Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
BACK [John Wesley], The Duty and Advantage of Early Rising (Cambridge,  1783), here  5. If any one desire to know exactly what quantity of sleep his own constitution requires, he may very easily make the experiment which I made about sixty years ago: I then waked every night about twelve or one, and lay awake for some time. I readily concluded that this arose from my lying longer in bed than nature required. To be satisfied, I procured an alarum, which waked me the next morning at seven (near an hour earlier than I arose the day before), yet I lay awake again at night. The second morning l rose at six ;  but notwithstanding this, I lay awake the second night. The third morning I arose at five; but nevertheless I lay awake the third night. The fourth morning I rose at four (as, by the grace of God, I have done ever since), and I lay awake no more. And I do not now lie awake (taking the year round) a quarter of an hour together in a month. By the same experiment, rising earlier and earlier every morning, may any one find how much sleep he really wants. and In how beautiful a manner does that great man, Mr.Law treat this important subject! [ Viz., redeeming time from sleep.] Part  of his words I cannot but here subjoin, for the use of every sensible reader :— “ I take it for granted, that every Christian who is in health is up early in the morning. For it is much more reasonable to suppose a person is up early because he is a Christian, than because he is a labourer, or a tradesmen, or a servant. “We conceive an abhorrence of a man that is in bed when he should be at his labour. We cannot think good of him who is such a slave to drowsiness as to neglect his business for it. “ Let this, therefore, teach us to conceive how odious we must appear to God, if we are in bed, shut up in sleep, when we should be praising God, and are such slaves to drowsiness as to neglect our devotions for it. " Sleep is such a dull, stupid state of existence, that, even among mere animals, we despise them most which are most drowsy. He, therefore, that chooses to enlarge the slothful indolence of sleep, rather than be early at his devotions, chooses the dullest refreshment of the body before the noblest enjoyments of the soul. He chooses that state which is a reproach to mere animals before that exercise which is the glory of angels. While Wesley seems to have adopted a sleep schedule this was in order to get a consolidated nights sleep. The idea that this is to redeem sleep is clear that these are not Wesley’s thoughts but those of Mr. (William) Law from his book ‘A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life by William Law, 1761 here ‘On   the   Importance   of   Time,   and   the   Necessity   We   Lie   under of Improving It’, Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure (July 1757). Ekirch make an error here the correct date for this is in fact 1751  here  While this passage does say “When we are asleep, we are deprived of all our rational faculties, and are in no condition for improving ourselves, or advantaging our neighbours  it is a state of inactivity, in which we can scarce be said to enjoy life; and therefore the time that is spent in sleeping, is justly subtracted from life; because it comes to no account in the sum total of our time.” the very different language than the proceeding passage, make me curious as to why Ekirch quotes this passage here. This passage also makes no mention of segmented sleep.   On the Importance of Time, and the Necessity we lie under of improving it. Falsly luxurious, will not man awake, And, sorting from the bed of sloth, enjoy Tie cool, the fragrant, and the silent four. To meditation due, and sacred song? Thomson's Summer. Time is such a valuable enjoyment that every moment we lose of it, ought to be matter of the greatest regret: We came into this world only to enjoy a short and transitory being. There is a certain small quota of time  allowed us to play our part in the farce of life, and then we must quit the stage, and make room for others. Did men consider this, truth oftener than they do, what a waste of time would it prevent.  We should then find few complaining of time lying heavy upon their hands, and seeming to be at a loss how to employ it; on the  contrary, they should be like the traveller, who fees the fun fast declining, and therefore goes at a brisk pace, that he may make his inn, be fore he be benighted; so men, did they consider oftener the shortness and uncertainty of their time, would never think it a burden upon them, but employ it to the best purpose. Among the many ways of mispending time, which we may see daily practised around us, I think that of immoderate sleeping is most inexcusable. Sleep, no doubt, is a thing necessary for the support and nourishment of our bodies, but it is rather an inconvenience inseparable from mortality, than an excellency belonging to our nature; every time we go to sleep, we ought to think we see the image of death, as it were in a glass before us: for, when we drop into that state of insensibility, we feel what has the nearest resemblance to the chilling advances of the grisly Monarch. How unaccountable is it then, and how inconsistent with the dignity of a rational creature, to allow near one half of his time to glide away unperceived ? ‘Tis no better than curtailing of life, which at best is but short, and therefore every moment of it should be employed to the best and noblest purposes, since Heaven has been pleased to endue us with a rational  mind, capable of the noblest pursuits; a mind that can go beyond the bounds of created beings, and contemplate the perfections of the Deity. We certainly abuse this inestimable gift of Heaven in the highest degree, when we allow ourselves to be employed in long groveling pursuits, or in the immoderate gratifications of any of the bodily senses. If we will look abroad only into the works of nature around us, we will find an infinite field, upon which to employ our reason and reflection; we will there find such things as are capable of inspiring grand ideas of the Deity; and, from  the greatest to the least of his works, we may observe his power, wisdom and goodness, clearly displayed. Thy works, O nature, let me here admire, Contemplative immortal architect ! How beauteous are thy works, producing still Delight unto the philosophic eye, That rightly views thee; beauty, harmony, And admiration still on thee attend, In all thy works, or these indu'd with life. Or those inanimate, proceeding on, By strictest rule, and uniform in all, Thy ways, ne'er erring; when thou seem'est to err, By rude mischance disturb’d, yet there, by art Inimitable, who, with daring arm; Adventures oft to mimic thee in vain. I always thought, that one third of a man's time was rather too great an allowance to be spent in a state of sleep; six hours in twenty-four, which is the fourth part, appears to me sufficient, and is what every man may reduce himself to, who it so far master of himself, as to go against bad habits and customs.' The indulging sleep, too much is pernicious on a double account. When we are asleep, we are deprived of all our rational faculties, and are in no condition for improving ourselves, or advantaging our neighbours  it is a state of inactivity, in which we can scarce be said to enjoy life; and therefore the time that is spent in sleeping, is justly subtracted from life; because it comes to no account in the sum total of our time. Excess in sleep impairs the health, and weakens the body, as much as all Other kinds of excesses do; and we find those who encourage it least, seldom fail to be most healthy and vigorous, and more adapted for action and business, than those who slumber away one half of their time. It is my practice here, in the country, to get up for the most part before the sun rises; then I go to my window, where I have an ample view east ward to the sea. You cannot imagine how charming the scene appears, when the fun begins to gild the horizon; when Aurora rises in her chariot, adorned with roses, and proclaims the approach of the great dispenser of day to our hemisphere; then die morning star, whose splendor was superior to that of the other stars, during the night, last of all veils herself,' and yields to the superior brightness of the glorious orb : So soon as he begins W appear, all nature then, seems to rejoice, and numberless beauties strike the ravished eye ; the lark, and other aerial chioristers, with their musical pipes, join in the general chorus, and welcome the joyful return of day. Who would not then walk out to the fields, to taste the sweets of the morning, to, breathe health and vigour, which are diffused around by the fragrant breeze ? It is then a proper time to study nature and her works, when all the faculties of the mind are in a vigorous state, "and the imagination is clear and lively ; then men should begin the day with hymns to the Creator, and adore his bounty and goodness, who has replenished the earth with every thing that is delightful and necessary for life. BACK
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