The Witchery of Sleep on Sleeplessness

The Witchery of Sleep on Sleeplessness


Start sleeping better.


Palo Alto
650.327.1966

San Francisco
415.861.4532

San Rafael
415.874.7561

We’ve recently stumbled upon a book, “The Witchery of Sleep,” published in 1903 that has some amazingly salient advice about sleep. Here’s an excerpt from the chapter on sleeplessness.

Sleeplessness is a condition of poverty, both mental and physical. As one suffers through an occasionally empty purse, so one suffers , both physically and mentally, through occasional lack of sleep. Utter destitution pecuniarily can far better be borne than the destitution of sleep.

Sleeplessness is not only the source of much misery and discomfort, but it entails upon the sufferer a grievous hardship, in that one has to fight the battle of life in a maimed condition…

By far the most common cause of sleeplessness is indigestion in its various forms, due in the majority of cases to injured nervous systems… The nerve-racking mental strain, business men undergo, or the everlasting sameness of certain wearing mental work and its terrible monotony, are most pregnant sources of insomnia. These conditions  could be at least palliated by a certain amount of muscular activity; and , in fact, in such cases, physical exercise is an absolute necessity for sound sleep.

Anything tending to prolong an excessive congestion of the brain causes this distressing condition o f wakefulness. Extreme physical strain, nervous exhaustion, grief or anxiety, especially when they are experienced in the latter part of the day, near bedtime, are also causes.

Everything require mental exertion should be laid aside before dinner, and the evening entirely devoted to recrative enjoyment. Above all, avoid irritation; cultivate cheerfulness and a happy, contented mind; do not bring business cares home to jar the household. Drop them.

If you have anything on your mind, from a sonnet to a soup, “make a note of it.” It is less nerve expense to use a paper tablet than to use the brain tablet….

Associate only with restful persons. Life is too short to be worried by those who fret over trifles. Encourage repose both of mind and manners. Learn the lesson of self and acquire the perfect poise of health.

An uncomfortable bed will induce insomnia in the healthiest, serenest person. Indeed, it is more often the cause of sleeplessness than any other known. An absolutely even, cool, elastic surface, springy yet firm, is the necessary quality of a good bed, and one of the greatest aids to sleep.

The deep, undisturbed sleep of perfect health needs plenty of oxygen-good, pure, fresh air. That means open windows – wide open windows. And this requires proper protection from draft.

Good sleep  means good breathing, good breathing means good health, and good health means good digestion, that great preservative from all ills, both mental and physical.

Above all, as I said before, plenty of oxygen, good, fresh, pure air is most essential for perfect sleep. Sleeping rooms need not necessarily be cold, for the air may be warm, and yet fresh and pure. No one should sleep in a draught, of course, but every sleeping room should have some arrangement for withdrawing foul air, as well as intriguing fresh air in any manner that will insure perfect circulation.

Kaytea Petro