The Checkup: You’re Sleeping All Wrong

Historians (of all people) may have figured out why we have trouble sleeping.

• I absolutely despise when I have a bad night of sleep. Nothing throws me off more than (what feels like) hours and hours of listless tossing. And I spend most of that time agonizing over how awful the next day will be as a result. Historians have dipped their toes into the pool of sleep science, it seems, and uncovered a most unusual sleeping pattern of our ancestors: first and second sleeps, in which a person falls asleep for a few hours, wakes up for a few, and then sleeps several more until morning. As the BBC reports, this is how people slept up until the early 19th century, when a continuous eight-hour sleep cycle was adopted (and when, coincidentally, reports of sleep problems began cropping up). In the 1990s, someone set out to find out what our natural sleep patterns actually are. And guess what? Study subjects had two distinct, four-hour sleep cycles, with an hour or two of awake time in between. Take that, modern science. Read more about the history of sleep here.

• Boy, am I happy I started liking fish recently. (Not a joke!) A study found that people with low levels of Omega-3s—the good-for-you stuff that fish are packed with—had smaller brains and scored worse on memory tests than those with high levels of the essential fatty acid. The Wall Street Journal has more.

• If you have a spare 9 minutes and 19 seconds this morning, watch this neat video over on Runner’s World about the importance of exercise—you know, the cure-all for just about everything.