Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
© Dr. Neil Stanley 2013-2024
Historical Sleep Tips Ancient Egyptian You sleep best with your head to the north and your feet to the south. Ancient Greek insomnia cure – sleep with some dill above you head Ancient Roman An owl’s heart placed on the left breast of a sleeping woman will cause her to divulge secret. Eat well, drink in moderation, and sleep sound, in these three good health abound. Anglo-Saxon Blood-letting enriches sleep. For sleep lay a wolf’s head under the pillow. The unhealthy will sleep. For sleep, a goats horn laid under the head turns waking into sleep. Rub the body with poppy oil and smear on whole body Smear the forehead with the juice of mandrake. Take wormwood and rub it into wine or warm water and let the man drink it and soon it will be better with him. If a man cannot sleep, take the seed of henbane and the juice of garden mint, mix together, and smear the with it. Blue Iris taken in light beer induces sleep 10th Century insomnia cure “for sleeplessness, take ooze, (a syrup of poppies) smear the man with it” Medieval A fragrant violet footbath promotes quiet sleep in the insomniac ill. A sprig of rosemary placed under the pillow will dispel nightmares. Close all windows and a fire should be kept burning to drive away the pestilence and sleeper’s foul breath. Eat nettles mixed with the white of an egg. Eat the heaviest of an owl’s eyes. Eat treacle, which is also good for snake bites, loss of speech and spotty skin. Fill a small pillow with ground peppermint, ground cloves and rose petals. Hang thyme over bed to protect from nightmares. If you are unable to sleep well at night, nap during the day standing up, leaning against a wall or cupboard. Pillows are unmanly and should be reserved for the old, young girls and pregnant women. Place bay leaves under a pillow and you will have pleasant dreams. Place catnip around sleeping place for protection Recite the Athanasian Creed or the Seven Penitential Psalms seven times Retire for the night lulled to sleep by music. Scatter the leaves of an anise plant around your bedroom to protect against evil influences while you sleep. Sleep in dry rooms to which snails, spiders, rats and mice have no access. Sleep propped up to prevent devils entering your open mouth and stealing away your soul. Sleep with your mouth somewhat open. The best position to sleep is the right side first the on the left side and lastly the right side again The scent of wormwood makes the sick sleep. Drink a potion made from the gall of a castrated boar The elder tree is the abode of witches and thus it is dangerous to sleep under its branches. 15th Century advice for mothers ‘She must also rest and sleep a good deal so that the child may thrive on the milk’. 16th Century Hee that sleepeth with his mouth close, hath commonly an ill breath, and foule teeth. Rub dormouse fat onto the soles of your feet. 17th Century It is “unwholesome to sleepe under the ivie, or in a ivie-bush”. Who goes to bed supperless all night tumbles and tosses. Scottish insomnia cure - a mat of heather applied to the temples as a poultice. Scottish insomnia cure - some crowberries boiled in water and applied to the crown and temples. A full belly is fit for nothing else but sleep or lust. He that is over-desirous to sleep, and afraid lest he shall not sleep, is sure to wake. Labour hard in your callings that your sleep may be sweet while you are in it Victorian ‘"Insomnophobia," or fear of insomnia, is in truth one of the most frequent causes of chronic sleeplessness. A little dancing in the evening is an excellent mode of making the body warm before going to bed. A person suffering from insomnia should safeguard himself from all external stimuli which annoy and irritate him. Active rocking sends a child to sleep by causing giddiness. All the virtues favour sleep and all the vices discourage it An uncomfortable bed will induce insomnia in the healthiest, serenest person. Artificial heat is not needed in the sleeping rooms of well people. As a general rule, the more a child sleeps the more it wants to sleep. At whatever period we go to sleep, one thing is certain, we can never with impunity convert day into night Avoid direct draughts, no matter how hot the weather. Bedrooms occupied by two persons should be large and well ventilated. Before going to bed a glass of hot milk, malted milk, beef tea, or simply hot water may prove sufficient. Care is needed not to arouse a child suddenly from its slumbers. Chafe the body and extremities with a brush or towel. You will fall asleep in a few moments Children who are restless at night are delightfully soothed by a warm bath every night and morning Discard all under clothes worn during the day Do not, on any account, sleep a moment in daytime. Doors should not be locked, except in cases of extreme danger Eat spring onions at night or cut an onion in two and wear it around the neck at night. Elevation of the upper or lower extremities above the level of the trunk is not advisable Few children under 10 years of age can be kept out of their beds after 7 o'clock without injury to their health Go to bed with feet thoroughly dry and warm. Good deep breathing means a profound healthy sleep. This requires plenty of air Half the physical refreshment of sleep depends on the laying aside the weight and constriction of ordinary dress Have as little furniture or hangings as possible in the sleeping room Heat is not needed while sleeping. If any is used, a grate fire is the best ; it helps to make ventilation Heat the bare feet before a fire for at least 15 minutes before bedtime. If very restless, place a handkerchief, wet in ice-cold water, at the base of the brain If you cannot sleep, rest, the mind most of all In general, the person afflicted by insomnia should lead a quiet life, free from excesses of any kind Insomniacs