Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
  BACK I have no idea as to what point Ekirch is trying to prove with this plethora of references, I would have thought it would have been better to fill the page and a half devoted to the reference list examples that actually gave credence to his argument. A Treatise of Diseases of the Head, Brain and Nerves (London, 1711),  here   CHAP. VII. Of the Coma, or unnatural Watchings . THE Coma is a great Desire and Inclination to Sleep, but with an utter inability to do it, arising from Narcotick Vapours which infest the Brain and induce the drowsy or sleepy Indisposition, yet at the same time so trouble and disquiet the Mind, that they cannot sleep at all, but wink with their Eyes and often open them, having a doting kind of Discourse, attended with an inordinate Motion of the Hands and Thighs.  It is caused sometimes by a great weakness of the Faculties of the Body, either from some grievous Disease and violent Pains, or from immoderate Evacuations, which have dissipated the Animal Spirits. Unnatural ← Watchings, are when the common external sense is wearied beyond due or just measure, arising from the continual uninterrupted Influx of the Spirits into the Organs, as we find when we have over tired our selves by much Walking, Running or Riding, we cannot sleep, tho' we greatly want and desire it, but tumble, and toss and stretch. Unnatural Watchings are also occasioned by too much Light, Noise, Cares of the Mind, being too thoughtful or intent upon Matters, &c. all which hinder Sleep, also Pains, Coughs, Fluxes, a hot Distemper of the Brain, hot, sharp, and salt Vapours, which twitch and disturb the Spirits and Meninges of the Brain, making People uneasy and restless; or from difect of such natural Vapours, as procure Rest to the Animal Spirits, which long Abstinence from Food will cause, as also Eating too much, especially Suppers.  When Watchings proceed from a Disease, and become a Coma of long standing, the Cure is very doubtful, especially if they have their Speech hindred, or when they breathe, a murmuring Noise be heard in the Throat, or a thin Humour distils out of the Nostrils, or the Patient not able to swallow without difficulty, for in those Cases it is dangerous, or at least they degenerate into a Lethargy or Frenzy,  The Cure of a Coma or unnatural Watchings as they proceed from an Humour or internal Cause, that interrupts the Quietude of the Spirits, is best accomplish'd, especially in the Coma, by my Cephalick purging Pills and Cephalick Elixir, prescribed in Chapter the First; and which if taken as therein directed, will carry off those offending Humours, that the Patient will have his Natural Rest, without taking Opiates and other Narcotick Medicines, which, as they only palliate the Distemper, and give ease but for a while, do in the end rather injure than relieve Thomas Elyot, The Castel of Helth:  (London, 1539, STC 7643), fos. 47–8; here Williyam Bulleyn, Bulleins Bulwarke of Defence againste All Sicknes, Sornes, and Woundes (London, 1562, STC 4033), fos. 69–70;  here Guglielmo Gratarolo, A Direction for the Health of Magistrates and Studentes Namely Suche as Bee in their Consistent Age, or Neere Thereunto: Drawen Aswell out of Sundry Good and Commendable Authours, as Also upon Reason and Faithfull Experience Otherwise Certaynely Grounded, trans. T[homas] N[ewton] (London, 1574, STC 12193a), sigs. Slii–Tiv; Laurent Joubert, Popular Errors (1578), trans.  Gregory David de Rocher (Tuscaloosa, 1989), 112–13; Chapter VII That one must not know the woman before going to sleep, and that because workers do not they are less gouty and have more children I have two things to point out: why it is that workers (such as plowmen and artisans) usually have more children than people who sit or people of means, and why it is that they are less gouty. I am passing over  the other cause of gout for the moment, here, where I am discussing generation, it is enough to note that gout very often comes from the impotunate and untimely venereal act. That is, when one gives oneself to it before the stomach has finished digesting, after having drunk, as do naturally those who are too much subject and given over to carnal, licentious, and lecherous voluptuousness. For the people, any time is a good one, that is, they do not observe any special hours, but rather, full of idleness (used for a “good time”), overnourished bodily, underfed mentally, they go looking for such business, and force themselves, nay, push and lay hard into nature with