Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V14, Page 645 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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INSECTIVOROUS PLANTS. Insectivorous or, as they are sometimes more correctly termed, carnivorous plants are, like the parasites, the climbers, or the succulents, a physiological assemblage belonging to a number of distinct natural orders. They agree in the extraordinary habit of adding to the supplies of nitrogenous material afforded them in common with other I carried out is no doubt the vaso-motor system, which controls the contraction and dilation of the blood-vessels. In sleep the vessels in the brain automatically contract, but when the brain is working actively a plentiful supply of blood is required, and the vessels are dilated. If the activity is carried to great excess the vessels become engorged, the mechanism does not act and sleep is banished. In insomnia this condition has become fixed. When a breakdown has happened or is pending the only treatment is complete rest, combined, if possible, with change of air and scene; but if the mischief has gone far it will take very long to repair, and may never be repaired at all. In no matter of health is the importance of " taking it early " more pronounced. Delay is the worst economy. A few days' holiday at the commencement of trouble may save months or years of enforced idleness. Sea-air sometimes acts like a charm. But if it is impossible to give up work and leave worry behind, even for a short time, sleep should be carefully wooed by every possible means. In the first place, plenty of time should be devoted to it, and no chance should be missed. That is to say, the night should not be curtailed at either end, and if sleepiness approaches in the daytime, as it often does, it should be encouraged. It is better to lie still at night and try to sleep than to give way to restlessness, and a few minutes snatched in the daytime, when somnolence offers the opportunity, has a restorative effect out of all proportion to the time occupied. Then all accidental causes of disturbance should be avoided. Lights and sounds should be excluded, comfort studied and digestion attended to. Fresh air is a great help. As much time should be spent out of doors as possible, and exercise, even to the point of fatigue, may be found helpful. But this requires watching: in some cases bodily exhaustion aggravates the malady. A little food (e.g. a glass of hot milk) immediately before going to bed is useful in inducing sleep, and persons who are apt to wake in the night and lie awake for hours may obtain relief by the same means. Hypnotic drugs, which have greatly multiplied of late years, should only be taken under medical advice. The real end to aim at is the restoration of the natural function, and the substitution of artificial sleep, which differs in character and effect; tends rather to prevent than to promote that end. It is often possible to induce sleep by rhythmic breathing.

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