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Atlanta, Georgia
Supporting Cultural Histories of Sleep and Insanity
Supporting Cultural Histories of Sleep and Insanity
Wild Nights: How Taming Sleep Created Our Restless World has helped sleep scientists and the general public alike better understand how our current sleep practices have been shaped by culture. Image courtesy of Benjamin Reiss.

Benjamin Reiss’s most recent book, Wild Nights: How Taming Sleep Created Our Restless World (2017), takes an interdisciplinary approach to the history of sleep, blending literary analysis with scientific and cultural history. The book demonstrates that our current model of ideal sleep patterns, which emphasized sleeping in consistent eight-hour blocks of time, with at most two adults to a bed and children alone through the night, is more the product of culture than a natural occurrence.

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