Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
BACK Northbrooke, Treatise, The reference is actually John Northbrooke, Spiritus est vicarius Christi in terra. A treatise wherein dicing, dauncing, vaine playes or enterluds with other idle pastimes [et]c. commonly vsed on the Sabboth day, are reproued by the authoritie of the word of God and auntient writers. Made dialoguewise by Iohn Northbrooke minister and preacher of the word of God  1577 YOVTH. I tell you truth, I prayed not, but I haue playde all this night, that this morning I coulde scarse holde open my eyes for sleepe, and therefore was fayne for to recouer my loste sleepe this forenoone. AGE. You haue herein abused Gods ordinance, [Note: Psa. 104.20.23. Psal. 74.16 Psa. 136.8.9 ] and your selfe also. For God made the daye for man to trauell in, and the night for man to rest in. &c. YOVTH. Why good father, is it not reason that a man shuld take his rest, and sleepe when he pleaseth. AGE. Yes in dede, so that he vseth his rest and sleepe mode|rately and orderly, that he may the better go about those lawfull affayres that he hath to doe. For otherwise (as you vse your rest 18 and sleepe) shall happen to you, [Note: Prou. 20.13. ] as Salomon sayth: He that lo|ueth sleepe shall come vnto pouertie. &c. Our life is a watching, therefore we ought to take heede, [Note: Mark. 1[...].3[...] [...]. Peter. 5.8. ] that wee lose not the greatest part of our life with sleepe, namely, sith of the same many vices be engendred as well of the bodie as of the mynde. Cato to thys effect sayth: Plus vigila semper, nec somno deditus esto, Nam diuturna quies vitijs alimenta ministrat. YOVTH. You knowe that sleepe was giuen for mans preseruation, for that nothing hauing lyfe is there that sleepeth not. Aristotle sayeth, [Note: Arist. lib. 4. de [...]. ] that all creatures hauing bloude, take their repose and sleepe. &c. Sleepe is a surceasing of all the senses from trauel, which is, or is caused by certaine euaporations and fumes rysing of our meate and sustenance receyued, mounting from the sto|macke immediately vnto the braine, by whose great coldenesse these vapors warme are tempered, casting into a slumber euerye the forces or senses exterior, at which time the vitall spirites re|tiring to the heart, leaue all the members of the bodie in a sleepe, vntill such time againe, as these sayde vitall spirites recouer new force and strength to them againe, and so these vapors, or ceasing, or diminishing, man agayne awaketh, and returneth to himselfe, more apt to his businesse, than at any time before. And therefore to sleepe and take muche rest, is not so noysome or hurtfull as you affirme. AGE. You haue herein shewed your selfe like a Philosopher and a Phisition: but farre wyde eyther from good Philosophie or wholesome Phisicke. Although it be good and necessarie for the bodie, yet must it not be with excesse, and immoderately taken: for that to much sleepe sayth Aristotle, [Note: Aristotl[...]. ] weakeneth the spirites of the bodie, as well, as also of the soule, euen as moderate and co~|petent rest bettereth them, increasing their vigor and their force, euen so immoderate rest hurteth and weakeneth. For as manye things are necessarie and needefull in mans lyfe, so taking in ex|cesse and out of season, annoy and grieue much: as to eate, who feeleth not howe hunger vs compelleth, and yet he that eateth too 19 much, repenteth it, as we commonly see. Sleepe then must bee taken, for necessitie onely, to reuiue, refreshe, and comforte the wearye senses, the spirites vitall, and other wearye members. For too much sleepe (besides that it maketh heauie the spirits and senses, the partie also becommeth slouthfull, weake, and effemi|nate with ouermuche ydlenesse) ingendreth much humiditie and rawe humors in the bodie, which commonlye assaulte it with sundrie infirmities, messengers of death, and of finall ruine. For when we sleepe too muche, all the moystures and humors of the bodie, with the naturall heate, retire to the extreme parts therof, no where purging or euacuating whatsoeuer is redundant. So then vnmeasurable sleepe is not onely forbidden by Philosophers and Phisitions but also is a thing odious to the wise. Ouid with other Poetes, terme sleepe an Image, or pourtraite of death, saying: VVhat else thou foole, [Note: Ouid. ] is sluggishe sleepe, but forme of frosen death? By setled houres of certaine rest, approch thy want of breath. Therefore be you (and all suche as you are) ashamed then, that spende the greater parte of your tyme in ydlenesse and sleepe in your beddes, vntill you bee readye to goe to youre dynner, neglecting thereby all dutie of seruice both towardes God and man. [Note: Holcot in lib Sap. cap. 4. ] These are the men that one speaketh of, saying: Diu dor|miunt de mane, & sero cito cubant de nocte, They will go verye late to bedde at night, and sleepe long in the morning. Surelye he that so doth, his offence is nothing lesse than his, that all daye doth sitte in fatte dishes, surfetting lyke a grosse and swollen Epicure, considering these creatures shoulde onely bee taken, to the sole sustentation and maintenance of life, and not to fill or pamper voluptuouslye the bellye. [Note: Dionys. in Rom. cap. 13. ] Dionysius sayeth: Non viuas, vt edas: sed edas vt viuere posses: ad sanita|tem, non ad incontinentiam habenda est ratio, Thou lyuest not to eate, butte eate as thou mayest lyue: For there 20 must be a gouernement to vse it for thy health, and not to incon|tinencie. Chrisostome sayth: [Note: Chrysost in Gene. cap. 6. homil. 