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Five Stories About the Way We Sleep

Emily Perper | Longreads | November 23, 2014 | words

Here are five pieces on different facets of sleep: a short story about sleepwalking, a dispatch from Gaza, a person who can’t help but sleep when he’s stressed, and more.

Posted inNonfiction, Reading List

Five Stories About the Way We Sleep

Here are five pieces on different facets of sleep: a short story about sleepwalking, a dispatch from Gaza, a person who can’t help but sleep when he’s stressed, and more.
Photo: epSos. de

I am one of those people who needs as much sleep as possible; I can easily sleep for 12 hours; I nap frequently; I rely on lattes and Coke Zero to keep up morale. This week, I thought about sleep a lot. Here are five pieces on different facets of sleep: a short story about sleepwalking, a dispatch from Gaza, a person who can’t help but sleep when he’s stressed, and more.

1. “Broken Sleep.” (Karen Emslie, Aeon, November 2014)

Sometimes I wake up at 5 a.m., awake and ready to get up, but I inevitably scroll through Twitter until I fall asleep again. I always attributed this to a beneficial lull in REM sleep, but this article gave me pause—perhaps it’s symptomatic of “segmented sleep.” Historically, people slept in two chunks of four to five hours, separated by one to three hours of wakefulness. There are many health benefits to segmented sleep, as the author explains, but in our 9-to-5 industrialized society, this kind of sleep schedule doesn’t jibe.

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