this folly, for which, in the end, they pay dearly. The foreshorten their lives considerably, just as do lavacious and wanton lechers, who do not live very long but fall quickly subject, pray, and victim to gout, colic, nephritis, apoplexy, paralysis, convulsions and other diseases of indigestion (the cause of phlegm, father of all diseases). Because the lecher loses large amounts of spirits and natural heat by using up a lot of blood ( a substance very close to sperm,  and one from which it is produced ) the parts responsible for the body’s nourishment are made cold and weak and, consequently, cannot allow for proper digestion. And now for frequency, or excessive duration of the venereal act, indulged in by people who live a life of ease and spend more time on their pleasures that the poor workers( who must think more about what they are going to live on that day than about making love, even if work toughens them and makes them stronger, rendering them less fragile and less subject to disease). The other consideration is one of time, and on this matter we say that the impotunate and untimely venereal act is a cause if indigestion and a bad stomach as when one goes at it right after a meal and as soon as one is in bed, as is naturally the case with people who are idle and who sit. The poor workers, on the contrary, are very tired after a day’s work, no sooner in bed than they are asleep, and if they have anything to ask of their wives, it is after they have rested, slept and digested supper. At this time they have more enjoyment, do it better, at their ease, lustily, and get the good one should out of this natural act: namely, they get up more nimble and lively  because the natural heat is increased by it, not dissipated or weakened, And they are more certain of impregnating their wives, if there be cause. This brings us to the other point: the large number of children one notices among workers (more than among the rich and well off). The reason for this can be found it what was shown in the preceding chapters five and six ; the longer sperm remains in the vesicles and is not spilled or spread about prodigally, the more it is fecund and prolific. This is what one observes most often and for the most part among the poor, chaste, and continent workers, both with respect to the work, which occupies them , and the poverty, which makes them happy with their ordinary lot. Because the build up a better stock of sperm and use it in a better way, they rarely miss the mark (if the wife is properly disposed) This is how they fill their homes with children, because of whom they are till poorer, but not in that grace and blessing that the royal psalmist David promises those who fear God, who provides everything in His bounty and generosity. This is also how they are less gouty from  any venereal cause and, at the same time, father healthier and more robust children. Now, on the necessity of not knowing the woman before sleeping, and following the example of these good people beyond the very successful experience i have just discussed and for the reasons given, I wish to demonstrate and prove it still further. Wakefulness, and activity of the animal virtues or faculties, causes considerable dissipation of spirits, even in the most idle person in the world, just as the exercise of the external senses (and especially of sight) consumes a lot of spirits. Like wise with speech, and with all movement, calculating, speaking, thinking along with the emotions, whether joy or laughing, hope or fear, and similar actions or feelings, all of which cause a notable dissipation of spirits and of the fine blood, as long as one is awake. Because of this, one is finally forced to sleep, during which the animal functions stop and rest so that during these cessations one might reconstitute one’s spirits and amass them so as to provide for another period of wakefulness. Otherwise, lessened and impaired, the body dissolves and decays, because all its food (or most of it) is used up in replenishing spirits to animate wakefulness If, the wakefulness causes dissipation of spirits,which in turn requires and calls for the necessity of sleep ( a saving and withdrawing from considerable expenditure), and if on another account the venereal act also cause a notable consumption or use of spirits, it is certain that such an act is inappropriate or (as Celsus says) worse during the day and more sure at night. But this is on one condition that, as the same author prescribes, right afterwards one does not attempt to stay awake and