Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
BACK Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, Physiologie du gout:(Paris, 1847), 210. here Note that this is a description of one single night which would rather contradict Ekirch’s claim that “Until the close of the early modern era, Western Europeans on most evenings experienced two major intervals of sleep bridged by up to an hour or more of quiet wakefulness.” En l'an vm (1800), m'étant couché sans aucun antécédent remarquable, je me réveillai vers une heure du matin, temps ordinaire de mon premier sommeil; je me trouvai dans un état d'excitation cérébrale tout à fait extraordinaire; mes conceptions étaient vives, mes pensées profondes; la sphère de mon intelligence me paraissait agrandie. J'étais levé sur mon séant et mes yeux étaient affectés de la sensation d'une lumière pâle, vaporeuse, indéterminée, et qui ne servait en aucune manière à faire distinguer les objets. In the year 1800, having gone to bed without any remarkable antecedents, I woke up about one o'clock morning, ordinary time of my first sleep; I found myself in a state of extraordinary cerebral excitement; my conceptions were vivid, my thoughts profound; the sphere of my intelligence seemed to me enlarged. I was up in my sitting, and my eyes were affected by the sensation of a pale, vaporous, indeterminate light, which in no way served to distinguish objects.  ‘The  Gold  Finders’,  Irish Literary Gazette,  28  Nov.  page 251 1857 here  What is worst of all, however, is, that his passion for blowing the flute often seizes him in the night, and then he never fails to diddle all my guests out of their first sleep  F.  W.  H. Myers, ‘Specimens of the Classification of Cases for ‘‘Phantasms of the Living’’: VII’, Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, i (1884–85), 192; here  From Mr. Thomas Hume. 109, Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh. August 19th. 1884. During a night in the year 1812, or thereabouts, somewhere about 1 or 2 o'clock, as my mother lay half awake. after her first sleep, as it is termed, she was suddenly startled and alarmed by a terrible crash on the window of the bedroom, by which the whole glass was apparently shivered to pieces in a moment; and immediately thereafter. as if in the distance, a low, melancholy wail, though quite distinct, of "0 Vale, Vale." Note the use of the phrase “as it is termed”, this raises the question of by whom? and what in context were they actually describing? Guillaume Garnier, ‘Le  Corps  endormi  au  cœur  du   fait   divers   dans   le   monde   rural   du   premier xixe sie`cle’, Annales de Bretagne et des Pays de l’Ouest, cxvi (2009), 40–4.  here This paper merely draws on Ekirch work. On the 11th October 1820, the little village of Méré becomes the heart of a bloody trivial event. Anne Berthelot’s corpse is found in a state of decay in the well of the community. The crime will soon be solved: her husband, Joseph Berthelot, murdered her on a September night, exasperated with a new quarrel. Whatever trivial or amazing, this event enlightens a fact rarely honoured in recent historiography: the sleeping body. In the very middle of the night, Joseph Berthelot hit his wife while she was asleep, letting old feelings re-emerge in his next-door neighbours. A mysterious night is the world of all dangers, especially for the sleeper who is then vulnerable. A sleeping body is “on the defensive”, so as to protect itself, but to protect its belongings too. In fact, this event carries us away on rhythms of sleep preindustrial societies didn’t know very well. Sleepers probably experienced a “first sleep”, a period of wake then a “second sleep”, which Roger Ekirch defines as segmented sleep. So, sleepers were not prostrated at home but they could go through licit night habits such as looking after animals, having sexual intercourse, sleep or illicit habits such as theft or fights. William Heberden, Commentaries on the History and Cure of Diseases (London,   1802)  here  Note that none of the reference locate ‘first sleep’ as being in the middle of the night. page 27 The greatest torment is usually felt after the first sleep. Page 52 Wherever there is any degree of asthma, it rarely fails of showing itself just upon waking out of the first sleep. Page 130 the first attacks of the epilepsy being most usually in the night, just after the first sleep Page 272 In every other case, which I have observed, the bed has constantly aggravated this uneasy sensation, which has usually been worst of all just upon waking out of the first sleep. Page 296 Lastly, Its attacks are often after the first sleep, which is a circumstance common to many spasmodic disorders  ‘An   Author’s Evenings’, Port  Folio, 12 Mar. 1803, 83; T. H. White, Bellgrove Castle: or, the Horrid Spectre! A Romance, 4 