave the bride unto her first repose; which ought to be with all the calmness that the silent night (and a mind free from all disturbing care) can give, inclining her to rest on her right side, and not removing without great occasion till she has taken her first sleep.”


*Rev. J. Collinson, The Life of Thuanus (London, 1807), p. 234.

“[N. Le Fevre] “devoted himself to a course of uninterrupted study. His biographer, M. Le Begue, relates this particularity in his manner of life: ‘After waking from his first sleep, he regularly left his bed, and, wrapping a monk’s hood round his head, in winter, exployed two hours in prayer and reading. He then enjoyed a light sleep, and arose again, in summer, with the dawn of day, and in winter at five or six o’clock.”


*Othello-Travestie: In Three Acts with Burlesque Notes . . . (London, 1813), p. 65.

“’your first sleep.’” . . . “The meaning is this: - human sleep is dividable into distinct portions of time: - the first of these is naturally most remedial to the frame: - consequently a disturbance from its balm is the more distressing.”

*The Observant Pedestrian Mounted or a Donkey Tour to Brighton (London, 1815), II, p. 23.

“I had just waked out of my first sleep, and heard the clock strike two, when the quick and repeated call of watch! fire! watch! gave me, I confess, a momentary alarm.”

*Ann Ryley, Fanny Fitz-York, Heiress of Tremorne (London, 1818), III, p. 417.

“A bright sun, and clothes of every description suited for the morning, tempted her to rise; though she was doubtful whether any of the family, except servants, would be stirring at nine o’clock. ‘Nine o’clock!’ exclaims some sluggard of fashion, ‘why, I am in my first sleep at that hour!”

*Major-General Pillet, Views of England, During a Residence of Ten Years; Six of Them as a Prisoner of War (Boston, 1818), p. 137.

“It is reckoned that in England, at least three or four women are annually executed for murdering or poisoning their husbands. The assassination is generally performed in bed. A wife who suffers from the brutality of her drunken husband, seizes him in that state, and during his first sleep."

*C. Lamb, Mrs. Leicester’s School . . . (London, 1821), p. 142.

“All this, with the dead time of night, as it seemed to me, (for I had gone through my first sleep. . . . “

*The Arabian Nights, trans. Mr. Galland (Paris, 1822), IX.

“The captain of the robbers, however, at the exit of the stable, went to give his people the order of what they had to do. Starting from the first vase to the last [where each hid], he said to each one: "When I cast small stones from the room where I am lodged, do not fail to make an opening, by slitting the vase from the top to the top. down with the knife with which you are equipped, and come out; immediately I will be yours. The knife he was talking about was sharp and sharp for this purpose.That done, he returned; and as he had come to the kitchen door, Morgiane took the light, and she led him to the room she had prepared for him, where she left him, after having asked if he needed something else. To avoid suspicion, he extinguished the light shortly afterwards, and went to bed fully clothed, ready to get up as soon as he had taken his first nap."

* Joseph Briand, Complete Manual of Hygiene, or Treaty of the means to preserve one's health; written according to the doctrine of Prof. Hallé . . . (Paris, 1826).

Not every season, every moment of the day is equally conducive to the accomplishment of the conjugal act. The time of the awakening of nature, the spring is for the man, as for all the other beings, the season where the desires are more alive, and where the life, long time repressed towards the internal organs, asks to be to spread outside. During the winter, the long nights, the more prolonged rest, the plethora which results from it, invite also sometimes to the approximation of the sexes; and, after spring, it may be the most favorable season. On the contrary, the great heat of summer and autumn, and the debilitating causes more multiplied at the approach of winter, make it a law to be more reserved then. The night is generally more suitable than the day, and the moment of waking after the first sleep is preferable at any other hour, because all the organs are then rested of the day's work and that the rest of the night will be able to repair the forces. Towards the hour of noon, on the contrary, and during all the time of the day when the senses are open to a crowd of external impressions, where the body is fatigued, where the mind is distracted, coitus enervates much more. Moreover, what is most important to avoid is to perform this act immediately after a copious meal and when the stomach is still loaded with food; for we have seen the most serious indispositions, and sometimes the apoplexy, resulting from the disturbance then experienced by the digestive functions.

*Stefano Egido Petroni, Corso di Lingua Italiana (London, 1826), p. 47-48.

"You sleep then very soundly?"

"Yes, particularly in my first sleep."

*Notes of a Bookworm: Or Selections From the Portfolio of a Literary Gentleman (London, 1828), p. 220.

“If thou desirest to take the best advantage of thyself, especially in matters where the fancy is most employed, keep temperate diet, use moderate exercise, observe seasonable and set hours for rest, and let the end of thy first sleep raise thee from thy repose; then hath thy body the best temper; thy soul the least incumbrance; then no noise shall disturb thine ear; no object shall divert thine eye; then, if ever, shall thy sprightly fancy transport thee beyond the common pitch, and shew the magazine of high invention.”

