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submitted 2 months ago by BackOnMyBS to c/nostupidquestions

The sun dial worked during daylight, but how did people agree on what time it was at night before clocks were invented?

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[-] cygon 29 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)
  • An amusing way people used to wake up early was by drinking extra water before going to sleep. Their full bladder would wake them in the early morning hours (unless they overdid it, in which case they had to use the potty in the middle of the night and then overslept).

  • Animal noises. Most people had animals or lived near other people with animals, so the morning hours had a bunch of typical animal noises (animals, like humans, have an inner clock, and some animals are programmed to wake up before dawn).

  • Logs near the stove. A seasonal thing, but in winter, if you know you usually refill the stove 3 or 4 times during the night, you can tell how much of the night has passed through your wood stack.

The bi-phasic sleep thing also helped (take a good nap around noon, but also wake up at midnight and drink a beer with the neighbors). The point of midnight may have been rather arbitrary, though.

As far as I'm aware, candles were affordable, but the average person still couldn't afford to burn down a candle every day to work or measure time, so once it got dark, normal work ceased and, at best, a family would meet in front of the stove and tell stories, knit or carve for a while.

[-] [email protected] 4 points 2 months ago
  • An amusing way people used to wake up early was by drinking extra water before going to sleep. Their full bladder would wake them in the early morning hours (unless they overdid it, in which case they had to use the potty in the middle of the night and then overslept).

I still try to do this sometimes

[-] [email protected] 0 points 2 months ago

I learned this one from The Simpsons!

this post was submitted on 26 Feb 2024
183 points (98.4% liked)

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