Now, if all houses were built in accordance with the requirements of modern sanitary ideas, there would be but little difficulty in grappling with the problem of bedroom ventilation, for the sleeping apartment would be a well ventilated room, with all the latest contrivances, such as Tobin's ventilators, for the admission of fresh air. But as the greater number of people have to live in rented dwellings in which the rooms are very small, it becomes necessary to know what can be done to remedy existing defects. In the first place the bedroom should always be upstairs if possible; it is decidedly healthier, and there is a better chance for the supply of fresh air. The very worst room in the house that could be chosen for a sleeping apartment would be one on the basement. Then again, a fireplace in the bedroom is a priceless boon, and it is almost impossible to rectify such a deficiency. But as too many rooms are built without it, we are compelled to look to the window for our air supply. It is estimated that nearly one-third of every person's life is devoted to sleep; that is to say, about one-third of it is spent in the sleeping apartment. It is only natural, then, that this room and its surroundings should merit some special attention. As a matter of fact, from a health point of view, it should receive more consideration than all the rest of the house put together, for during our waking horn's we are moving about and constantly changing our location; but during sleep, when life is in abeyance to a certain extent, the system has passively to receive and be supported by whatever pure air the bedroom happens to possess. If, as too often is the case, that chamber is looked upon as a sort of cupboard, where, amongst other things, there is room for a bed, so much the worse for any one who has to sleep there. If the sleeper arises in the morning in a dazed and semi-suffocated state and quite unfitted for the day's work before him, instead of feeling refreshed, there is no occasion to seek far for the cause. For the mental toiler, also, it is equally important that the period devoted to the restoration of brain material and the imbibition of a fresh supply of nerve power for the ensuing day's requirements should be passed under circumstances the most favourable for bestowing them.
From this we see that a due amount of sleep, under favourable circumstances as regards ventilation, is necessary both for brain and muscle; and that, in fact, unless it be forthcoming, there will be an inability for either brain worker or muscle user to properly fulfil his duties nest day. But in addition to this there is still the fact that we have to do with the semi-tropical climate of Australia. It will be as well, therefore, to make reference to what has been said on the subject as far as India is concerned. Sir Joseph Fayrer, whose opinion on such matters must always carry respect, in the course of an address on the preservation of health in that country, went on to say : "It "is very important that you have good sleep, for nothing "in the hot weather more refreshes or invigorates you. "Early rising is the rule in India, and I advise you to "conform to the usual practice."
Sir James Ranald Martin, another authority on Indian affairs, in commenting on the prevention of disease, also calls attention to the need for extra sleep, which is always required in hot climates. He points out that by giving the frame a thorough and complete rest from the great stimulus of heat, both tone and vigour are imparted - providing for the requirements of the coming day, as well as repairing those of the preceding. The general truths contained in the foregoing apply equally to Australia, and during the hot summer months, therefore, it must not be forgotten that an extra allowance of sleep is quite indispensable.
In a great many cases the space under the bed is regarded as an admirable receptacle for a collection of boxes, parcels, hat-boxes, old boots, and other interesting relics, while they are effectually concealed from view by a species of curtain reaching from the bed to the floor. The drapery which thus hangs down is dignified by the name of a "valance," and though originally intended for the purpose of embellishment and ornamentation, it is better that decorative art should be more limited in its application, so as not to interfere with the free circulation of air throughout the room. The sleeping apartment is also considered as being particularly well adapted for the storage of old clothes, and consequently garments of this description are not hidden away, nor furtively concealed, but are triumphantly exposed to gaze in various parts of the room. Indeed, the more obtrusive they are, the better the purpose of the bedroom is believed to be served. If it could be only understood how these unnecessarily occupy the air space of the room, and interfere with its ventilation, this sort of thing would never be tolerated for a moment.
And while on the subject of the accumulation of useless articles in a bedroom, it seems fitting here to devote a few words to another kindred matter, namely, the hoarding up throughout the house of what may literally be designated as lumber. It is astonishing what a number of utterly valueless things are allowed to remain in nearly every household, and it is well remarked that no one ever knows what a collection of rubbish he possesses till he has occasion to remove. There may not be much to be ashamed of in the first load or two of furniture, but at the latter end there is a strong feeling that a dark night would be more adapted for moving - the darker the better. At least every twelve months there should be a regular clearance of worn-out articles, and that miscellaneous collection of odds and ends which can be of no earthly value to anybody, unless he be an antiquary.
Let us now go on to consider what ill effects result from the breathing of vitiated air. In his work, A Manual of Practical Hygiene, Professor Edmund A. Parkes has pointed out: "When air moderately vitiated by respiration "is breathed for any period and continuously, its effects "become complicated with those of other conditions. "But allowing the fullest effect to all other agencies, "there is no doubt that the breathing of the vitiated "atmosphere of respiration has a most injurious result "on the health. The aeration and nutrition of the blood "seems to be interfered with, and the general tone of "the system falls below par. Of special diseases it "appears pretty clear that affections of the lungs are more "common." The volume of air inhaled and exhaled by the adult in the twenty-four hours averages 3G0 cubic feet, or 2,000 gallons, while the amount we take in the shape of liquid or solid food does not amount probably to more than 5 1/2 pints, which is equal to only l-3000th part of the volume of air passed through the lungs. From this it will be seen how necessary it is that such a large amount of air should be perfectly fresh and wholesome, for the lungs act as a pair of immense sponges or absorbers. "When the ventilation does not allow of a continuous supply of fresh air it smells close, and is surcharged with an increased amount of carbonic acid, while the noxious exhalations from the breath and lungs deposit themselves throughout the room. Nor are the ill-effects of impure air confined to man alone, for it is well known that cows, horses, sheep, and other animals, when penned up in close quarters, show an increased death-rate from many diseases.