Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
BACK Despite what Ekirch contends none of these references mention”sensual dreams”. All of these references refer to the sleep in children, teenagers and young men. Modern research show that teenagers particularly have a shift in their circadian rhythm which means that they need to sleep later in the morning that most adults. These text are recommending early rising merely to stop that dread behaviour for the Victorians, masturbation. John Adams, ‘Clinical Lecture on the Retention of Urine from Enlargement of the Prostate Gland, and on Spermatorrhoea in Connection with Irritable Prostate’,(cont. on p. 169) here  Let me explain to you what I conceive to be the rationale of this condition. Nocturnal emissions occur almost invariably under  the influence of a dream, and, as far as I can ascertain from the history of patients, are always accompanied by a sensation pleasurable or otherwise. I believe they never occur without exciting or being accompanied by some sensation. My inquiries also lead me to the conclusion that they generally occur just at the termination of the first natural sleep, and usually in the early part of the morning. They are, therefore, matutinal rather than nocturnal emissions. This is rather an essential point to understand, as you will see in the sequel. It is difficult to say whether they occur as the consequence of a dream, or whether they are of themselves the cause of the dream. My opinion is that in this regard they vary. I cannot go into a lengthened discussion as to the true nature of dreams. I believe that dreams frequently originate in the mind in imperfect sleep as a consequence of the powerful influence upon the mind of some past event; and every one knows that dreams are readily excited by some physical impression; thus school boys excite to mictarition by placing the hands of  their school fellows in cold water during sleep. Now, in the case of seminal emissions, at least such as occur night after night, or morning after morning, I think it is the mental impression which excites the dream, and the emission is the consequence. The patient is always thinking of his condition; it haunts him day and night; he gets a habit of thinking of his state, and hence in a weakened state of parts the habit of secretion and emission is also attained. That dreams are also excited by an overcharged state of parts must be evident at once, and such dreams are also accompanied by seminal emissions. I need scarcely allude to the natural mode of relief in such cases - but even these cases admit of considerable melioration by suitable means. The  phenomena of dreams constitute a most interesting department of  psychology. I shall not enter into the subject here; it is admirably  treated by the late Dr. Abercrombie, and has also been particularly elucidated by Lord Brougham in his Discourse on Natural Theology. In reference to our own subject, however, I may be permitted to allude to a well-attested phenomenon connected with dreams; I mean the rapidity with which, as Lord Brougham expresses it, a long succession of images passes through the mind with perfect distinctness and liveliness. In a dream, which occupies only an instant of time, a series of ideas relating to many events will frequently pass before us. The proof on which this assertion rests illustrates at the same time the fact that dreams generally happen just at the termination of sleep, and whilst, it may be said, we are half asleep and half awake. I am certain that this is the case with dreams attended by seminal emissions; and it is a belief in the correctness of this assertion that has led me in very many instances to recommend a simple procedure, which often alone effectually puts a stop to those discharges. I could enumerate many cases in which, by simply directing a patient to rise early in the morning, and immediately after his first sleep, a discharge, to which he has been accustomed for many days and weeks in succession, has been wholly put a stop to, and has not recurred. I believe that the first sleep is always the soundest; and if this be so, the mind may best rest as well as the body, and no dreams occur; but if the patient indulges in a second sleep, the mind wanders, dreams take place, and that impression which weighs heaviest on the mind.  Ringer, Handbook of Therapeutics, 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. Note this passage uses the phrase “first deep sleep” and thus in context is unrelated to Ekirch’s conception of segmented sleep.  Acton, Reproductive Organs, 143; here  Let me further remark, that if a man is disposed to emissions he should not allow himself to fall into a second  sleep, but should rise early; in following out this plan there is no difficulty if the patient goes to bed at a  reasonable hour. No doubt can exist that emissions most frequently take place in this second sleep ; and it is equally certain that although a man awakes thoroughly refreshed from his first sleep, he may arise after having taken a second doze thoroughly prostrated. An early call, or an alarum clock, may cure many a patient better than all the preparations in the pharmacopoeia. At first these early hours may disagree with him, but they soon become as natural as late ones were, and the patient feels a disinclination to lie in bed, equal to his old  disinclination to get up early. Of course large numbers of patients will tell you that they feel so fatigued in the morning that they cannot get up. If more sleep is required—should be the answer—let it be taken in the daytime. It would be a curious and important question for physiologists to investigate why the second sleep refreshes us so slightly when compared with the first? On awaking the first thing in the morning, most persons, and especially convalescents, feel refreshed by their night's rest ; but if they go to sleep again, and rise say at ten, they remain languid all day. Perhaps it may depend in a great measure upon the first sleep being sounder and quieter, and not being disturbed by the dreams to which those who indulge in the second are liable. The recommendation may be difficult, then, for young men to follow, but I have often thought of advising some of my confirmed cases to take a voyage on board ship, and keep the watches with the sailors, which allow of taking only four hour's sleep at a time, in the belief that this interruption of rest would break through the almost inveterate habit ; but it is difficult in these, the worst forms, to induce the patient to use any self- restraint to cure himself ; he wishes to rely on medicine, and will not give himself the trouble to exert self-will. Another very valuable suggestion is to desire the patient to practise the habit of waking early in the morning, turning out of bed, and emptying the bladder. It is in the early morning, when the bladder is full, that emissions and erections take place. In such cases, if a patient rises at 5 or 6, and goes to bed early, he may altogether avoid emissions. Note this article actually recommends that “if more sleep is required”, what would then be the second sleep, it should be taken during the daytime, so the is no injunction to forgo ‘second sleep’ per se. Howe, Excessive Venery, 219–20, here  I am accustomed to order the first meal to be taken in the morning as early as half-past six or seven o'clock, even if the  patient does not rise to eat it, but takes it in bed. I do this because the second sleep in the early morning, if allowed to run on to eight or nine without disturbance, is liable to make a marked difference in the feeling of congestion which most of these patients experience about their genitals, at that time, especially if they have not had an emission during the night. If they wake early, and get a reasonably good meal, and their circulation is equalized, there is less tendency to local congestion. I am unable to find anything relevant on page 228 here  BACK
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