* J.B. Demangeon, Intellectual physiology, or the Spirit of man considered in its physical and moral causes, according to the doctrine of Gall, Spurzheim, and other authors, with a comparative comparison of the instincts which replace intelligence in the brutes (n.p., 1843)

“The most excited still pursue their functions, that those who are less so have already left entirely theirs: hence the dreams of the first sleep, which are due to the partial activity of the brain or of some organs (...) But if, at the moment when one goes to bed, all the organs are in a sort of general relaxation and that none is exalted by a particular excitement, then the sleep is quiet by the generality of their rest . . . . The intellectual organs that have been least fatigued or those who dominate by their more considerable development, those that are used to exercise the most, as well as those which are destined to perceive impressions which chance leads to the first, resume their activity before the others: hence the dreams of the last sleep, dreams which are all the more clear and distinct, that is to say, all the more more similar to the ideas of the waking state.”


* Claude Tillier, My Uncle Benjamin (n.p., 1843), p. 304.

“However, my uncle brought Mr. Minxit back to the Croix-des-Michelins and he went back to bed. He was in that deep annihilation that a first sleep produced when he was awakened by a violent knock on his door. This blow struck my uncle with a painful commotion. He opened his window; the street was black like a deep moat; yet he recognized M. Minxit, and he thought he saw in his attitude something sorry.”

* D de. Monestrol, Conservation of health: a handbook of hygiene for the use of all . . . (Paris, 1851).

“It may happen that, in spite of all the hygienic precautions, in spite of the exercise during the day, one experiences, after a first sleep, agitation, heat, worries in the legs, an uneasiness which does not allow to back to sleep.”

*Journal des villes et des campagnes, Oct. 18, 1851.

“Before you close your eyes, do not forget to make sure the fresh water jugs are within your reach, because you are sure to wake up after your first nap with a thirst.”


* Étienne Gaussens, Éloges de M. le Cte de Marcellus ; Mgr d'Aviau, archevêque de Bordeaux ; M. l'abbé Lacroix, supérieur du grand séminaire de Bordeaux ; M. l'abbé Lalanne, archiprêtre de St-Estèphe ; Mgr Du Bourg, archevêque de Besançon ; M. l'abbé Rauzan, supérieur des missions de France ; M. le Vte de Chateaubriand ; Mgr Frayssinous, évêque d'Hermopolis ; M. l'abbé Duburg, curé de St-Michel de Bordeaux ; M. l'abbé Lacombe, supérieur du petit séminaire de Bordeaux ; S. É. le cardinal de Cheverus,... par M. l'abbé Gaussens,... (Bordeaux, 1854).

“On the night of the 8th to the 9th of March, 1826, d'Aviau, after a first sleep, which was not ordinarily very long, awoke; he wanted Mgr to know, before getting up to begin his prayers, what time it was. He approached his night light too much with his curtains, which caught fire.”

* Le Courrier de Bourges : journal politique, littéraire, industriel et agricole des départements du Centre, April 29, 1857.

“Yesterday evening at about eleven o'clock, the Sieur Désiré Pasquet, one of the inhabitants of the rue Charlet, perceiving after a first sleep that his lemma [a theorem or proof?] had left his bed, gets up in haste and hastens to make the most minute researches. in the house and around….” [further access blocked on Gallica]

*Vastin Lespy, Bearnaise grammar; followed by a French Vocabulary-Bearn (Verona, 1858).

“The one who. wants to examine witnesses, he must do each one in particular, and not together, know: at what time did the fact happened, whether it was morning, or prime, or third, or noon, or time of none, or of vespers, or night, or first sleep, or midnight, or hour of singing cock, or morning time, or dawn of day; in what place; in what month, or week, or day; what weather it was, if it was raining, if it was windy, if it was snowing, if it was hot, if it was thundering.”

*A. Castillon, New butterfly hunt (Paris, 1858).

“The same thought arises simultaneously in the mind of Fritz and the idiot, when, after having recovered and rested a little, they perceived these degraded walls. ‘There must be some interesting discoveries to be made in these ruins, thought the artist; the night is beautiful, the moon resplendent, I will see it at midnight.’ ‘There must be,’ thought Jooss, "many nocturnal butterflies in this old carcass; I'll think about that after my first nap.’ Our two explorers, without communicating their thoughts, therefore retired early in the lodging to them, in order to take a first account of sleep; but how to sleep, alas! in a full hostel, where some are shouting, or the other fleeing, where everyone comes and goes, with the kindness of the German rollers. This hustle and bustle is, moreover, perfectly rendered by this rich description of onomatopoeia, of a poet already quoted. ‘Men swear, women quarrel, children" shout, dogs bark, cats mew, the clock "rings, the chopper bangs, the broiler pan, the spit-latch creaks, the fountain cries, the bottles sobs The windows shudder, the diligence passes under the vault like a thunder.’ Sleep with all this. This, indeed, was impossible for our painter and our farm boy. The two of them, at a little distance from each other, got up and made their way, spanning with great difficulty and many scratches the bristles and thorns of the old clerical mansion.”


* George Sand, The Marquis de Villemer (1861), p. 195.

“He had to be back before his brother, whom he saw calm and who seemed asleep, had come out of his first sleep.”