whose sleep disturbance can be traced to mental causes find great relief in massage It is best to sleep in a linen or cotton night dress, which should be loose at the wrist and neck It is more wholesome to sleep single than double, for there is then less destruction of oxygen It is only the sleepless, the poets, and the medical journals who put the proper value upon sleep Late hours are in every respect hurtful, whether they be employed in study or amusement Lemon juice corrects the liver, improves the digestion, and thereby induces sleep Let them (infants) understand that, after food and exercise, it is time to go to bed Lettuce, onions, and apples are compatible to and often productive of sleep Lie low; expand the chest. Use one pillow only. Children need no pillow Lying upon the back is improper, in consequence of its tendency to produce night-mare Many insomniacs find relief by drinking a pint of hot water before each meal and at bedtime Many nervous individuals go to sleep easily while their hair is being smoothed Metal bedsteads are better than wood My first precept to the sleepless, therefore, is, see that your liver is in order Never to thwart the drowsy impulse No healthy man in the summer, should lie longer in bed than six o'clock No light should burn in a bedroom, and all outside light should be excluded No person who passes only eight hours in bed, can be said to waste his time in sleep None sleep quite so soundly as those who have earned it by the sweat of their brow. Nothing is more injurious than a close and stifling bedroom without a current of air One fact is certain, that we can never with impunity convert day into night One very frequent cause of sleeplessness is too great an abundance of bed clothing Only human clods sleep undisturbed, through every sort of storm and stress. Personal hygiene requires a tepid bath before retiring, and a good cold bath or plunge upon arising Probably nothing that the insomniac can do will bring such gratifying returns as appropriate exercise rub the nape of the neck with vinegar just before going to bed. Separate beds, one for each person, are requisite. Double beds are an abomination Shop talk out of shop hours is not conducive toward making you popular, let alone sleep Sitting before an open fire, and contemplating the dull embers as they glow often wraps one in slumberland Sleep will often be induced by gently scratching or rubbing the top of the child's head Sleeping after dinner is pernicious Sun and air mattress, sheets and bed clothing daily take at least once a day the juice of a lemon in a tumbler of water. That real sleep-aid, the mattress, should be pure, non-heating, and not animal fibre That time saved from necessary sleep is infallibly destructive to mind, body, and estate The best preparation for sleep is sixteen hours of varied mental and bodily occupation The bosom of the mother is the natural pillow for her offspring The child should be put to sleep by the mother with some affectionate remarks The cure of almost any disease is favoured by sleep The deep, undisturbed sleep of perfect health needs plenty of oxygen, good, pure, fresh air The man who loses sleep will make a failure of his life, or at least diminish greatly his chances of success The mind has more to do with the prevention of sleep than the body The more active and energetic the waking life of the normal individual has been, the deeper will be his sleep The natural time for slumber, in very early life, is immediately after taking food the person who eats nothing for two or three hours before going to rest, will sleep better then he who does The person who eats nothing for two or three hours before going to rest will sleep better then he who does. The pillow, as well as the bed, should be pretty hard The practice of sleeping in the open air, cannot be too strongly reprobated The practice of terrifying young people to sleep by threats is absurd and injudicious. The strength given to the mind by slumber, is not less remarkable than that which it inspires in the body The strength given to the mind by slumber, is not less remarkable than that which it inspires in the body. The temperature of the bed-room ought to be about 50°F which is rather cool, and most conducive to sleep. The time ‘saved’ from necessary sleep, is infallibly destructive to the mind, body and estate. The want of sufficient sleep is a frequent cause of insanity The woman who loses sleep will make a failure of her children There are few things that contribute to sleep as does fresh, pure air Those kinds of nutriment which are most easily digested are those to be recommended for the evening meal Those who indulge most in sleep, generally require the least of it Those who think most, who do most brain work, require more sleep To obtain good sleep, the mind should be in a sober, quiet frame for several hours before bedtime. To say the night is cold is never a reason for shutting out all ventilation through the windows. To secure fresh air ; open windows, both top and bottom winter and summer Too little and too much sleep are equally injurious. Too much sleep produces lassitude and corpulency, and utterly debases and stupifies the mind Too much sleep produces lassitude and debases and stupefies the mind Walk up and down a large room, or passage, for half an hour, or more, before going to bed. Where two are obliged to sleep in one room, two beds are an absolute necessity Woman possesses more nervous excitability than man, and requires more sleep than man Women who love their husbands generally lie upon the right side Wood floors with small rugs are much preferable to carpets’ in the bedroom. Early 20th Century A long, brisk walk in the open air – long enough to fatigue a little As a rule people who work hard are not troubled with either indigestion or insomnia Celery, lettuce or asparagus are good for sufferers of insomnia.