Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
BACK This Morning’s News’, Daily News, 6 Mar. 1891, 5. How long does the “first sleep” last? Sir James Crichton Browne, continuing his lectures at the Midland Institute on “Brain Rest,” told his hearers that ordinary sleep grows deeper for the first hour and a half, and then steadily diminishes until the slumberer awakens. Dr. Browne pleads for eight hours of actively working brains, though ascetic notions have lead many people to shorten the time, with the result that in certain cases it has been proved that the amount of sleep may be considerably reduced with out injury. Literary men are apt to stave the brain in the matter of sleep; but some nevertheless have got on pretty well in spite of insomnia. Carlyle and Rossetti furnish instances. Dr. Browne quoted a letter from his friend Dr. Tyndall who says “for four weeks I never had a single second of sleep, and during those nights I walked thousands of times round my room to no purpose. What astonishes me above all (he adds) is, notwithstanding my night’s weariness, my brain power does not appear to be sensibly impaired. After two or three hours’ sleep I feel my brain as strong and clear as it ever was at any period of my life.” It was in Sir J. Crichton Browne’s opinion, impossible to doubt that nutrition and repair must have gone on in the brain during periods of sleeplessness. The brain, in short, must, as he expresses it, “have learnt the trick of the heart and gone to sleep during the beats, or it must have slept in centres which were not active at the same time” It is not clear from the full passage what the answer to the question actually is Dr,. Brown starts his answer with teh statement “sleep grows deeper for the first hour and a half, and then steadily diminishes until the slumberer awakens.” so to me it seems likely that he referring to this period as ‘first sleep’ the passage goes on to say taht Dr. “Browne pleads for eight hours of actively working brains, though ascetic notions have lead many people to shorten the time, with the result that in certain cases it has been proved that the amount of sleep may be considerably reduced with out injury.” which seems somewhat unrelated to the question. ‘Reviews: Dreams and Dream Stories’, Lucifer: a Theosophical Magazine, iii (Sept. 1888–Feb. 1889), 335;  here   Also the greater number occurred towards dawn, sometimes after sunrise, during a second sleep, at a time when, according to the ancient dream-interpreters, the soul is free from the clouds or fumes of undigested food or drink, and when its nobler part is united to a higher nature, and fitted to receive the “wisdom of the Gods”. Note the use of the phrase “a second sleep” surely if this was an example that was describing Ekirch’s conception of ‘segmented sleep’ the phrase would be “the second sleep” ‘The Privateer’, Chambers’s Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, 15 Dec. 1883, 799; here Then at seven this morning, just as I was in the middle of my second sleep, there comes a thundering rat-tat Current Literature (Apr. 1889), 277. here  Philostratus, in his Life of Apollonius Tyaneus, represents the latter as informing King Phraotes that ‘the Oneiropolists, or Interpreters of Visions, are wont never to interpret any vision till they have first inquired the time at which it befell; for, if it were early, and of the morning sleep, they then thought that they might make a good interpretation thereof (that is, that it might be worth the interpreting), in that the soul was then fitted for divination, and disencumbered. But if in the first sleep, or near midnight, while the soul was as yet clouded and drowned in libations. they, being wise, refused to give any interpretation. Moreover, the gods themselves are of this opinion, and send their oracles only into abstinent minds.  Harry Campbell, Headache and Other Morbid Cephalic Sensations (London, 1894), 218–9. here  An individual wakes, let us say, at 6 A.M., and feel inclined to get up, but this being earlier than his usual time for rising he elects to stay in bed, and falls asleep, to wake later with a headache, - a result all the more likely to occur if his second sleep has been light and fitful. BACK
© Dr. Neil Stanley 2013-2018