The pursuit of a good night’s sleep has preoccupied most people at one point or another. For those who suffer from insomnia, it’s a more acute concern than for others who just hope to fight off afternoon fatigue. A historian named Roger Ekirch has good news for both camps, though: human sleep has changed over time.
While researching a book about nighttime, he stumbled across court records referencing “first sleep.” Through extensive searching of these records and other official documents, as well as popular literature and songs of the past, he learned that humans in the pre-industrial world tended to sleep for a few hours once night fell and then wake up for approximately an hour before returning to sleep.
Biphasic sleep, as the process is called, appears to have been widespread. Ekirch found references to the phenomenon across Europe, as well as in accounts from South America and the Middle East. The period in between rests was a time for duty or reflection, depending on one’ s means. Peasants would check on their animals, while nobles might read or write until sleep overtook them again.
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Biphasic sleep was known as far back as ancient Greece, based on a reference in the renowned poem The Odyssey. However, it faded as the Industrial Revolution took hold. Not only did artificial lighting begin to spread, but attitudes toward sleep also changed. When people were sleeping, they couldn’t be exploited in factories, so sleeping “too much” provoked accusations of laziness and time-wasting.
Today, we must be alert to the false belief that waking up early guarantees productivity, and that waking up in the middle of the night condemns you to exhaustion. When insomnia strikes, comfort yourself with the thought that you’re in touch with ancient human practices for the night, and occupy yourself quietly until sleep returns.
biphasic adj. 兩階段的
preoccupy vt. 使…關注；使…全神貫注
insomnia n. 失眠
reference vt. 提到；論及
renowned adj. 著名的
1. pursuit n. 追求；爭取
Emma went to France in pursuit of an advanced education in philosophy.
2. acute adj. 嚴重的；劇烈的
Unemployment in this region is an acute problem and needs to be addressed immediately.
3. extensive adj. 廣泛的；大規模的
Professor Eriksson has done extensive research on this topic, so he is the best-qualified person to give the talk.
4. reflection n. 沉思；深思
Stan prefers quiet moments of reflection to busy social events.
5. exploit vt. 利用；剝削
The employer exploited his workers by making them work sixteen hours a day.
6. accusation n. 指控；譴責
Mr Green made an accusation that Mrs. White was the one responsible for murdering the cook.
7. condemn sb to sth 使……遭受；使……處於（負面狀態）
Stanley’s inability to express his feelings to others condemned him to a lonely life.
8. exhaustion n. 疲憊不堪；精疲力竭
I planned to go to my friend’s party, but I ended up going to sleep early out of exhaustion.
9. overtake vt. 突然發生；頓時出現（三態overtake-overtook-overtaken）
A feeling of calm overtook Kayla when she breathed deeply and looked out onto the ocean.
A: After being delayed for a year by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Asian Games in China’s Hangzhou are finally opening tomorrow. B: Yeah, more than 500 Taiwanese athletes are set to compete in 32 sports. A: Plus, “Breaking” and “e-Sports” will be included in the games for the first time. B: Will the games be broadcast in Taiwan too? A: Of course! PTS, CTS, EBC, Videoland and the ELTA OTT platform will all broadcast the events. A: 因疫情延期一年的杭州亞運，明天終於要開幕啦。 B: 聽說超過五百位台灣選手，將參加三十二種比賽。 A: 而且本屆還新增了「霹靂舞」，和「電子競技」的項目呢。 B: 台灣也會轉播亞運嗎？ A: 當然啦！公視、華視、東森、緯來，及影音平台愛爾達都會轉播。 (By Eddy Chang, Taipei Times／台北時報張聖恩)
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對話 Dialogue 清清：下禮拜四是教師節，我那個在念清華大學的弟弟放一天假，真羨慕他！ Qīngqing: Xià lǐbài sì shì Jiàoshī jié, wǒ nàge zài niàn Qīnghuá Dàxué de dìdifàng yìtiān jià, zhēn xiànmù tā! 華華：噢！9月28號是孔子的生日，也是台灣的教師節。 Huáhua: Ō! 9Yuè 28hào shì Kǒngzǐ de shēngrì, yěshì Táiwān de Jiàoshī jié. 清清：我以前去中國大陸玩的時候，聽說他們的教師節不是9月28號，而是9月10號，跟我們不一樣。 Qīngqing: Wǒ yǐqián qù Zhōngguó Dàlù wán de shíhòu, tīngshuō tāmen de Jiàoshī jié búshì 9yuè 28 hào, érshì 9 yuè 10 hào, gēn wǒmen bù yíyàng. 華華：沒關係，相信感謝老師的心都是相同的。你都怎麼謝謝你的老師的？ Huáhua: Méiguānxi, xiāngxìn gǎnxiè lǎoshī de xīn dōu shì xiāngtóng de. Nǐ dōu zěnme xièxie nǐ de lǎoshī de? 清清：我每年都寫卡片寄給老師，謝謝他們的教導，祝他們教師節快樂！ Qīngqing: Wǒ měinián dōu xiě kǎpiàn jì gěi lǎoshī, xièxie tāmen de jiàodǎo, zhù tāmenJiàoshī jié kuàilè! 華華：真是好學生。建議你弟弟放假可以去孔廟走走，有的孔廟會有慶祝活動，很有意思的。 Huáhua:Zhēnshì hǎo xuéshēng. Jiànyì nǐ dìdi fàngjià kěyǐ