Splitting One’s Time Between Sleeping and Waking


Dear Reader:

Recently…I was skimming through a short biographical “info” page (on an author) located at the back of the book. It was telling about the author’s hobbies and interests. Then, suddenly, it ended with this observation: “She divides her time between sleeping and waking.”

This caught my attention…I googled to see if this was a quote, per se…but nothing popped up. However…several articles on segmented sleep did…which correlates to the editor’s observation of the author’s writing habits.

Apparently for thousands of year…before modern. artificial lighting…electricity… came into our lives…our ancestors practiced what today we called “segmented sleep.

Segmented sleep is a sleep pattern in which your night sleep is divided into two separate chunks, with a period of wakefulness in between. Before we could control the amount of light at night, it was  a normal sleep pattern  for most people.

Virginia Tech historian Roger Ekirch, who spent 16 years researching segmented sleep, found considerable evidence showing that earlier generations (pre-Industrial Revolution) had a first sleep just after dusk, followed by an hour or two of being awake, time often spent in a relaxed state of prayer or meditation…while others wrote, painted, or created new ideas.  Then it was back to bed for a second sleep that lasted until morning.

My own “light” came on after reading the explanation…Some weeks I do the same thing. I don’t know if it is the daily chemo medications I am on and its side effects…but for a week or so I can go to sleep and sleep through the night…no problem.

Then, suddenly, for no apparent reason, I start waking up after four hours or so of sleep…wide awake, rested, and ready to go. (In fact I often write my posts during this “being awake” interval of time…then I fall back to sleep until 9 or so.

Apparently this author does the same thing…she sleeps, works on her latest novel, and then goes back to sleep.

*So now I understood her quote about dividing her time between sleeping and waking…she decides how best to use her mid-wake night time…to write, create, or perhaps just research  ideas or proof-read what she has already written.

Anybody else experienced “segmented sleep” patterns… left over from our ancestral/cultural habits? Maybe its still in our gene pool and just emerges during certain periods of our lives?

Now here’s another thought…Don’t you think that every day we live is our birthday? If we really believe in living each day to the fullest…then every day from the original day we entered this world should be a re-celebration of the life we were given… once upon a time.

We are reminded to always live each day as if it is our last…live every second, minute, and hour of it…but even more importantly live each “moment” of it. A thousand lifetimes can be lived in a moment.

Anne surprised me with one of those moments over the weekend. She had hinted that my post on “snail mail” was going to hit home soon…especially the part of the post where I confessed that I still pause… right before I open the mailbox door… wondering if there is a surprise inside. A God Wink.

Actually the surprise was too big to fit in the mailbox so my sweet  mail carrier brought it to me…When I opened it…I just shook my head and laughed. Last week I sent Anne a video of our Maine adventure…not knowing that she had ordered a professional (Shutterfly) photo album of the Maine trip.

What a beautiful keepsake…With the coronavirus not “behaving” in South Carolina…rising in the wrong direction…there is such confusion and mis-information circulating consistently keeping everyone upset… making the urge to escape or take a break from it even more compelling…

I reckon Anne and I were both looking back on this short but compelling Maine adventure…shaking our heads and wondering how it could have been such a short time ago…yet feeling like years ago simultaneously.

Anne said she had ordered it and was going to give it to me on my birthday…and then thought…”No”…if Covid has taught us nothing else…it has taught us to not put off until tomorrow what brings happiness today.

We decided, from now on, we would surprise each other with a Happy Birthday gift…on a just “any day” birthday. No numbers allowed but one selection required of a favorite episode in one’s life from the precious year ..in other words…a story told about a special benchmark event from the year… instead of a number shrieked! 🙂

After all we are all celebrating life with each breath…Happy Birthday everyone! Enjoy it!

Here are a few memories of this gorgeous fall trip in Maine…from the album…

You might remember…our trip was named “Spruce and Moose”

(We found a lot of spruce…but not so much “moose”…except for the stuffed ones, sculptures,or chocolate candy ones…yum!) 🙂

Today the trip, with all our at-home restrictions, seems more like a dream than a fairly recent reality…

While editing the photo below…it went abstract…I love it…When I wake up next time between two rounds of sleep…this is how I will visualize Maine in the fall…a wondrous assault of colors!


So until tomorrow…“Make new friends, but keep the old…one is silver and the other’s gold.”





A Very Happy Birthday to all of you today and every day…now go live it! Celebrate life!



About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to Splitting One’s Time Between Sleeping and Waking

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    ♥️♥️♥️ the idea of celebrating one’s life everyday…the best gift of all…we will have Ruthie and if the weather cooperates I may bring her by to wave at you….it will depend on the circumstances but will that be ok if we don’t come in…and it might not happen…but just wanted to ask…


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Certainly…I do have several medical visits this week…blood work, physical, a couple of tests, a shot, etc (ugh) so I will be in and out…but would love to see her…like Eva Cate …growing up too fast! 🙂


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