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REST AND SLEEP.
1. We have noticed the effect of exercise upon the muscular system; and we have seen that it is essential to the growth and healthy action of the body. We have seen that a period of rest is necessary for a fatigued muscle to recover itself; and we have also found that if the rest be too long continued, the muscle will be enfeebled thereby.
2. But rest has to be considered not merely with reference to its power of restoring the energies1 of the muscular system; it has an important influence on digestion, and also on the strength and activity of the mind. Moreover, the proper and economical employment of that most invaluable possession, time, depends very much upon the due limitation2 and arrangement of our hours of repose.
3. There are, properly speaking, but two degrees of repose. The one is that in which all bodily exercise is wholly, or to a great degree, suspended; while the mind still retains its consciousness,3 but is not employed on any subject calculated to fatigue or disturb it. The other, well known by the name of sleep, is that in which not only bodily exercise is suspended, but the operations of the mind also are stopped. Even dreams are an imperfection in sleep, and show that mental repose is not complete.
4. Although rest and sleep-the two degrees of repose to which we have alluded-give relief to the exhausted system, they are far from being precisely similar in their effects, nor can one be indifferently substituted for the other. Every one must be aware that when the body and mind are exhausted by long-continued wakefulness and exertion, a short period of sleep has a much greater restorative effect than complete tranquillity of body and mind without it. Who has not felt the force of the poet's expression,
"Nature's sweet restorer-balmy sleep."
5. On the other hand, there are times when rest is neces
sary, but when sleep is undesirable. The first part of the process of digestion does not go on so well during sleep as when the body is in a state of wakeful repose; and the mind, provided it has not been exhausted by long-continued application, is better fitted for some occupations after wakeful relaxation than after sleep.
6. What portion of time, and what part of the day should be devoted to sleep, are subjects of considerable importance; yet it will not answer to lay down a definite rule for all persons. Some individuals are so very active in their habits and dispositions, that a comparatively small portion of sleep is not only all which they require, but all which they can take ; while others can give way to it at any time.
7. Both of these extremes are undesirable; but they may, happily, be very much corrected by careful attention to the formation of habit. Those who possess extreme activity of mind or body, and greatly curtail the rest required by both, can not fail seriously to injure their health. If they do not bring on some disease under which their exhausted frames sink after a short struggle, they become almost inevitably the victims of premature old age, decrepitude, and death.
8. On the other hand, those who give way to slothfulness," and devote an inordinates time to rest and sleep, have their energies destroyed; their bodies become flabby, bloated, and easily fatigued; and their minds, even in their most wakeful moments, are torpid, indisposed for continued attention to any subject, and unfit for close application. Such persons may be said to waste life in a threefold manner. First, all the time consumed in rest and sleep, beyond what the body and mind require, is lost; a second portion is lost in the diminished value of their waking hours; and, thirdly, the term of their life is likely to be shortened by the injury which their health sustains.
9. There is considerable difference in the amount of sleep required at different ages. Children, who have little power and much activity, are the soonest fatigued, and require the most rest. In old age there is generally the smallest necessity for sleep; yet exceptions to this are seen in the decrepitude of extreme old age, and in cases in which, in conse
quence of disease, there is great tendency to sleep. In the prime of life, when the system is capable of making the greatest exertions, a medium portion of rest is required to restore the body, after exhaustion by fatigue; but even at this period of life, the differences depending on constitution and habit are very considerable.
10. From six to seven hours may be regarded as the average amount of time which those engaged in the ordinary concerns of life, and reasonably exercising both body and mind, may devote to rest in bed. Some persons have been able to do with from four to five hours; but in most of these cases the mind was kept in a state of excitement by a succession of momentous or intensely interesting subjects; hence instances of this kind are met with among severe students, military commanders, and persons engaged in political affairs. Health is generally injured and life shortened by a continuance of this habit. There are very few cases, excepting among persons with impaired health, in which the limit of six or seven hours need be exceeded.
"Six hours in sleep; in law's grave study six;
11. The following distribution of time has been prescribed by some superior individuals who were well acquainted with its value. Lord Chief Justice Coke, of England, laid down a rule for himself in the following couplet:
"Six hours to law; to soothing slumber seven;
This rule was somewhat modified by that excellent man and accomplished scholar, Sir William Jones:
3 CON'-SCIOUS-NESS, knowledge of what
EN'-ER-ĠIES, internal strength and activ-15 RE-LAX-A'-TION, a loosening or slackening ity. of the energies.
2 LIM-IT-A'-TION, restriction; the act of lim-6 DE-CREP'-IT-UDE, that broken and infirm iting. state of the body produced by old age. SLOTH'-FUL-NESS, the habit of idleness; inactivity.
8 IN-OR-DIN-ATE, excessive; immoderate. 9 MO-MENT'-Ous, highly important.
1. WHATEVER may be the quantity of sleep required, early rising is essential to health, and promotes longevity.1 Almost all men who have distinguished themselves in science, literature, and the arts, have been early risers. The industrious, the active-minded, the enthusiasts2 in pursuit of knowledge or gain, are up betimes at their respective occupations, while the sluggard wastes the most beautiful period of his life in pernicious slumber.
2. Homer, Virgil, and Horace are all represented as early risers: the same was the case with Paley, Priestley, and Buffon; the last of whom ordered his servant to awaken him every morning, and compel him to get up by force if he evinced any reluctance; for which service he was rewarded with a crown each day, which recompense he forfeited if he did not oblige his master to get out of bed before the clock struck six.
3. Bishops Jewel and Burnet rose every morning at four o'clock. Sir Thomas More did the same thing. Napoleon was an early riser; so were Frederick the Great, Charles the Twelfth, and Washington. Sir Walter Scott, during the greater part of his life, rose by five o'clock; and his literary work was accomplished chiefly before breakfast. Franklin and nearly all the great men of the American Revolution were early risers; so were Daniel Webster and John Quincy Adams. That early rising tends to prolong life appears to be clearly proved. One of the most eminent judges of En gland-Lord Mansfield-was at the pains of collecting some curious evidence on this subject. When he presided in his judicial capacity over the court, he questioned every old person who appeared at the bar respecting his habits; and all agreed on one point-that of being early risers.—Anonymous.
"Falsely luxurious,3 will not man awake,
To meditation due and sacred song?—
"O! there is a charm
1 LON-ĠEV'-I-TY, long life.
EN-THU'-SIASTS, persons of ardent zeal. 3 LUX-U'-RI-OUS, indulging to excess in the gratification of any appetite.
THE OLD COTTAGE CLOCK.
14 WIL'-DER-ED, puzzled; losing one's way. 5 DE-VI-OUS, rambling; roving.
6 Єos-MET'-16, promoting beauty; a wash t improve beauty.
1. O, THE old, old clock, of the household stock','
The hands', though old', had a touch2 of gold',
"Twas a monitor, too, though its words were few's
And its voice, still strong, warned old and young',