Sleeping, is that state of the body, in which the animal functions are suspended.
The proper duration of sleep must be regulated, according to the different constitutions and ages of individuals. Thus, in the first six months of its existence, an infant maybe allowed to sleep the greater part of the day ; but, after that period, it will be necessary to abridge this indulgence, gradually, With the advance of years. For children, from the age of seven years to that of adolescence, and also for aged persons, eight or nine hours of nightly rest will be required ; but for adults, and those who are not obliged to fatigue themselves with mental or bodily exertions, six hours will be sufficient.
The proper hour for retiring to sleep, having already been stated under the article Bed-time, we shall conclude the., subject with a few remarks, on the practices occasionally observed in the nursery. Children, and even infants, are sometimes prevented from going to sleep, by a variety of circumstances, which maternal solicitude only can discover : we conceive it, therefore, our duty, to caution parents and conscientious nurses, against employing artificial means, and particularly opiates or narcotic substances, whether externally or internally, with a view to lull the child to sleep; as these detestable remedies tend to stupify the latent faculties, and to weaken the intellect of such tender constitutions. Equally absurd and injudicious is the practice of terrifying young people to sleep by threats; or of wheedling them by promises ; for, in the former case, they early acquire sentiments of disgust and hatred, which have the most baneful influence on their subsequent conduct: in the latter, they become selfish; and, at length, it will be requisite to pay them for sleeping.