Sleep Disorders

Have humans always slept through the night?

But the notion that we need all of our sleep in one unbroken block, is not necessarily driven by our biology. And there's a good deal of evidence to show we haven't always had this approach to sleep.

In Geoffrey Chaucer's 14th century text, The Squire's Tale, the king's daughter, Canacee, is described as having a "fyrste sleep," arising in the early morning ahead of her companions, who sleep fully through the night.

Natural sleep aids: Tackling Insomnia without drugs

There are countless others herbal teas promoted as sleep aids however, including valerian, kava, passionflower, hops and lavender.

But do they really help you sleep better?

It's hard to know, because like many natural products, there's little solid evidence behind them, says chair of the Australian Sleep Health Foundation Professor David Hillman.