03/05/2012 06:16 pm ET | Updated Nov 30, 2015

8-Hour Sleep Myth; Report Suggests Historically Humans Need 2 Intervals Of Sleep

Conventional wisdom tells us that we should get at least eight hours of sleep a night, but a recent report by the BBC suggests that this might just be a myth.

Historian Roger Ekirch believes that in the past, it was normal to get two sleep sessions, one early evening, a break, and then a second later at night.

The report cites historical evidence that seems to prove this pattern; neighbors visited between sleeps and doctors advised that conception of a child is best between sleep sessions.

Learn more about the report in the video above.


In order to better understand what sleep does for your body and brain, here's a look at what's happening as you transition from going about your day to hitting the hay.

What Happens During Sleep