Needing Eight Hours of Sleep: Truth or Myth?

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(AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

(AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

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MIAMI (CBS4) – Eight hours of solid sleep… we’ve all been told we need that to get a proper night’s rest.

Many of us who wake up restlessly take pills to help make it through the night.

But now, there’s a growing body of research that says you might want to think twice.

Apparently, before the advent of street lighting in the seventeenth century and especially before electricity, humans slept in two four-hour blocks, separated by a period of being awake for an hour or more.

Literature has multiple references to what were called first and second sleep.

A French doctor’s manual from the sixteenth century even suggested the best time to conceive was is in that gap period of wakefulness.

And a study conducted about twenty years ago plunged the subjects into darkness for fourteen hours a day for a month, finding they settled into a split sleep pattern after three weeks.

But I’m not sold on this. Because of the crazy schedules in the news business, I’ve often had to sleep in two shifts, and that never felt as good as eight uninterrupted hours.

Now, if I could manage nine hours, even ten, then I’d be really happy.

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