to work beside. For after this act it is necessary to rest and even to sleep a little, if possible, so as to not suffer loss upon loss of spirits. Thus, the most appropriate time is after the first sleep, when one has satisfied nature, when one has replenished a good amount of dissipated and spent spirits of the proceeding wakefulness, and when the body has enjoyed the profits of the food taken during the day. This is when one must turn to one’s wife, if one is invited by the stirrings of the flesh, and must immediately thereafter get back to sleep again, if possible or if not, at least to remain in bed and relax while talking together joyfully. Leuine Lemnie, The Touchstone of Complexions:  (London, 1576, STC 15456), fos. 56v–58*r, 112v–114; here Cogan, Hauen of Health, 231–9; here Christof Wirsung, Praxis Medicinae Vniuersalis; London, 1598, STC 25862), 150–1, 618; here  Du Laurens, Discourse of the Preseruation of the Sight, 95–100, 114–17, 157, 178, 189–90; here  William Vaughan, Naturall and Artificial Directions for Health (London, 1600, STC 24612), 30–2; here  To[bias] Venner, Via recta ad vitam longam: (London, 1628, STC 24645), 269–82; here  Ambrose Parey, The Workes of that Famous Chirurgion Ambrose Parey Translated out of Latine and Compared with the French, trans. Th[omas] Johnson (London, 1634, STC 19189), 35–7; here  H. Brooke, Ugieine: or, a Conservatory of Health.  74–82; here Of Sleeping and Wakefulness. THe Subject of Sleep is not the Heart, as Aristotle hath asserted; but the Brain, as Galen: for to that we make our applications in cases of too much Sleep,* as in the Lethargy, or of too little, as in Phrensies. The cause thereof is, the ascention of pleasant and benigne Vapors into the Head from the blood, and Aliment: benigne ones I say, for those that are sharp, hot, and furious intheir Motions (as in Burning or putrid Feavors) occasion Wakefulness, and want of Rest. In Sleep, Heat, Blood, and Spirits retire towards the Center and inward parts, which is one reason why 'tis a furtherance to digestion. When we are awake the Understanding is employed, the Senses, the Limbs, and parts destined to Motion, whereby the Spirits are wasted; it is necessary therefore, that they be replenished by Sleep; In which all the Faculties are at rest,* except sometimes the Phansy, and alwaies the Motions of the Pulse, and Respiration. By that cares are taken away, Anger is appeased, the Storms, Agonies, and Agitations of the Body are calmed, the Mind is rendred Tranquil and Serene. It Stops all immoderate Fluxes, except Sweating. Hence is it that*Soporiferous Potions are good in Lienteries, and all other Laskes. *These are the Commodities of Moderate Sleep; of Immoderatethe Inconveniences are: 1. In that the Heat being thereby called into the Body, it consumes the superfluous Moistures, and then the Necessary; and lastly, the Solid parts themselves, and so extenuates, dries, & emaciates the Body. And secondly it fixes the Spirits, and makes them sluggish and stupid; it duls the understanding, it hardens the Excrements, and makes the Body Costive, from whence follows many inconveniences. Old men may Sleep long; and 'tis necessary they should,* for nothing refreshes them more: for that end Condite Lettice is very good, eaten to Bed-ward: So is the washing of their Feet or Hands, or both, in warm water, with flowres of Water-Lillies, Chamo∣mil, Dill, Heads of Poppy, Vine-leaves, Roses, &c. boiled in it; It is necessary likewise that they go to bed Merry, and keep their Minds devoid of Perturbations. That they avoid Costiveness, by taking loosening Meats at the beginning of their Meals, and by using now and then, as need requireth, some Laxative: as Electuarium Lenitivum, Catholicum, or Benidicta Laxativa, of any of them 2. drams in the Mornings, with a little powder of Anniseeds: or yet Cassia, Tamarinds, or Prunes Pulp'd, Manna, &c. either of themselves, or dissolved in Broth or Posset-drink; But these, though gentle, I advise they use not too often, for better is it to be moved natural∣ly; besides that by the frequency, the Party using them will loose the benefit thereof. Children may likewise sleep Largely; So may the Cholerick, and the Lean: The Phlegmatick and Fat should Watch much. *Sleep after Dinner may be allowed Old men, Children, and they who are accustomed to it; And then 'tis best not to lie, or hang down the Head, but to sit upright in a Chaire, to have no binding be∣fore upon the breast, and not to be suddenly awaked; but better it is, that they only drowze for the better