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HOME > Science Fiction > The psychology of sleep > CHAPTER VI SLEEP IS NATURAL
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 Sleep is the joy of life. Wu Ting .
Man has not gone so far beyond the animal stage of development as to have cast aside all the weights that hinder him in his further progress. He has considered three substantial meals daily necessary to his health, and if, for any reason, his system refused to take that quantity of food, he has worried himself almost into a fever over it. Or, he has consulted a physician who has usually given him a ; a tonic is something to the appetite, or compel the stomach to do more work than it should.
Recent research has shown that this overworking of the digestive organs is a fruitful source of physical disease, that it dulls the mind and chills the spirit. Our loving Mother Nature punishes each excess, because pain quickest draws our attention to our wrongdoing. The flesh strives with us as well as the Spirit, for we reap in our own bodies the fruit of our ways; still man looks everywhere but within for advice and counsel. His feelings may warn him that he is pursuing the wrong course, but, until some authority has assured him that he is doing wrong, he rarely pays to his inner warnings.
Gluttony is one of the evils which Nature tries to save man from. The stomach rebels when it is made to dispose of too much material, and calls in the rest of the body to assist in making a protest. The head aches, the heart works uneasily, the liver and become inactive, the limbs grow heavy, and the whole abused man is ill at ease. A bad breath is worse than an evil spirit, and a bad is a surer sign of ill-doing than a bad conscience. Nature has done her best to show the foolishness of overeating; it is not her fault if man persists in this course in spite of her warnings, but she takes care that he pays the price of his wrongdoing, sometimes in , often in even more serious ways.
Overeating has been the fashion for centuries. We have thought that, the more we eat, the stronger we should become, and mankind has followed that fashion despite the ills that it has caused, forgetting that it is what we digest, not what we eat, that nourishes. The effects of overeating are both direct and indirect. The direct effects are those that dog the heels of the . These effects, when acute, have even caused death in a few hours or days, as with King John and his “dish of lamprey eels,” but some of the indirect effects are more direful. Much of the use of liquors is due to overeating. When we have eaten too much, and the digestive organs are so that they cannot work, we take alcohol in some form to stimulate them to greater action. As we continue the wrong practice, it requires more and more liquor to stimulate us, usually ending in , a of sleep. In a short time that which we used to cure or one evil has created a habit, in itself a greater evil.
It took us a long time to see the connection between illness, drunkenness, and overeating. We now know that drink becomes a habit and after that a disease. If we look at mankind in the mass, drunkenness appears plainly as the result of two general causes, overstimulation of the indulgent classes, and the that in the masses of the underfed.
Like every other , consciousness becomes dulled through lack of exercise. It follows that oversleeping inclines to dullness and stupidity. Further, the body will readily accommodate itself to the conditions that prevail during sleep, to a changed blood circulation, and breathing. The oversleeping may come to resemble the of some animals. For those inclined to or to long sleep, real interests in life29 are helpful, also amusements, pleasant society in the evenings, and even tea and coffee or other mild stimulants are useful.
Meanwhile, some people, at least, think they suffer from , who in fact suffer from going to bed too soon or lying abed too late—in the struggle to sleep more than they need.

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