196. Soothing Sleep


Sleep is a natural and periodically recurring physiological state. It is characterized by the relative physical and nervous inactivity. It is also known by the lessened responsiveness to the external stimuli.

Sleep is essential for the physical and mental good health and also for their alertness. The hours of sleep needed may vary from person to person. A new born baby sleeps through out the day. An adult needs six to eight hours of sleep usually. Some people seem to go on well without sleep. But it is quite rare. Napoleon is said to steel sleep in tiny installments including when he was riding his trusted steed!

“Sleep” occurs along with many commonly used words adding rich shades of meanings to those words. Well! Here are a few.

“To go to sleep” is to fall asleep or become numb due to the pressure on a blood vessel. “To put to sleep” is to kill an animal in a humane way, to save it from excruciating pain -which is worse than death!

When two persons are “sleeping together” they are living as a “man and his wife”. A girl who is “sleeping around” is immoral in character.

“To sleep in” is to spend the night at the place of employment. But “To sleep on” something is to give it long and through considerations and with hold ones decisions till the next day!

“To sleep out” is to sleep in ones own home rather than at the place of work. “Sleeper” is a person or animal found sleeping. “Sleeper cars” and “sleeper compartments” have beds and bunks in the railway carriages.

A “Sleeping bag” comes in very handy when a person is forced to spend the night in an open area and while camping. It is a large bag with warm and soft lining and has a very long Zipper to enable the person to enter it ad zip himself to its comfort.

“Sleeping draught” is a bed time drink laced with a sedative or a hypnotic drug to induce sleep. This made into a tablet form is the famous” sleeping pill”.

“Sleeping partner” makes a large financial investment in a business but does not get involved in its management. He is also known as “the silent partner”.

A “sleeping police man “ is as effective as a police man awake– even though it is just a small hump built across the road to check the speed of the motorists.

The novel idea of “learning while” sleeping is welcome news to the students of all ages! “Sleep learning” or “Sleep teaching” is a new method evolved in which a person learns by listening to a tape while he sleeps on! The information in the tape is supposed to be absorbed by the sub-conscious mind of the unconscious sleeper.

“Sleeping Sickness” is often a fatal, endemic infectious disease affecting men and animals in The Tropical Africa. It is carried and transmitted by the Tsetse fly. High fever, utter lethargy, lack of interest in everything and total muscular weakness are the symptoms of this strange disease.

Indeed the word “sleep”–usually associated with lack of activities and consciousness– actually works wonders when combined with other common lack-luster words!

Visalakshi Ramani

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