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  Sent by: David Amicus  Mostra tutti i messaggi di David Amicus
Subject: How many hours of sleep was normal 2000 years ago? (Romans)
Newsgroup: humanities.classics
Date: 12/17/2017
Time: 15:23:13
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  Bas Leijser, likes to read about history and visit historical places
Updated Mar 2
2000 years ago is the time of the Romans.

This era is famous for the following saying: Carpe Diem. This translates to=
=E2=80=9CSeize the day=E2=80=9D and is a good example of the Roman view on=
sleeping.

Sleeping was viewed as not much more than a necessity. This is further evid=
ent from the cubicula, the small Roman bedrooms. These rooms had low ceilin=
gs and few decorations. Although the cubiculum of a noble family could be d=
ecorated with mosaics, it would still be a crampy room. It was given little=
importance in a Roman villa.

While sleeping, the Romans could not conquer anything. They could not build=
roads or aqueducts. One source I found, suggests most Romans rose before d=
awn and probably slept less than 8 hours [1]. This is confirmed by another =
source [2], which further states that people who slept in were viewed with =
contempt, since they were likely drunk (or at least: people would think so)=
.. This source goes on to suggest that the Romans slept in two phases, the f=
irst one of =E2=80=9Cup to 4 hours=E2=80=9D and the second one of =E2=80=9C=
six hours=E2=80=9D. This biphasic sleep is confirmed by some other sources =
[3][4].

People would go to sleep at sunset and wake before sunrise. It is not reall=
y clear how much time people would stay awake in between both phases. Some =
sources claim it was considered to be the perfect time for studying or havi=
ng sex [5] and that people would stay awake for =E2=80=9Cone hour=E2=80=9D =
up to =E2=80=9Cseveral hours=E2=80=9D. Virginia Tech professor Ekirch also =
claims it was a =E2=80=9Cbusy time=E2=80=9D [4].

To conclude: the Romans most likely slept in two phases and their total hou=
rs of sleep depended mostly on how active they were inbetween these phases.=
This would vary for each individual. However, in general the Romans were q=
uite active, as evident from the Carpe Diem saying and the discomfort of th=
eir bedrooms [1].

In prehistoric times, sleeping could be very dangerous and you needed a lot=
of time daily to gather food and resources or to hunt.
 

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