Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/478

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moment or in the act of awaking. There are dreams which take place in the process of returning to consciousness for example, those instantaneous scenes and spectacles which are suggested by the sound or feeling that rouses the dreamer; but, in result of a long and close study of the subject with a view to discover the nature of dreams, and the laws of dreaming, for medical purposes, in connection with the treatment of sleeplessness, I am persuaded that dreams occur in the course of sleep and are wholly forgotten.

That they do not and can not take place in deep sleep is probable, because deep sleep is general sleep, and when this state prevails the subordinate faculties are sleeping, and the pictures and records which compose dreams are not disturbed. To understand dreams we must understand sleep, and it is because the two phenomena have not hitherto been studied together that so little is generally known about either.

Sleep is a function or state in which the particular part of the organism sleeping rests: whether it is wholly inactive depends on the degree of rest it enjoys. Every part of the organism sleeps, and the totality of the sleep-state depends on the fact of all the important parts sleeping at the same time. If some remain awake—perhaps busy with an unfinished task, or setting about one which the will has foolishly imposed on one of the lower faculties before itself going to sleep, or, it may be, too worried to take natural rest—then the unrest of the busy or distressed faculty or faculties will render the sleep as a whole incomplete, and the repose of the actually sleeping faculties disturbed. Natural sleep is simultaneous sleep of all the faculties of body and mind; and the secret of sleeping soundly and restfully consists in so ordering the life that the higher intellectual powers, the powers of automatic activity, the senses, the muscular system, and the viscera—principally the stomach—may all be ready and able to sleep at the same time. This can only be accomplished by making the act of sleep a thing done periodically, with that rhythmical regularity which Nature loves and on which the smooth working of the machinery of life depends. When sleep is natural, in the sense of being complete, dreaming is, as we have said, improbable, if not impossible; and the measure of dreaming is therefore—inversely—the measure of the integrity of the sleep enjoyed. A great dreamer can not be in good health, or, to use a familiar expression, he "can not have all his wits about him" when he is awake. Every faculty—by which I mean, every part of the organism which performs a distinct function—must sleep; and, if it be healthy, it will sleep at regularly recurring periods. It follows that a dreamer who is not unhealthy—a rara avis—must have formed the habit of allowing his faculties to sleep separately; some being on duty, or watching, while others rest. As a matter of fact, most persons form this habit to some extent, and therefore the majority dream. For example, the man who works with his brain often takes little muscular exercise, and