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Sleeping.--It is from accidents which happen during sleep that the
great majority of sufferers complain; hence there is no little
importance attaching to this subject. The following suggestions
present in a very brief manner some of the more practical ideas
connected with this part of the subject:--
1. From seven to nine hours' sleep are required by all persons. The
rule should be, Retire early and sleep until rested; Early rising is
not beneficial unless it has been preceded by abundant sleep.
2. Arise immediately upon waking in the morning if it is after four
o'clock. A second nap is generally unrefreshing and is dangerous, for
emissions most frequently occur at this time.
3. If insufficient sleep is taken at night, sleep a few minutes just
before dinner. Half an hour's rest at this time is remarkably
refreshing; and even fifteen minutes spent in sleep will be found very
reviving. Do not sleep after dinner, as a pollution will be very likely
to occur, and, as a rule, after-dinner naps are unrefreshing and
productive of indigestion.
4. Never go to bed with the bowels or bladder loaded. The bladder should
be emptied just before retiring. It is also a good plan to form the
habit of rising once or twice during the night to urinate.
5. The position in sleeping is of some importance. Sleeping upon the
back or upon the abdomen favors the occurrence of emissions; hence,
it is preferable to sleep on one side. If supper has been taken, the
right side is preferable, as that position will favor the passage of
food from the stomach into the intestines in undergoing digestion.
Various devices are employed, sometimes with advantage, to prevent the
patient from turning upon his back while asleep. The most simple is
that recommended by Acton, and consists in tying a knot in the middle
of a towel and then fastening the towel about the body in such a way
that the knot will come upon the small of the back. The unpleasant
sensations arising from pressure of the knot, if the sleeper turn upon
his back, will often serve as a complete preventive. Others fasten a
piece of wood upon the back for a similar purpose. Still others practice
tying one hand to the bedpost. None of these remedies should be depended
upon, but they may be tried in connection with other means of treatment.
6. Soft beds and pillows must be carefully avoided. Feather-beds should
not be employed when possible to find a harder bed; the floor, with
a single folded blanket beneath the sleeper, would be preferable. Soft
pillows heat the head, as soft beds produce heat in other parts. A hair
mattress, or a bed of corn husks, oat straw, or excelsior--covered with
two or three blankets or a quilted cotton mattress--makes a very healthy
and comfortable bed.
7. Too many covers should be avoided with equal care. The thinnest
possible covering in summer, and the lightest consistent with comfort
in winter, should be the rule. Sleeping too warm is a frequent exciting
cause of nocturnal losses.
8. Thorough ventilation of the sleeping-room, both while occupied and
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