Oh so sleepy

In addition to suffering from gout, Sir Edward Filmer was prone to excessive sleepiness. His brother Beversham Filmer wrote to him on March 30, 1754:

I shall be heartily glad to have an account of your perfect recovery & particularly if the Docter could any way take off your sleepiness which you have been subject to some years.

An ardent keeper of lists, Sir Edward noted down in his medicinal notebook ‘Mr Dorringtons Rules to Prevent Sleepyness’:

  1. Never to eat to the utmost extention of your stomach [or, as we used to call it as kids, tummy touching table]
  2. Divert yourself as much as you can
  3. Bleed often & always keep your body open
  4. Eat no suppers
  5. Use a sharp stimulating snuff
  6. To ride, or walk, as much as you can
  7. When sleep is the effect of exercise it is natural
  8. Don’t indulge it after dinner [in the eighteenth century this was a late lunch], tho you may possibly fall into it a little without much hurt in very hot weather

So there you are – you can sleep in the middle of the day when you’ve been out exercising, but woe betide those who indulge in a little post-prandial somnolence!


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