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Related post: of all soporific things — the flow of water, the
humming of bees, the motion of a boat, the
waving of a field of corn, the Order Retrovir opera, ■Mr. Hum-
drum's conversations, Mr. Proser's poems, Mr.
Laxative's speeches, ^Ir. Lengthy's sermons ;" but
all in vain. Sleep, sweet sleep wotild not come. It
was still night, only the noise of a passing trolley
•Read before the Mt. Sinai Hospital Ex-Residents* Alumni As-
sociation. Philadelphia. April 2, 1913.
interrupted the stillness from time to time. As I
lay on my bed in torture and misery, I recalled to
my mind the thrilling soliloquy of Henry 1\ :
■'O Sleep, O gentle Sleep,
Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee.
That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down,
Nor steep my senses in forgetfulness."
One hour out of every tliree, eight hours out of
every^ twenty-four, three months out of every year,
and twenty-three years out of every three score and
ten, or one third of our lives we spend in sleep.
Thus, taken in the aggregate, ever\- one of us is a
Rip \'an Winkle. There are men of science who
spend time and effort studying how to prolong life.
Rut "why try to prolong life if so much of it is to
be spent asleep?" is a question long since asked by
the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant
What, then, is sleep? This is a queslSon more
easily propounded than answered. When we turn
to the scientific literature on the subject we find
comparatively little definite information, and the
most striking thing is that we do not seem to care
how much or how little we do know about the sub-
ject. I often wonder why it is that such a mysteri-
ous and highly interesting subject as sleep should
occupy our attention so little. It is probably be-
cause, as Dr. William H. Thomson in his work
Brain and Personality well remarks: "The marvel
of sleep is lost upon us owing to the unfortunate
peculiarity that our ability to wonder is soon abol-
ished by mere repetition. Because the recurrence
of sleep is as certain and regular as sunset itself,
it does not occur to us to wonder at it, or to ask
what it all means." Sleep may be defined as the
intermediate state between wakefulness and death
— wakefitlness being regarded as the active state
of all animal and intellectual functions, and death
their total suspension. Complete sleep is a tempo-
rary intellectual death. It is a condition of un-
consciousness where all the senses are at rest. Yet.
there still remains the question. What causes the
actual lapse into unconsciousness?
Let us first see what are the phenomena of sleep,
what are the differences between the waking and
the sleeping states. When we fall asleep the eye-
lids are lowered over the eyeballs, the pupils con-
tract, and all the voluntary muscles are relaxed, so
that the whole body, and especially the face, pre-
sents a picture of complete repose. Respiration
becomes slower. The pulse slackens. The blood
pressure falls, the vessels of the brain contract, and
the quantity of blood to the brain is diminished.
The observations of many investigators have shown
that the brain contracts and grows pale while
asleep, and, on the contrary, takes on a rosy hue
and expands at the moment of awaking. When
we sleep the lower half of the bod\- weighs inore
than the upper half. The brain is lighter and the
legs are heavier. Experiments have shown that if a
man goes to sleep on a bed suspended exactly at the
middle point of his weight his head begins to tip
slowly up and his feet to go down. This is due to
the fact that when we sleep the blood in the brain
goes of? to the other parts of the body. The mo-
ment the brain wakes to life again it draws the
blood back. All Buy Retrovir these facts clearly show that there
is an intimate association between sleep and cere-
1348
BARLOW: WHAT IS SLEEP?
bral anemia. The action of the sweat glands and
the functions of the skin are increased during sleep.
This, in part, explains why the afmosphere of our
bedrooms becomes impure so rapidly. All the in-
ternal organs remain quite active during sleep.
The whole peripheral nervous system also preserves
during sleep some power of action. This is why,
when we wish to sleep we instinctively seek a quiet
place sheltered from all external disturbing influ-
ences, and we lower our eyelids over our eyes to
prevent light falling on the sensitive optic nerve.

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