Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
BACK M. Tissot, Onanism: or, a Treatise upon the Disorders Produced by Masturbation: or,the Dangerous Effects of Secret and Excessive Venery (London, 1766), 122. here Note it is not in fact Tissot who advises this but “Mr. Lewis”. This reference is only relevant to “a patient afflicted with the difeafe I am preferibing to, an indulgence in bed in the morning.” and so is of limited relevance to the vast majority of people. SLEEP. What may be faid upon fleep is reduced to three articles; its length, the time of taking it, and the neceffary precautions to enjoy it with tranquillity. Seven, or at moft eight hours fleep are fufficient for adult people; it is dangerous to fleep more, or continue longer in bed, for too much repofe produces the fame diforders as too much fleep. If any might be allowed to go beyond this time, it would be thofe who take a great deal of exercife of a violent kind in the day-time; but thefe are not the people who addict themfelves to it: on the contrary, the moft fedentary people are the fondeft of their bed. Therefore this term fhould never be prolonged, without a perfon is come to that pitch of weaknefs that he has not ftrength fufficient to remain long up; and in this cafe, he fhould keep out of bed as long as he could, ‘The lefs we fleep,’ fays Mr. Lewis, ‘reft is the fweeter and the more ftrengthening.’ It is demonftrable that night air is lefs falutary than that of the day, and that weak patients are more fulceptible of its influence at night than in the morning; we fhould therefore confecrate that time to reft, when we are confined to a fmall part of the atmofphere, and which we equally tend to corrupt ; that time when the air is the leaft falutary, and when unwholefome air would be the moft obnoxious to us; we fhould therefore, go to bed early, and rife foon in the morning: this precept is fo well known, that it may be looked upon as trifling to repeat it; but it is fo much neglected, and its importance (which is infinitely greater than is imagined) feems to be fo little confidered, that it is very allowable to fuppofe it unknown, and to recal it by infifting on its confequences, particularly to valetudinarians.  If (fays’ Mr. Lewis) ‘he lies down at ten o’clock, which hour he fliould never exceed, he ought to rife in the fummer at four or five ; in the winter at fix or  feven. It is abfolutely neceffary, he adds,  to forbid a patient afflcted with the difeafe I am preferibing to, an indulgence in bed in the morning.’ He would have him even accuftom himfelf to rife immediately after his firft fleep, and affures us, that though this practice may be irkfome at firft, cuftom will make it familiar and agreeable. There are many examples to prove the falubrity of this advice. Many valetudinarians, who find themfelves very well upon waking from their firft found and quiet sleepp, are very uneafy if they fall afleep again; and they are fure to pafs the day well, if whatever hour it may be, they rife after their firft sleep, and to pafs it difagreeably, if they take a fecond. A perfon can never fleep found, but when he is quite free from all caufes of irritation ; they fhould therefore be prevented : there are three Important precautions to be obferved; firft not to be in too warm an air, and to be neither too much nor too little covered; fecondly, to prevent the feet being cold in bed, which is a common cafe with weak people, and which is pernicious to them for fevcral reafons. Hippocrates’s rule in this place fhould be obferved ‘fleep in a cool place, and take care to be well covered;’ and thirdly, it is of ftill greater confequcnce to have the flomach not full; nothing in the world more difturbs fleep, or renders it more uneafv', painful, and burtherfome, than difficult dlgeftion at night. A depreffion of fpirits, weaknefs, diftafte, wearinefs, an incapacity of thinking or application the next day, are its inevitable confequences. Vides ut pallidus omnis Caena defurgat duh a? quin corpus onuflum Hefternis vitiis animum quoque degravat una  Atque affl’git humo divinae partlculum aura. Hor.- On the contrary, nothing contributes more to promote gentle, eafy, and uninterrupted fleep, than a light fupper, being a good reftoratlve. Frefhnefs, agility, and gaiety, the next day, are its neceffarv confequences. Alter, ubi dicto citius curata fopori Membra dedit, vigetus prafcripta ad munia furgit. Ibid.   The time of fleep, fays Mr. Lewis with great reafon, is that of nutrition and not of digeftion; he is alfo very rigorous in his prefcriptions to his patients with regard to fupper; he forbids, very juftly, all kinds of meat at night; he allows them nothing but a little milk and fome dices of bread, which they muft take two hours before going to rest, that the firft digsftion may be over before they go to sleep. The inhabitants of the Atlantic Islands, who were unacquainted with all animal diet, and who never eat aught that had been endued with life, were. famous for uninterrupted sleep, and were ignorant of what it was to dream. BACK
© Dr. Neil Stanley 2013-2018