Two-Peak 24-Hour Patterns in Sleep, Mortality, and Error

  • M. M. Mitler


Man has generally expressed a mixed regard for sleep in our culture. While our literature recognizes sleep as a process that “knits the ravell’d sleave of care,” humans have also expressed concern about mortal and morbid events during the night since recorded history. The Bible states that Solomon’s bed was guarded by 60 valiant men throughout the night for fear of death (Song of Solomon 3:7–8). Virgil referred to sleep as “the kinsman of death” (The Aeneid). In the sixteenth century, St. John of the Cross referred to this issue in The Ascent of Mount Carmel (circa: 1578–1580). In modern times, F. Scott Fitzgerald [12] wrote: “In the real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the morning.” Ray Bradbury [3] used the term “the soul’s midnight” to refer to the clock-time 3:00 a.m. There is some scientific justification for such concerns. Medical statistics dating to the late 1800s indicate that human mortality does rise rapidly from a low at 00:00–02:00 a.m. to a peak at 06:00–08:00 a.m. [39].


Sleep Apnea Sleep Disorder Sleep Deprivation Daytime Sleepiness Work Schedule 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. M. Mitler
    • 1
  1. 1.Scripps Clinic and Research FoundationLa JollaUSA

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