He enters a state of oblivion from which he may never awake, and deliberately loses consciousness of his surroundings, though knowing that he is deaf to any danger that may approach. Sleep is akin to death and suggests its terrors, but may it not by its very affinity furnish consolation? When men are too toil. Worn and weary to work more, desire of all things but slumber, passes away from them, and their happiness consists in sinking peacefully to rest. Perhaps, in this same way, when the body is enfeebled, the mind inactive, and man is no longer able to play his part on this world’s stage, the longings of this life will vanish and he will contentedly welcome the embrace of death and slumber, as a weary child in the arms of its mother. Most pitiable is the condition of those who are unable to sleep, whether the inability comes from physical pain which will not allow the body to rest, or from sorrow or remorse which banishes from the mind its natural healer.
Pain in-deed is one of the commonest causes of sleeplessness. Excessive fatigue, or idleness, also will often cause long and dreary nights, and only those who have suffered thus, can realise with what intense impatience the coming of the dawn is awaited. The injuries that sleeplessness is responsible for, are many and far-reaching in their effects. When mind and body cannot rest, they cannot recuperate or restore their shattered energies. They grow feebler and feebler, until at length the mind ceases to perform its functions and the man becomes mad. The body is not so quickly affected, but continuous absence of sleep will gradually take away and finally destroy its power.
A healthy man does not suffer from this evil. It is necessary, therefore, to keep body and mind sound and healthy. They should both be made to work, the harder the better, so long as they are not subjected to over-fatigue. Only wholesome food should be eaten, and that in moderation. Rational amusements should be cultivated, which will chase away worry and trouble and prevent unnecessary brooding. Vice and over-indulgence in any form should be avoided, and all important is the maintenance of regular habits.