the watches of the night

the watches of the night

The moments or hours of the night, typically when someone is awake. I used to wake in the dark watches of the night, my body paralyzed, convinced that someone or something was watching me from the shadows. My poor wife was up in the silent watches of the night for two months before our daughter was born, plagued by restless legs and an aching back.
See also: night, of, watch

the watches of the night

the hours of night, especially viewed as a time when you cannot sleep. literary
A watch was originally each of the three or four periods of time into which the night was divided, during which a guard would be stationed to keep a lookout for danger or trouble.
See also: night, of, watch
References in classic literature ?
So, almost every twenty-four hours, when the watches of the night were set, and the band on deck sentinelled the slumbers of the band below; and when if a rope was to be hauled upon the forecastle, the sailors flung it not rudely down, as by day, but with some cautiousness dropt it to its place, for fear of disturbing their slumbering shipmates; when this sort of steady quietude would begin to prevail, habitually, the silent steersman would watch the cabin-scuttle; and ere long the old man would emerge, griping at the iron banister, to help his crippled way.
It would, doubtless, fare none too well for the man who had permitted the arch enemy of them all aboard the ship in the watches of the night, where later he might set an infernal machine to blow them all to kingdom come.
Thus, then, the ship sped on her way through the watches of the night from dark till dawn,