vols. (London, 1803), iii, 90; here   It was twelve o’clock when we arrived, so that we gave up all hopes of seeing you,then, and retired to bed somewhat fatigued with travelling. “Before I had well finished my first sleep, I was awoke with a commotion and bustle in the house and the cry of of ”fire” soon induced us to use all preparation we could to escape This is an example that challenges Ekirch’s assertions that “Typically, descriptions recounted how an aroused individual had "had," "taken," or "gotten" his or her "first sleep." and that “the vast weight of surviving evidence indicates that awakening naturally was routine, not the consequence of disturbed or fitful slumber. Critical Review: or, Annals of Literature, iv (1804), 112; here Why all this hustle ? this rattling of wheels, this clattering of hoofs, this clangour of horns, this cracking of thongs, and bloody flagellations ? "Why this uproar and nocturnal revel? Why are whole towns to be disturbed, and chambers to be violated ? On what account are quiet, honest people to be frightened out of their first sleep, and the hour, perhaps, of fortunate repose on the bed of sickness, terrified and chased away ? Our mail coaches, like Macbeth, " have murdered sleep." This is an example that challenges Ekirch’s assertions that “Typically, descriptions recounted how an aroused individual had "had," "taken," or "gotten" his or her "first sleep." and that “the vast weight of surviving evidence indicates that awakening naturally was routine, not the consequence of disturbed or fitful slumber.” Edward Goodman Clarke, The Modern Practice of Physic (London, 1805), 298; here Note that none of the references locate ‘first sleep’ as being in the middle of the night. The fudden acceffion of the paroxyfms generally after the firft fleep page 371 by the paroxyfms not coming on at regular periods, and in their firft sleep page 296 The paroxyfms of afthma very frequently commence during or after the fifrt fleep  E. W. ‘Obituary: Elizabeth Fullilove’, Evangelical Magazine, xiii (1805), 316; here   They filled my mind before I was well awake from my first sleep, and followed me all the night very sweetly.  Kotzebue, ‘Pompeii’, Literary Magazine, and American Register, v (1806), 359;  here . What must have been the feelings of the Pompeians, when the roaring of the mountain and the quaking of the earth waked them from their first sleep! This is an example that challenges Ekirch’s assertions that “Typically, descriptions recounted how an aroused individual had "had," "taken," or "gotten" his or her "first sleep." and that “the vast weight of surviving evidence indicates that awakening naturally was routine, not the consequence of disturbed or fitful slumber.” The Life and Death of Two Young Ladies, Contrasted (n.p., 1806), 15; Miss Edgeworth, Moral Tales for Young People, 3 vols. (London, 1806), ii, 53; here “So,” said Holloway, “I must descend, and get home before Mr. Supine wakens from his first sleep.”  ‘Extracts from the ‘‘Miseries of Human Life’’ ’, Lady’s Weekly Miscellany, 1 Aug. 1807, 314;  John Cheyne, The Pathology of the Membrane of the Larynx and Bronchia (London, 1809), 65; here  Mr. R___’s daughter, five years old, with red hair, very fair, high complexion, and subject to a croupy cough. This child has had a hard cough for several days, and she has awoke every night from her first sleep with a frequent hoarse croupy cough. This is an example that challenges Ekirch’s assertions that “Typically, descriptions recounted how an aroused individual had "had," "taken," or "gotten" his or her "first sleep." and that “the vast weight of surviving evidence indicates that awakening naturally was routine, not the consequence of disturbed or fitful slumber.” Bartholomew Parr, The London Medical Dictionary: Including under Distinct Heads Every Branch of Medicine, viz. Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathology, the Practice of Physic and Surgery, Therapeutics, and Materia Medica; with whatever Relates to Medicine in Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, and Natural History, 3 vols. (London, 1809), i, 121 here Note that these references do not locate ‘first sleep’ as being in the middle of the night. The cause is most probably a spasm, or convulsion, as appears from its sudden attack and speedy departure, the long intervals of ease, the relief afforded by wine and spirituous cordials, its generally bearing the motion of a horse or carriage well, and its coming on in the night after the first sleep ; at which time asthmas, the nightmare, convulsions, and other disorders attributed to the disturbed functions of the nerves, are peculiarly apt to return, or to be aggravated. ii, 633. here   The croupy breathing then come on suddenly, often in the first sleep BACK
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