Squeezing the Last Second Out - Winter Solstice 2016

6 months ago we wrote about making the most of the long summer days, now the earth has gone full circle and we're in the dead of winter!

Winter berries

When the days shorten to just 7 hours and 50 minutes, (nearly 9 hours shorter than at the height of summer) it's crucial to maximise the time we do have. Modern sleep patterns encourage 7.5-9 hours sleep per night, but we haven't always slept this way. In previous centuries people often had a 'second sleep', referring to a practice of going to sleep at dusk; waking in the middle of the night; and then having a second sleep until dawn. During this second sleep, people utilised the time they had, generally staying within the home they focused on housework; crafting and ahem... well, you know. 

A double sleep pattern might help you maximise some additional time at night, whilst also allowing you to submit to the seasons. Some people might like this way of living, and some might find it doesn't fit in with modern life!

Another method, purportedly used by people like Thatcher and Napoleon, is polyphasic sleeping. This method is characterised by short bursts of sleep spread out over the 24 hour period at regular intervals. 

One of the most highly read articles on polyphasic sleeping is by blogger Steve Pavlina, who explains:

You sleep 20-30 minutes six times per day, with equally spaced naps every 4 hours around the clock. This means you're only sleeping 2-3 hours per day.

His writing is really interesting, and well worth a read here. He explains how much more time you can 'create' for yourself if you discipline yourself to do this. So we might not be able to extend our periods of daytime, but many people believe that we can adapt our bodies to need less sleep and to take advantage of the extra time this gives us. How would you spend your extra 5 hours a day?