23. ] Non vita est propter cibum & po|tum, sed propter vitum cibus & potus. The life is not appoynted for meate and drinke, but meate and drinke is appoynted for the life. In which sort we must take our sleepe, onely for necessitie, and nothing for ydle pleasure, and that in due time, and not out of season, that we may the better serue God and our ne[...]ghbours. If that yong man Eutichus, [Note: Act. 20.9. ] for sleeping at Paules sermon at Troas in a windowe, fell downe (as a punishment of God) from the thirde lofte, deade, what punishment then thinke you, will God bring vpon you and other like, that sleepe from the sermon? and neuer come to diuine seruice, but sleepe oute Sermons and all, which commeth to passe by your night watchings and ydle pastimes, therefore no excuse will serue you herein. Sir Thomas Overbury, The "Conceited Newes" of Sir Thomas Overbury and His Friends, James E. Savage, ed. (1616; rpt. edn., Gainesville, Fla., 1968), 167; THat the best prospect is to looke inward. That it is quieter slee|ping in a good conscience then a whole skin. That a soule in a fat bo|dy lies soft, and is loath to rise. That he must rise betimes who would cosen the Diuell. That Flatterie is increased, from a pillow vnder the elbow, to a bed vnder the whole body. That Policie is the vnsleeping night of rea|son. That hee who sleepes in the cra|dle of securitie, sinnes soundly with|out starting. That guilt is the Flea of the conscience. That no man is throughly awaked, but by affliction. That a hang'd Chamber in priuate, is nothing so conuenient as a hang'd Traitor in publike. That the religi|on of Papistrie, is like a curtaine, made to keepe out the light. That the life of most Women is walking in their sleep, and they talke their dreames. That Chambering is counted a ciuil|ler qualitie, then playing at tables in the Hall, though seruing-men vse both That the best bedfellow for all times in the yeare, is a good bed without a fel|low. That he who tumbles in a calm bed, hath his tempest within. That he who will rise, must first lie downe and take humilitie in his way. That sleepe is deaths picture drawne to life, or the twi-light of life and death. That in sleepe wee kindely shake death by the hand; but when we are awaked, wee will not know him. That often sleepings are so many trials to die, that at last we may do it perfectly. That few dare write the true newes of their Chamber: and that I haue none se|cret enough to tempt a strangers curi|ositie, or a Seruants discouerie. God giue you good morrow. The Whole Duty of Man . . . (London, 1691), 188–89; here just for clarity the book is Richard Allestree, The whole duty of man laid down in a plain way for the use of the meanest reader divided into XVII chapters : one whereof being read every Lords day, the whole may be read over, thrice in the year, necessary for all families : with private devotions. THE Third part of TEMPERANCE concernes SLEEP:  And Temperance in that also must be measured by the end for which sleep was ordained by God, which was only the refreshing and supporting of our frail bodies, which being of such a temper that continual labour and toil tires and wearies them out, Sleep comes as a Medicine to that weariness, as a repairer of that decay, that so we may be enabled to such labours as the duties of Religion or works of our Calling require of us. Sleep was intended to make us more profitable, not more idle; as we give rest to our beasts; not that we are pleased with their doing nothing, but that they may do us the better service. 2. By this therefore you may judge what is *temperate sleeping; to wit, that which tends to the refreshing and making us more lively and fit for action; and to that end a moderate degree serves best. It will be impossible to set down just how many hours is that moderate degree, because as in eating so in sleep, some constitutions require more then others. Every mans own experience must in this judge for him, but then let him judge uprightly and not consult with his sloth in the case, for that will still, with Solomons sluggard, cry, A little more sleep, a little more slumber, a little more folding of the hands to sleep, Prov. 24. 33. But take only so much as he really findes to tend to the end forementioned. 3. He that doth not thus limit himself falls into several sins under this general one of sloth, * as first, he wastes his time, that precious talent which was committed to him by God to improve, which he that sleeps away, doth like him in the Gospel, Matth. 25. 18. Hides it in the earth when he should be trading with it; and you know what was the doom of that unprofitable servant, vers 30. Cast ye him into outer darkness: he that gives himself to darkness of sleep here, shall there have darkness without sleep, but with weeping and gnashing of teeth. Secondly, he injures his body, immoderate sleep sils that full of diseases, makes it a very sink of humours, as daily experience shews us. Thirdly, he injures his Soul also, and that not only in robbing it of the service of the body, but in dulling its proper faculties, making them useless and unfit for those imployments to which God hath designed them; of all which ill husbandry the poor Soul must one day give account. Nay, lastly, he affronts and despises God himself in it, by crossing the very end of his creation, which was to serve God in an active obedience, but he that sleeps away his life, directly thwarts and contradicts that, and when God saith, Man is born to labour, his practice saith the direct contrary, that man was born to rest. Take heed therefore of giving thy self to immoderate sleep, which is the committing of so many sins in one. 4. But besides the sin of it, it is also very * hurtful in other respects, it is the sure bane of thy outward estate, wherein the sluggish person shall never thrive; according to that observation of the Wise man, Pro. 23. 21. Drowsiness shall cover a man with rags; that is, the slothful man shall want convenient clothing; nay, indeed it can scarce be said, that the sluggard lives: Sleep you know is a kind of death, and he that gives himself up to it, what doth he but die before his time? Therefore if untimely death be to be lookt upon as a curse, it must needs be a strange folly to chuse that from our own sloth which we dread so much from Gods hand. Richard L. Greaves, Society and Religion in Elizabethan England (Minneapolis, 1981), 385–87. BACK
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