Making sense of a nightly phenomenon
Fascinating stuff, Scott. I remember being deeply intrigued a decade or so ago when there was a burst of mainstream interest in this matter of segmented or biphasic sleep as it made the rounds in the popular press. The big revelation seemed to be that this is how much or most of the human race slept before the advent of the industrial age, and that, as you've pointed out in this post, we may well have lost something by coming to insist that a long span of unbroken hours represents the only "valid" way to envision human sleep patterns.
I recall reading a 2013 Harper's article on this subject by Dr. A. Roger Ekirch (https://harpers.org/archive/2013/08/segmented-sleep), who also wrote the 2016 paper "Segmented Sleep in Preindustrial Societies" (https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article/39/3/715/2454050) as well as an entire book looking at sleep patterns from the past.
See also the excellent 2016 AEON article "Broken Sleep" (https://aeon.co/essays/why-broken-sleep-is-a-golden-time-for-creativity).
Thank you for bringing this up. Especially since, in a mild bit of synchronicity, my own sleep has become more biphasic than usual, in a very pronounced way, over the past few nights.
Here's a nifty trick I use at 3 AM to receive information from the universe. Before bed, I fill the kettle in the kitchen with water because I use the six-minute boiling cycle as a meditation timer in the early morning hours like this:
I wake up around 3 - 3:30 AM and wander from the bedroom to the kitchen without opening my eyes.
I feel for the kettle and hit the power button. And then next, I assume what Qigong calls: 'dead man's posture.'
(Dead Man's Posture is cupped hands pulled into the lower stomach, knees slightly bent, and core pulled in—in other words: It's relaxed standing.)
All the while, the kettle is going through its six-minute cycle, so I shift my attention to the noise of the water boiling, open my mind and see what pops in, with one caveat. Often I go to bed and ask the universe to show me some options on specific stuff. And sometimes the answer pops out when I'm listening to the kettle boil at 3 AM.
Really interesting because I used to want to "fix" my habit of waking up in the middle of the night. I wear a smart watch to sleep so I know roughly what time I wake up, and I always chalk it up to just wanting to relieve myself to pee. But I know it's something deeper, couldn't put my finger on it. Also, I found it's easy to slip back to the slumber, and doesn't impact my productivity the next day. Next time I wake up (tonight then), I'll ask my consciousness first on what to do after the toilet, let's see if i can download something. Thanks for writing this.
I'm not drawn normally to any talk about spirituality, meditation, psychedelia, and the lot of it, as there is just too much of it for my taste. But I found this article incredibly helpful. I wake up almost every night at 02:46am. Now, I shall be prepared.
The biological phenomenon of biphasic sleep has been documented for centuries. No need to invoke religious experiences. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20220107-the-lost-medieval-habit-of-biphasic-sleep
Thank you so much! This is perfectly timed for me (like many things these days). I got a huge “download” one night at 2am and the next night also. Now I understand the significance and how to tap into it. I started making it a daily practice to meditate a little over a year ago and life has been super-charged since then.
Definitely read this at 2:44 a.m.
While mid-night wakefulness isn't typical for me, I'll consider you tonight's synchronicity. ✨
This puts all of the no sleep into perspective for me 🙌🏼 let’s give it a shot and see if I actually FALL back asleep. Also, my friends got me a Remarkable over a year ago that’s been collecting dust. That’s an excellent use case for it -- jotting all the things without disturbing our partners 🤫
Another synchronicity piece!
I experienced several times these early morning awakenings. Recently it happened again 3 nights in a row, and I knew it was a sign to get back on track with my sleep pattern to be more receptive to instructions or messages.
I guess once you experience those set of timings you can utilize them and collaborate to be more aligned in any project or mission of life you have to uncover. I specifically designed a dream book and another Mind journal to help me navigate those timings, they have become partners in the "making".
It is always strange to just wake up, it does feel like you are woken up! I can imagine the angel stating it's time tic tac, tic tac (with his popcorn watching the student get to work).
Thank you for such a deep piece that sheds light on "The Encounter".
There a good piece from the BBC in 2012 about this, which is when I think I first heard about it.
Most of my adult life has been about having interrupted sleep, often at the exact same time, and like you, sometimes having 'downloads'. I also can start dreaming within minutes of falling asleep, but that's probably because I'm going into hypnogogic dream states (liminal dreaming). The various dream states we can achieve is equally interesting and many can be trained over time. Jennifer Dumper has fascinating work about this.
My partner struggles with this! I always thought it was anxiety but maybe that’s his body and minds way of needing a peaceful chunk of the day to just exist and think
Scott, I too have nights when I embrace the thoughts that seem to readily flow. D