Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
BACK Edward Smith, Health: a Handbook for Households and Schools (New York, 1875), 102 here  It is difficult to name a given number of hours for sleep at all seasons, but eight hours for an adult, man or woman, and somewhat more for children and old people, is believed to be right. Children naturally sleep long because their bodies need rest for growth, and they go to bed very early; whilst old people are more wakeful, and require to lie down longer than they can sleep. People generally sleep too much, having regard to their health and the proper use of time, and with the mind at rest a less quantity would be equally good. They should not, however, go to bed late and rise early, but if they must rise early they should go to bed early. Those who go to bed at nine may get up at four or five clock, and those who stay up until ten or eleven may rest until five, six, or seven o'clock, according to their age, health, and duties. The proper rule is to go to bed early and rise early, and to make the best use of the morning hours for devotion and study. Contrary to what Ekirch states nowhere in this passage does the author advise that sleep “consume a minimum of six or seven hours”. There is no mention or even suggestion of anything reassembling ‘segmented sleep’ nor does this support Ekirch’s statement that “In the early modern era,  first  and  second sleep had generally been of equal duration, approximately three to three and a half hours apiece. But a distinct imbalance began to emerge by the mid-1800s, marked by a gradual expansion of the first phase to five or six hours at the expense of the second.” Sydney Ringer, A Handbook of Therapeutics, 4th edn (New York, 1875), 104; here  Dr. George Bird has pointed out that seminal emissions occur from undue indulgence in bed, the emissions taking place very generally early in the morning, during the second sleep. He recommends, therefore, that the patient should be roused after six or seven hour's sleep, and should never give in to a second sleep. Dr. Hardman of Blackpool tells me that he has cured some obstinate cases of spermatorrhoea, by directing the patient to empty his bladder on waking - from the first deep sleep. In this passage clearly illustrates the actual meanings of the phrases, it is clear that “first deep sleep” refers to the first deep sleep of the night and second sleep is simply the second part of the night which is spent predominantly in N” and REM sleep (nocturnal emissions occurring during REM) Charles Hole (ed.), The Practical Moral Lesson Book: Embracing the Principles which, as Derived from the Teaching of Scripture and the Writings of the Most Eminent Authors, Should Regulate Human Conduct. Arranged and Adapted More Especially for the Use of Young Persons in Schools and Families, 3 vols. (London, 1871), ii, 140. (This passage actually appears in Volume I not II as Ekirch states) here  To insure good sleep, the following directions should be observed : — 1. As to the time of sleep. — Eight hours is sufficient for all those persons who work moderately, and live regularly. Children will sleep an hour longer with benefit, while there is a difference to be observed between males and females in their requisite terms of sleep. In cold weather we are naturally more torpid than in warm ; but this has but little influence on man in a civilised state, as he has always the means of keeping the body in a comfortable temperature by clothing. The hours of retiring to rest should be regularly observed. To retire at ten, and rise at six, is the common practice of many, and these are very good hours for securing the necessary repose. To sleep as much at night, and make as much use of the daylight as possible, is beneficial to health: thus the pro verb says : — Early to bed, and early to rise, If you would be healthy, wealthy, and wise. All persons in ordinary health should rise on awakening out of their first sleep. The practice is likely to produce more soundness of rest. A second sleep is seldom refreshing, and often does harm rather than good. This passage actually describes eight hours consolidated sleep and thus totally contradicts Ekirch’s conception of ‘segmented sleep’ BACK
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