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ience every variety of diftrefs. Obferve, however, that the quantities of food and exercise are relative things those who move much may, and indeed ought, to eat more; thofe who ufe little exercise, fhould eat little. In general, mankind, fince the improvement of cookery, eat about twice as much as nature requires. Suppers are not bad, if we have not dined; but reftless nights naturally follow hearty fuppers, after full dinners. Indeed, as there is a difference in conftitutions, fome reft well after thefe meals; it cofts them only a frightful dream, and an apoplexy, after which they fleep till doomfday. Nothing is more common in the newspapers, than inftances of people, who, after eating a hearty fupper, are found dead a-bed in the morning.
Another means of preferving health, to be attended to, is the having a conftant fupply of fre air in your bed-chamber. It has been a great miftake, the fleeping in rooms exactly closed, and in beds furrounded by curtains. No outward air, that may come in to you, is fo unwholfome as the unchanged air, often breathed, of a clofe chamber. As boiling water does not grow hotter by longer boiling, if the particles that receive greater heat can efcape; fo living bodies do not putrify, if the particles, as faft as they become putrid, can be thrown off. Nature expels them by the pores of the skin and lungs, and in a free open air, they are carried off; but, in a close room, we receive them again, though they become more and more corrupt. A number of perfons crowded into a small room, thus fpoil the air in a few minutes, and even render, it mortal, as in the Black Hole at Calcutta. A fingle perfon is faid to fpoil only a gallon of air per minute, and therefore requires a longer time to fpoil a chamberfull; but it is done, however, in pro
portion, and many putrid diforders hence have their origin. It is recorded of Methufalem, who, being the longest liver, may be fupposed to have beft preferved his health, that he flept always in the open air; for, when he had lived five hundred years, an angel faid to him: "Arife, Me"thufalem; and build thee an houfe, for thou "fhalt live yet five hundred years longer." But Methufalem anfwered and faid: "If I am to live "but five hundred years longer, it is not worth "while to build me an houfe--I will fleep in the "air as I have, been ufed to do." Phyficians, after having for ages contended that the fick fhould not be indulged with fresh air, have at length difcovered that it may do them good. It is therefore to be hoped that they may in time difcover likewife, that it is not hurtful to thofe who are in health; and that we may be then cured of the aerophobia that at prefent diftreffes weak minds, and make them choose to be ftifled and poifoned, rather than leave open the window of a bed-chamber, or put down the glafs of a coach.
Confined air, when faturated with perfpirable matter *, will not receive more: and that matter muft remain in our bodies, and occafion diseases: but it gives fome previous notice of its being about to be hurtful, by producing certain uncalneffes, flight indeed at firft, fuch as, with regard to the lungs, is a trifling fenfation, and to the pores of the fkin a kind of reftleffnefs which is difficult to defcribe, and few that feel it know the caufe of it. But we may recollect, that fometimes, on waking in the night, we have, if warmly covered, found it difficult to get afleep again. We
*What phyficians call the perfpirable matter is, that vapour which paffes off from our bodies, from the lungs, and through the pores of the skin. The quantity of this is faid to be five-cights of what we eat.
turn often without finding repofe in any pofition. This fidgettinefs, to ufe a vulgar expreffion for want of a better, is occafioned wholly by an uneasiness in the fkin, owing to the retenfion of the perfpirable matter-the bed-clothes having received their quantity, and, being faturated, refufing to take any more. To become fenfible of this by an experiment, let a perfon keep his pofition in the bed, but throw off the bed-clothes, and fuffer fresh air to approach the part uncovered of his body; he will then feel that part fuddenly refreshed; for the air will immediately relieve the skin, by receiving, licking up, and carrying off, the load of perfpirable matter that incommoded it. For every portion of cool air that approaches the warm fkin, in receiving its part of that vapour, receives therewith a degree of heat, that rarifies and renders it higher, when it will be pushed away, with its burthen, by cooler, and therefore heavier fresh air; which, for a moment, fupplies its place, and then, being likewife changed, and warmed, gives way to a fucceeding quantity. This is the order of nature, to prevent animals being infected by their own perfpiration. He will now be fenfible of the difference between the part exposed to the air, and that which, remaining funk in the bed, denies the air accefs: for this part now manifefts its uncasiness more diftinctly by the comparison, and the feat of the uncafinefs is more plainly perceived, than when the whole furface of the body was affected by it.
Here, then, is one great and general caufe of unpleafing dreams. For when the body is uneafy, the mind will be difturbed by it, and difagreeable ideas of various kinds will, in fleep, be the natural confequences. The remedies, preventative, and curative, follow:
1. By eating moderately (as before advised for health's fake) lefs perfpirable matter is produced in a given time; hence the bed-clothes receive it longer before they are faturated; and we may, therefore, fleep longer, before we are made uneafy by their refufing to receive any more.
2. By using thinner and more porous bedclothes, which will fuffer the perfpirable matter more easily to pass through them, we are lefs incommoded, fuch being longer tolerable.
3. When you are awakened by this uneasiness, and find you cannot cafily fleep again, get out of bed, beat up and turn your pillow, fhake the bedclothes well, with at leaft twenty fhakes, then throw the bed open, and leave it to cool; in the meanwhile, continuing undreft, walk about your chamber, till your fkin has had time to discharge its load, which it will do fooner as the air may be drier and colder. When you begin to feel the cold air unpleafant, then return to your bed; and you will foon fall afleep, and your fleep will be fweet and pleafant. All the fcenes prefented to your fancy, will be of the pleasing kind. I am often as agreeably entertained with them, as by the scenery of an opera. If you happen to be too indolent to get out of bed, you may, inftead of it, lift up your bed-clothes with one arm and leg, fo as to draw in a good deal of fresh air, and, by letting them fall, force it out again. This, repeated twenty times, will fo clear them of the perfpirable matter they have imbibed, as to permit your fleeping well for fome time afterwards. But this latter method is not equal to the former.
Those who do not love trouble, and can afford to have two beds, will find great luxury in rising, when they wake in a hot bed, and going into the cool one. Such fhifting of beds would alfo be of great fervice to perfons ill of a fever, as it
refreshes and frequently procures fleep. A very large bed, that will admit a removal fo diftant from the first fituation as to be cool and fweet, may in a degree answer the fame end..
One or two observations more will conclude this little piece. Care must be taken, when you lie down, to difpofe your pillow fo as to fuit your manner of placing your head, and to be perfectly eafy; then place your limbs fo as not to bear inconveniently hard upon one another, as, for inftance. the joints of your ancles: for though a bad pofition may at first give but little pain, and be hardly noticed, yet a continuance. will render it lefs tolerable, and the uneafinefs may come on while you are afleep, and difturb your imagination.
Thefe are the rules of the art. But though they will generally prove effectual in producing the end intended, there is a cafe in which the moft punctual obfervance of them will be totally fruitlefs. I need not mention the cafe to you, my dear friend: but my account of the art would be imperfect without it. The cafe is, when the perfon who defires to have pleasant dreams has not taken care to preferve, what is necessary above all things,
A GOOD CONSCIENCE.