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On Sleep And Sleeplessness   


difference, doubtless, whether the infants themselves, or their

nurses, drink them), but such persons should drink them [if at all]

diluted with water and in small quantity. For wine is spirituous,

and of all wines the dark more so than any other. The upper parts,

in infants, are so filled with nutriment that within five months

[after birth] they do not even turn the neck [sc. to raise the

head]; for in them, as in persons deeply intoxicated, there is ever

a large quantity of moisture ascending. It is reasonable, too, to

think that this affection is the cause of the embryo's remaining at

rest in the womb at first. Also, as a general rule, persons whose

veins are inconspicuous, as well as those who are dwarf-like, or

have abnormally large heads, are addicted to sleep. For in the

former the veins are narrow, so that it is not easy for the moisture

to flow down through them; while in the case of dwarfs and those whose

heads are abnormally large, the impetus of the evaporation upwards

is excessive. Those [on the contrary] whose veins are large are,

thanks to the easy flow through the veins, not addicted to sleep,

unless, indeed, they labour under some other affection which

counteracts [this easy flow]. Nor are the 'atrabilious' addicted to

sleep, for in them the inward region is cooled so that the quantity of

evaporation in their case is not great. For this reason they have

large appetites, though spare and lean; for their bodily condition

is as if they derived no benefit from what they eat. The dark bile,

too, being itself naturally cold, cools also the nutrient tract, and

the other parts wheresoever such secretion is potentially present

[i.e. tends to be formed].

Hence it is plain from what has been said that sleep is a sort of

concentration, or natural recoil, of the hot matter inwards [towards

its centre], due to the cause above mentioned. Hence restless movement

is a marked feature in the case of a person when drowsy. But where

it [the heat in the upper and outer parts] begins to fail, he grows

cool, and owing to this cooling process his eye-lids droop.

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