closure of the Stomack, for long sleeping in the day, indisposes the Body very much, and makes the Nights restless, but they are especially Hurtful for those that are apt to Rheums, Sore Eyes and Coughes. *The best form of Lying is with the Arms and Thighs somewhat contract, the Head a little elevated, on either of the Sides, for lying on the back is bad for the Stone, assists much the Ascension of Vapors, and wasts the Marrow in the Spine. Over-much Watching consumeth the Spirits,dryeth the body, hurteth the Eye-sight, and very much shortens our Lives. [Thomas Willis], Dr Willis’s Practice of Physick Being All the Medical Works of That Renowned and Famous Physician . . . : (London, 1681);  here By the right * rule of Nature, Sleep and ← Watching → ought, like Castor and Pollux, to give place to each other, and change turns, according to the just limits of their reign. This vicissitude, as long as it is well observed, conduces very much not onely to the preservation of health, but to the improvement of the faculties of our minds. But if the dominion of either be too long continued, it thereupon immediately ceases to be possible, ut sit mens sana in corpore sano, i. e. for our mind and body to be both in health. Through immoderate sleep, all the faculties both our natural and animal functions grow very dull, in so much that thereby a man becomes more fit for his Grave than Humane society. On the contrary, long ← watching → wasteth the strength of a man, and either weakeneth or perverteth the powers of Life. Wherefore among such Remedies as are suitable to our wants, the wise Creator hath abundantly provided for our necessities; to wit, that it should be in our own power to cause or repel sleep or watchfulness as often as we think it convenient; or if they be offensive at any time either in defect or excess, to moderate them. John Crawford, Cursus medicinæ; or, a Complete Theory of Physic. I(London, 1724), 209–14; This is a repeat of the Dr Boerhaave chapter below  here  George Cheyne, An Essay of Health and Long Life (London, 1724), ch. 3; here Dr Boerhaave’s Academical Lectures on the Theory of Physic. (London, 1745) iv, 278–80; The chapetr actually goes to page 340 here John Groenvelt, The Rudiments of Physick Clearly and Accurately Describ’d and Explain’d, (Sherborne, [1753?]), 149–54;  here Malcolm Flemyng, An Introduction to Physiology: (London, 1759), 342–7; here  Mr Tissot, An Essay on the Disorders of People of Fashion, trans. Francis Bacon Lee (London, [1771]), 37–8; here Of Sleep and Watching.' Sect. 26. The influence of the passions principally as. sects our flumbers; the length of our sleep, its regularity and tranquillity are the strongst appendages of health. If, in this respect, we drats a parallel between the rich and brilliant inhabitants of cities, and those of the fields, we shall find all the advantages in favour of the latter. The hour when he retires to rest, which is that designed by nature, obviously marked for the repose of all animals, and the disposition he is in when he resigns himself up to it, renders it impossible that the deep of the one should resemble that of the others. The peasant whose nerves are not agitated by any affection of the foul, or blood inflamed, or stomach labouring with the effects of an erroneous regimen, lays himself down and steeps ; his slumbers are tranquil and profound ; it fa difficult to wake him, but the moment his spirits are recruited, he awakes, he is perfectly eafy, fresh, strong, and light. The man of fashion, disturbed by business, projects, pleasures, disappointments, and the regrets of the day, heated by food and drinks, goes to bed with trembled nerves, agitated pulse, a stomach labouring with the load and acrimony of his food, the vessels full, or juices which inflame them, indispofition, anxiety, the fever accompanies him to bed, and for a long time keeps him waking; if he closes his eyes, his slumbers are short, uneasy, agitating, troubled with frightful dreams, and sudden startings ; instead of the labourer's morning briskness, he wakes with palpitations, feverish, languid, dry, his mouth out of order, his urine hot, low spirited, heavy, ill tempered, his strength impaired, his nerves irritated and lax, his blood thick and inflamed ; every night reduces his health, and fortifies the seed of some disease. B. Cornwell, The Domestic Physician;  (London, 1784), 77–89; interestingly although published in 1784 this chapter contains no mention of ‘first sleep’ or ‘second sleep’  here  BACK
© Dr. Neil Stanley 2013-2018