In the Middle Ages, people practiced what is known as "segmented sleep" or "biphasic sleep."
Instead of sleeping in one continuous block of 7-9 hours, they would sleep for a few hours after sunset, wake up for a period in the middle of the night, and then go back to sleep until dawn.
This period of wakefulness, often referred to as the "watch" was a time for various activities such as reading, praying, or even visiting neighbors. It was a tranquil time, devoid of the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Now, I don't know about you - but I'm sure glad I live in the present day!