*Jules Duval, Raymond Gayrard, graveur et statuaire : biographies aveyronnaises (Rodez, 1866).

“What about my eighty years old? Since childhood, my life has been so regulated. I get up every morning at five o'clock, and, with rare exceptions, go to bed at eight o'clock. After my first sleep, which does not last until midnight, I read, then, silencing my imagination, I try to go back to sleep. This is how my old age goes, light and pleasant.”

*Memoirs of the Academy of Sciences, agriculture, arts and belles-lettres of Aix (Aix-en-Provence, 1873).

“In addition, it is such a beautiful, so beautiful and correct place that it has been greatly envied me, nevertheless I thank the graceful influences of what they seem to have wanted such a rare piece that almost without shirt you have been reserved to be in its luster among your rich volumes. I dedicate it to you and give heart and soul, greatly unpleasant not to be more liberal and grateful to the place of such a worthy gentleman; so well done and so deserving and all the more so that I have taken care to please you in everything. There you are drinking the pencils of the sisters Sr. Adam of Crapone, and of Soleriis, having them as, drawn from the sepulture by the force of my imagination after my first sleep, His library was composed of remarkable works by the choice of editions, the beauty of the paper and the richness of bindings. The library of Aix possesses the original edition of Urcoeus Codrus, orations, epistoloe, silvoe, etc., having belonged to Grolier. The dishes of this volume bound in red morocco are covered with elegant arabesques. On one of them we read in letters of gold: J ° Grolerii and amicorum; on the other: Portio mea dominates sit in terra viventium.”

*Reminder (Paris), January 8, 1881

“The next morning, the general's valet de chambre, on entering his house to wake him up, was astonished to see his room seen from above. The general had just got up and seen this disorder himself. It must be said that the general (let's be polite) has the ear more than a little hard. The seven hundred thousand francs worth of jewels and jewels that the secretary contained in the book had disappeared.The general told his valet de chambre that he had risen a moment, about eleven o'clock, after his first sleep; that everything was then in order around him; that his lamp burned as usual in the place where he puts it every night. The theft had not been committed before half-past eleven or midnight. The police were immediately notified.”

* Leon Cladel, Leon, [The] Second Mystery of the Incarnation (1883), p. 4.

“Read the whole letter again. - I know it by heart; I saw nothing of what you prophesy. - You do not know it enough. - I read it at least ten times. Re-read it an eleventh, during the night, after your first sleep.”

*Ashburton Guardian, May 16, 1889

“Some days before the late disaster at Samoa the wife of an officer at Mare Island awoke from her first sleep, trembling and in tears, and related to her husband a fearful dream experience.”

* Agathon-Jean-François Fain, Memoirs of Baron Fain, First Secretary of the Cabinet of the Emperor (Paris, 1908).

“The Emperor rose in the night after his first sleep; it was usually about two o'clock in the morning; dressed in a simple white bazin robe in the summer, and white fleece in the winter, and surrounded by a madras, he went into his study and devoted these silent hours to the great business which the training of the day it had not allowed him to go deeper as he pleased. It was also the time he chose to control at will, to the help of the accounts he had on his table, sometimes the details of an administration, sometimes the detail of another. If day came to surprise him in his meditations, he asked for a bath. He was reclined at five o'clock in the morning and his last awakening was no later than seven o'clock. He was dressing then. One will not be sorry to see Napoleon in this situation of the common life.”

*Bulletin of Ecclesiastical Literature (Toulouse, January 1927.

“It was a time when he thoroughly studied the Scriptures and the Fathers. He took from Metz, from the first years, a habit which he kept alive. Every night, after a first sleep, he got up, worked for several hours, and went back to bed. Sometimes he would let him be surprised by the day at his desk.”

*L'Africain : hebdomadaire illustré, September 6, 1931.

“War is a science: the maneuver conceived, Napoleon prepared it in its least details. He himself dictated the oretres which were then reproduced and distributed by Berthier; his fostering, where he did not like new faces, was broken with his habits; his officers appointed many, with the services, and there they took the direction of the rear; There is, however, far from this figure, - to the imposing mass which was G.Q.G. in 1918. These officers, 5 were often detached to corps d'armies to search for information. After a first sleep, when all the reports were ready, around 1 o'clock. In the morning, Napoleon gave his orders for the day. Nothing escaped his genius: organization and command of the army . . . .”


* Silvestre Emarges, “Christmas time and legends,” Country Life, December 1938.

“The good holiday of Christmas is the one they prefer among all, and even those who are called: wolf heads, look at her with a joy that comes upon them from the depths of. centuries. It's their holiday, always populated by a crowd of shepherds and villagers. The angels speak first to the peasants. Divine poverty smiles upon them through her tears in the crib, on the straw of wheat, between the mixed breath of the donkey and the ox, to the sound of musettes and old women. The promise takes the form of a star, which crosses the roof, which leans over the floor, in a long ray.

It is a long time since the workers of the earth woke up in the middle of the night after a first sleep, bothered by the worry, the insatiable desire for a harvest which will reward their labors; but this Christmas night they are awakened by the only love which blossoms under the features of a child half naked, trembling with cold as the poorest.”