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sometimes, on waking in the night, we have, if warmly covered, found it difficult to get asleep again. We turn often without finding repose in any position. This figettiness; to use a vulgar expression for want of a better, is occasioned wholly by an uneasiness in the skin, owing to the retention of the perspirable matter—the bed-clothes having received their quantity, and, being saturated, refusing to take any more. To become sensible of this by an experiment, let a person keep his position in the bed, but throw off the bed-clothes, and suffer fresh air to approach the part uncovered of his body; he will then feel that part suddenly refreshed; for the air will immediately relieve the skin, by receiving, licking up, and carrying off, the load of perspirable matter that inconmoded it. For every portion of cool air, that approaches the warm skin, in receiving its part of that vapour, receives therewith a degree of heat, that rarifies and renders it lighter, when it will be pushed away, with its burtben, by cooler and therefore heavier fresh air; which, for a moment, supplies its place, and then, being likewise changed and warmed, gires way to a succeeding quantity. This is the order of nature, to prevent animals being infected by their own perspiration. He will now be sensible of the difference between the part exposed to the air, and that which, remaining sunk in the bed, denies the air access : for this part now manifests its uneasiness more distinctly by the comparison, and the seat of the uneasiness is more plainly perceived, than when the whole surface of the body was affected by it.
Here, then, is one great and general cause of unpleasing dreams. For when the body is uneasy, the mind will be disturbed by it, and disagreeable ideas of various kinds will, in sleep, be the natural consequences. The remedies, preventative and curative, follow :
1. By eating moderately (as before advised for health's sake) less perspirable matter is produced in a given time; hence the bed-clothes receive it longer before they are saturated ; and we may, therefore, sleep longer, before we are made uneasy by their refusing to receive
any more. 2. By using thinner and more porous bed-clothes, which will suffer the perspirable matter more easily to pass through them, we are less incommoded, such being longer tolerable,
3. When you are awakened by this uneasiness, and find you cannot easily sleep again, get out of bed, beat up and turn your pillow, shake the bed-clothes well, with at least twenty shakes, then throw the bed open, and leave it to cool; in the meanwhile, continuing undrest, walk about your chamber, till your skin has had time to discharge its load, which it will do sooner as the air may be dried and colder. When you begin to feel the cold air unpleasant, then return to your bed, and you will soon fall asleep, and your sleep will be sweet and pleasant. All the scenes presented to your fancy will be too 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, instead of it, lift up your bed-clothes with one arm and leg, so as to draw in a good deal of fresh air, and, by letting them fall, force it out again, This, repeated twenty times, will so clear them of the perspirable matter they have imbibed, as to permit
your sleeping well for some 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, wben they wake in a hot bed, and going into the cool one. Such shifting of beds would also be of great service to persons ill of a fever, as it refreshes and frequently procures sleep. A very large bed, that will admit a removal so distant from the first situation as to be cool and sweet, may in a degree answer the same end.
One or two observations more will conclude this little piece. Care must be taken - when you lie down, to dispose your pillow so as to suit your manner of placing your head, and to be perfectly easy; then place your limbs so as not to bear inconveniently hard upon one another, as, for instance, the joints of your ancles: for though a bad position may at first give but little pain and be hardly noticed, yet a continuance will render it less tolerable, and the uneasiness may come on while you are asleep, and disturb your imagination, These are the rules of the art. But though they will generally prove effectual. in producing the end intended, there is a case in which the most punctual observance of them will be totally fruitless. I need not mention the case to you, my dear friend, but my account of the art would be imperfect without it. The case is, when the person, who desires to bave pleasant dreams, has not taken care to preserve, what is necessary above all things,
A GOOD CONSCIENCE.
Dialogue Dialogue between Franklin and the Gout*.
Midnight, October 29, 1780.
Franklin.-Eh! Oh! Eh! What have I done to merit these cruel sufferings?
Gout.- Many things you have ate and drank too freely, and too much indulged those legs of yours in their indolence.
Franklin._Who is it that accusés me?
Franklin.--I repeat it; my enemy: for you would not only torment my body to death, but ruin my good name: 'you reproach me as a glutton and a tipler; now all the world that knows me will allow, that I am neither the one nor the other.
Gout.--The world may think as it pleases: it is always very complaisant to itself, and sometimes to its friends; but I very well know, that the quantity of meat and drink proper for'a man, who takes a reasonable degree of exercise, would be too much for another, who never takes any.
Franklin. I take---Eh! Oh!---as much exercise--. Eh !---as I can, Madam Gout. You know my sedentary state, and on that account, it would seem Madam
* We have no authority for ascribing this paper to Dr. Franklin, but its appearance, with bis name in a small collection of bis works printed a few years ago at Paris, and cited before, page 480. As the rest of tbe papers in that collection are genuine, this probably is also genuine. What we give is a translation. Editor. 2 K 2
Gout, Gout, as if you might spare me a little, seeing it is not altogether my own fault.
Gout.-Not a jot: your rhetoric and your politeness are thrown away; your apology avails nothing. If your situation in life is a sedentary one, your amusements, your recreations, at least, should be active. You ought to walk or ride; or, if the weather prevents that, play at billiards. But let us examine your course of life. While the mornings are long, and you have leisure to go abroad, what do you do? Why, instead of gaining an appetite for breakfast, by salutary exercise, you amuse yourself with books, pamphlets, or newspapers, which commonly are not worth the reading. Yet you eat an inordinate breakfast, four dishes of tea, with cream, and one or two buttered toasts, with slices of hung beef, which I fancy are not things the most easily digested. Immediately afterward you sit down to write at your desk, or converse with persons who apply to you on business. Thus the time passes till one, without any kind of bodily exercise. But all this I could pardon, in regard, as you say, to your sedentary condition. But what is your practice after dinner. Walking in the beautiful gardens of those friends with whom you have dined would be the choice of men of sense : yours is to be fixed down to chess, where you are found engaged for two or three hours ! This is your perpetual recreation, which is the least eligible of any for a sedentary man, because, instead of accelerating the motion of the fluids, the rigid attention it requires helps to retard the circulation and obstruct internal secretions. Wrapt in the speculations of this wretched game, you destroy your constitution. What can be expected from such a course of living, but a body