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HOME > Science Fiction > The psychology of sleep > CHAPTER XVI DEVICES FOR GOING TO SLEEP
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 Southey, in “The Doctor,” thus summarizes some of the chief devices to sleep by monotony: “I listened to the river and to the ticking of my watch; I thought of all sleepy sounds and of all soporific things—the flow of water, the humming of bees, the motion of a boat, the waving of a field of corn, the nodding of a mandarin’s head on the chimney-piece, a horse in a mill, the opera, Mr. Humdrum’s conversations, Mr. Proser’s poems, Mr. Laxative’s speeches, Mr. Lengthy’s sermons. I tried the device of my own childhood, and fancied that the bed rushed with me round and round. At length Morpheus reminded me of Dr. Torpedo’s Divinity Lectures, where the voice, the manner, the matter, even the very atmosphere and the streaming candle-light, were all alike soporific; when he who, by strong effort, lifted up his head and forced open the reluctant eyes, never failed to see all around him asleep. , cowslip wine, poppy , mandragora, pillows, spider’s web pills, and the whole tribe of would have failed—but this was ; and thus twenty years after date, I found benefit from having attended the course.”  
Frequent impressions on the mind, or calls on the attention, tend to make us sleepy; thus looking at pictures, the attempt to study, driving in a carriage. In extreme cases this is very marked. A boy named Caspar Hauser was shut up alone in a gloomy little room until he was about eighteen years old;79 then he was brought to Nürnberg and abandoned in the street; this was in 1828. He was to all intents a baby and could not walk, nor speak, nor see clearly, as he had never known any of the common objects of life—men or animals or plants, or the moon or sun or even the sky.
He would go to sleep instantly on being taken outside the house, because the number of new sensations instantly tired his consciousness.
For the same reason that the consciousness is quickly , many old or delicate persons readily fall asleep. Marie de Manacéïne says that Moivre, the French , used to sleep twenty hours a day during his old age, leaving only four for science and the other occupations of life.
Monotony naturally consciousness and is often successfully used to produce sleep; the regular dropping of water, the sound of a will put those to sleep whom it does not make nervous. Lullabies and songs and dull lectures all come under the same head of devices to tire the consciousness.
drugs do not weary consciousness; they simply destroy it. They stupefy us instead of inducing sleep. Those who would wisely learn about this by experiments upon others rather than upon themselves, will find it all in the article by Ringer and Sainsbury on “Sedatives” in Tuke’s “Dictionary of Psychological Medicine.” It is enough for us to be assured that narcotic sleep is less like real sleep than the of the animal is like . (But see “Remedies” in Appendix A.)
Henry Beecher used to get up when he was and take a cold bath, a good device for a full-blooded, vigorous person: but a weak person would not “react” and get warm again. For such an one it would be better to sponge off and restore the circulation by rubbing. Some physicians have prescribed, with good success, blood-warm baths, beginning at a temperature of about 98 and heated up to 110 or 115 . When the moisture has been absorbed by wrapping one’s self in a blanket, throw it off and get quickly into a warm bed. Mark Twain used to get to sleep by lying down on the bathroom floor after the bath.
Some, when other means fail, find it effective to place a cold-water bag at the back of the neck, or to rub the feet with a rough t............
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