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HOME > Science Fiction > The psychology of sleep > CHAPTER XVIII STILL FURTHER DEVICES
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 The sleep of a man is sweet. Ecclesiastes.
“The Witchery of Sleep” records for us some interesting mechanical devices for inducing sleep, more common in Europe than in this country. Their inventors hope to perfect them so that they may take the place of drugs and “sleeping potions.” This is an end to be wished by all who know the steady increase of the “drug habit.” Among these sleep-inducing instruments the newest is the “vibrating coronet.” This coronet has three metal bands which encircle the head and two strips extending to the . By means of a spring these strips vibrate the gently and induce . All the mechanical devices are constructed on the plan of inducing eye-weariness, whether by or by fixity. Either effect is in accordance with the modern theories of sleep. Sleep may be induced by monotony also of sounds; by concentration either of the attention or the hearing on one point, or by more numerous impressions89 than the eye can comfortably receive; thus, when riding in a train, the succession of views will often induce sleepiness.
The “Alouette,” a collection of little mirrors attached to the ebony panels of a box, is so placed that a ray of light falls on the mirrors in such a way as to the eye of the . Both this and the “Fascinator,” a highly polished nickel ball attached to a flexible wire depending from a metal band similar to the “Coronet,” work on the plan of concentrating the vision. In a similar way a light-house or a miniature flashlight, with its appearing and disappearing light, induces drowsiness, possibly hypnotic, through change. It is needless to say that these devices might be injurious to the sight and certainly would not work where the cause of is eyestrain. That is a case for the .
But when it is impossible to obtain mechanical devices, there are many simple schemes of inducing sleep. Any light work, mental or physical, is helpful. To start writing letters, particularly if one is not fond of letter-writing, will sometimes induce sleepiness very quickly. Sorting and arranging old papers will have the same effect, unless one is of a nature to find such an occupation exciting.
Of course, a drawback in any of these light occupations is that by the time one has undressed drowsiness may have fled. That possibility makes it desirable that all preparations for bed shall first be made and a warm robe with comfortable bedroom shoes shall constitute the only extra clothing. Warmth of body, especially of the feet, is essential to sleep. Sometimes so simple a thing as a hot-water bottle at the feet, or even bed-socks, will make all the difference between wakefulness and .
Then there is the matter of deep breathing, which seems especially adapted to feeble or run-down physiques. That is a large subject more familiar to the people of the Orient than to us. Some Orientals are able to put themselves into trance-like sleep by their knowledge of deep breathing. Numerous books have been written treating of this subject, among the best of which are “The Science of Breath,” by Ramacharaka, and “The Law of Breath,” by Ella A. Fletcher, though the “Rhythmical Breath” seems fanciful to Western readers.
Sleeplessness is sometimes due to lack of physical exercise, and, when that is so, no device is so effective as work—real physical effort. A great many persons take calisthenic exercises and go in for physical culture to develop muscles and also to regulate circulation so that sleep will come more readily. These are good makeshifts for persons who have no opportunity to work, but, where ............
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