sleeping

… were singing the Beatles.
Sometimes, after lunch in my office, my head is heavy, my eyes are closing and I have problems to concentrate at work.
Did this happen to you ?
Several of my colleagues feel sleepy and have different techniques to be again awake and efficient: a cup of coffee, a smoke, a quick tour outside in the park next to the building (very useful in winter time).
I know there are institutions where special spaces are organised for the stuff to take half an hour rest, as they remarked they work much better afterwards.
Not in our office.

Even if we sleep eight hours (you know, the famous 3 x 8 : eight hours at work, eight hours awake before and after, and eight to rest and sleep) after several working hours we are less and less efficient.
Experts found lately that the human body needs to sleep not once in 24 hours, but twice ! I already love these experts and I’m not a lazy person nor a sleep worshiper.
Their research came to the conclusion that the idea to sleep only once a day is a late invention of the 19th century. It is not adapted to the human body and the insomnia problems appeared since this invention. We should sleep at least twice a day, and even if we’ll sleep shorter periods, we’ll be more efficient, more awake and easier concentrated on what we do. Contrast : we sleep twice, but we do more things of what we planned.

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Two Australian scientists, Dr. Melinda Jackson, psychologist specialized in sleeping disorders at the RMIT University in Melbourne, and Siobhan Banks, researcher in sleep at the South Australian University in Adelaide, think that human beings used a “segmented sleep” or “biphasic sleep”for most of their historical existence. Anthropologists found proofs that biphasic sleep was considered normal in pre-industrial civilisations. Is is mentioned in ancient literature. As it is mentioned in the writings of the 19th century that people began to complain of insomnia. It was the fault of industry development and the change in the rhythms of everyone’s life. Nowadays at least 25% of the population suffer of sleeping troubles.

In historical times people went to bed not at a precise hour, but in a relation with what they decided to do next day and when. The rest periods were also decided in accord with their actions.
It is not the first time when specialists stressed the importance of this sleeping alternative. In the ’90 Thomas Wehr, an american psychiatrist, studying the photoperiodicity in humans, placed a group of volunteers in an environment in which it was dark for 14 hours/day. By the fourth week all the subjects slept naturally divided in two periods. Wehr suggested that this biphasic sleep is probably the natural, fundamental tendency for humans.
It suits me. I like to believe that two sleeping periods in one day are more appropriate to our (my) body clock. I will certainly be more active twice a day instead of working one single long period and getting more and more tired towards the end of the day.
But what would my chief say if I would suddenly tell her:
“Experts say I have to sleep twice a day, I’m going now to take a nap !”
Science approuves, but would my chief do ?

Photos courtesy Getty Image