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HOME > Science Fiction > The psychology of sleep > CHAPTER XIX HYPNOTIC SLEEP
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 What would we give to our beloved? The hero’s heart to be unmoved,—
The poet’s star-tuned to sweep;
The patriot’s voice to teach and rouse,—
The monarch’s crown to light the brows?
“He giveth His belovèd sleep.”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
The nature of hypnotic sleep has not yet been , which is not wonderful when we remember our ignorance of natural sleep. We may call the active hypnotic state a condition of excessive attention to the main idea presented and complete oblivion to other ideas. But this state is preceded by a passive condition resembling sleep. The use and value of hypnotic sleep is now occupying the attention of scientific men and it bids fair to be an important curative agent. Where once the patient suffering from was treated by drugs, he is now more successfully treated through suggestion. The change is a most desirable one and in line with that newer thought95 which recognizes the power of regeneration within the soul of the individual. For, the main things in the development of hypnosis and suggestion as curative agents is the recognition that an appeal can be made to the mind, which, as Dr. Worcester says, “is more sensitive to good and evil than our conscious mind.” To appeal to our latent powers to overcome our own weaknesses or limitations is greater and better than to combat these weaknesses through drugs. Many physicians who employed hypnosis have adopted a substitute for it, the so-called hypnoidal state, passivity with closed eyes. Hypnotizing is in many cases needless and dangerous.
Insomnia, like any other trouble not due to the of a physical organ, is more a moral than a material , and can best be cured by moral means: that is, by the aid of the will and its associated . , nervousness, excitability, and have their rise in mental and emotional states more often than in physical states, and, under such conditions, treatment by drugs is of little real use. In the disease hysteria, mental trouble may masquerade as physical defect, for instance or even blindness, while the physical parts concerned are in no wise . The placed upon merely things does not assist in the development of our own inner powers. Even when drugs seem to relieve96 the outward symptoms, they fail to strengthen the moral nature, so greatly in need of strength. The man of drugs only is at a disadvantage as compared with the suggestionist in treating such . Dr. J. D. Quackenbos says, “The suggestionist the better self—invests it with control, and seldom fails to effect the desired purpose.” He further maintains, what all are now coming to admit, that, when the patient wakes from hypnotic sleep, during which helpful, curative suggestions have been made to him, he is “constrained to obey the impulses of his own superior self.” The power of suggestion, whether during waking or sleeping hours, is only beginning to be recognized, although its use in one form or another is centuries old. The thoughtless, as well as the thoughtful, use it more or less every hour of the day, while all of us may know that we are occasionally the victims of auto-suggestion when we suffer from .
Auto-suggestion is merely the suggestion of the self to the self, and from ill-advised suggestions spring nearly all the little impediments to sleep and health. Such a suggestion to ourselves as that we need certain favorable conditions for sleeping will keep us awake when those conditions are not possible. We say, “I cannot sleep with a clock ticking in the room with me,” and so we lie awake and suffer nervous tortures if we hear a clock tick. Or we say of something our friends do, or of some natural habit they have, “That makes me so nervous I almost fly out of my skin” thus we
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