But though it is perfectly plain that badly ventilated sleeping apartments tend greatly to the production of diseases of the lungs, it is not generally understood by the greater number of persons that diseases of the heart are brought on by similar conditions, and there is without doubt a great increase of heart diseases at the present time. It is estimated that upwards of 10,000 people in England alone die yearly from affections of the heart; yet, taking into consideration the ceaseless work of that organ (in the words of the motto upon Goethe's ring, "Ohne Rast" - without rest), it is wonderful that it is not more frequently diseased. It is said that "the heart is a small muscular "organ weighing only a few ounces, beating perpetually "day and night, morning and evening, summer and winter; "and yet often an old man's heart nearly a hundred years "of age is as perfect and complete as when he was a "young man of twenty" (Haughton).
The effect of impure air in its action on the heart is thus spoken of by Dr. Cornelius Black : " I showed the effect of "impure air in promoting the degenerative tendency in "the structures of the heart, and especially those of the "right side of the heart, after the age of forty. I was "then led to a passing consideration of the baneful influ-"ence produced upon the heart by badly-ventilated houses, "schools, manufactories, pits, theatres, underground rail-"ways, and all places of a similar character." "The "impure atmosphere of the bedrooms of the poor, and in-"deed of many of the middle class, caused by deficient " ventilation, proves a sharp spur to the degenerative "tendency manifested by the heart, and especially by the "right side of the heart, after the age of forty." "I "hold that the breathing of impure air is a fruitful "source of disease of the right side of the heart occur-"ring after middle age. How many people ignorantly "favour its occurrence by confining themselves to closely-"shut, non-ventilated, stuffy, stifling rooms, in which the "carbonic acid has accumulated to a poisonous degree in "the air they respire ! How are these evil results to be "prevented ? The simple answer is, let the rooms in "which you live be effectively ventilated by an incoming "current of fresh air, and so arranged that no draught "shall be felt."
Sanitarians who have devoted a good deal of time and study to the working out of questions relating to the amount of fresh air in bedrooms have decided that each person should, if possible, have at least 1,000 cubic feet of space, or in other words, the same amount contained in a room 10 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 10 feet high. It is also estimated that the amount of fresh air entering into a room of this size should be 3,000 cubic feet per hour, that is, the air in each room should be completely changed three times every hour. These observations of course apply only to the least amount of air which every sleeper is strictly entitled to. As a matter of fact, however, any more than this is simply of distinct advantage as far as health is concerned. The bedroom, instead of being the smallest room in the house, as it too often is, should be really the very largest. Now it has been previously stated that foul or vitiated air collects in a sleeping apartment unless there be a continuous circulation of fresh air; and that the noxious exhalations from the breath and skin constitute the chief sources of air pollution. The practical point to discover is how to have this continuous circulation of fresh air throughout the room without causing a draught. Before considering this, a few words on the position of the bed itself will possibly be appropriate. It is always better to have it standing more in the centre of the room with its head against the wall, than to have it jammed alongside the latter. And it certainly should be placed north and south if the shape of the room admits of it. The wire-wove mattress is of great advantage, both for comfort and for coolness; and here in Australia, during the summer months, proper mosquito nettings are as necessary as the bed itself. If the bed is provided with a head-piece, as it should be, there is no difficulty in fitting on the netting.
Every bedroom window should be made to open freely, and what other defects exist - such as the smallness of the apartment, or the absence of a fireplace - can be remedied to a great extent by means of the window. In many instances the bed is placed so near the latter that when it is open there is a strong draught playing directly on the bed, and this is an evil which must be avoided. In such a case, to rectify matters, raise the bottom window a few inches, and have a piece of board made to fit in under it, so as to support the sash and fill in the space between it and the sill. The air freely enters the room between the two sashes, because the top of the lower sash is by this contrivance raised above the lower part of the upper one. Another great advantage is that the air is directed upwards to the ceiling by having to come in over the lower sash, and thus a gentle current of fresh air is constantly being circulated throughout the room without creating any draught. There are other devices to attain the same end, such as having apertures cut in the glass of the windows, but they are not so effective, so inexpensive, nor so simple as the preceding. In many of the better bedrooms there are the long French windows leading on to a balcony, and where such is the case the air current can be regulated to a nicety by having only one of the window-doors open, and directing the ventilation away from the bed. Many people prefer to sleep with the door itself open, and by having a portiere or curtain suspended outside, privacy can be ensured, while an upright screen standing at the head of the bed will effectually ward off any cold currents of air. In our summer weather there is but little difficulty experienced in regulating the air supply, for there is generally a desire to have as much fresh air as possible. Far too many people, however, look upon the bedroom in the light of an oven, where they are to be baked during the hours of repose, and this is the case even during the summer. In the cooler parts of the year they are apt to forget there is just as much necessity for fresh air as in the warm months.
Soiled or dirty clothes should not on any account be allowed to remain in the sleeping apartments, as they arc a constant source of foulness to the air. All unclean linen ready for the wash had better be kept away from the bedroom in one of those long baskets which stand upright and are furnished with a lid. They are admirably adapted for the purpose, and may be obtained for a few shillings from any of the institutions for the blind, where they are made by the inmates. A word of advice, by the way, to those about to travel on a long voyage, is never to forget one of those canvas bags for the soiled clothes : they are invaluable at sea.