Many years ago I heard interesting info regarding sleep protocols prior to electric lights, television, computers, etc. It was normal for people to go to bed after dusk/darkness but also normal to wake up around 1:00 am. They would rise and by candlelight read or meditate, etc. but then return to bed until dawn or later morning light. Erin


The has indeed touched on the subject of sleep patterns, particularly in relation to our natural circadian rhythms and the impacts of artificial light. Although the specific historical practice you mentioned of waking up at around 1:00 am was not directly referenced, explains how artificial lights and screens have disrupted our natural desire to go to sleep at sunset and wake up around sunrise. This idea is supported by evidence from a study which found that people naturally adjusted to a schedule of sleeping at sunset and waking at sunrise when exposed to natural lighting conditions during a camping trip. Their sleep-wake cycles adapted even when returning to environments filled with artificial light 1.

So while the late-night activity you mentioned might not be precisely what Dr. Huberman discussed, the underlying theme is that before the advent of artificial lighting, our sleep patterns were more in tune with natural light cycles. Modern lifestyles and light exposure have significantly altered these natural patterns, sometimes resulting in awakenings during the night that may reflect a misalignment with our innate circadian preferences 2. It's essential to consider that our internal clocks can be quite flexible, but the environmental cues we now experience (like artificial light) have significantly altered the sleep patterns that were likely more common in pre-industrial times.

Natural Sleep Patterns

Andrew explains how our natural sleep patterns have been disrupted by artificial lights and screens. He discusses a study that shows how people naturally want to go to sleep at sunset and wake up around sunrise. He also explains how our autonomic nervous system makes it easier for us to delay our sleep time than to accelerate our wake up time.

Huberman Lab

Optimize Your Learning & Creativity with Science-based Tools | Huberman Lab Podcast #8