The human body a perfect machine…How to keep well
Image: A Child’s May Day Party
One can almost tell a man who sleeps in the open by looking at him. His eye is clear and his cheek ruddy. There is no surer way to become well and strong than to become accustomed to this practice. Then you can laugh at the doctor and throw the medicine bottles away. In stating this I know that many parents will not agree with me, and will feel that to advise a boy to sleep in the open when the weather is stormy or extremely cold is almost like inviting him to his death. It is a fact just the same that every one would be healthier and happier if they followed this practice. In a few years I expect to see outdoor sleeping the rule rather than the exception.
Progressive doctors are already agreed on this method of sleeping for sick people. In some hospitals even delicate babies are given open-air treatment in midwinter as a cure for pneumonia. My own experience is that in the two years that I have been an outdoor sleeper, with the snow drifts sometimes covering the foot of the bed, with the wintry winds howling about my head in a northeaster, I have been absolutely free from any trace of coughs or colds. Thousands of others will give the same testimony. According to old-fashioned ideas such things would give me my “death of cold.” It rarely happens that one begins the practice of sleeping out without becoming a firm believer in it.
One of the children of a friend in Connecticut who had just built a beautiful home was taken ill, and the doctor recommended that the child’s bed be moved out on the porch. This was in December. The father also had his own bed moved out to keep the baby company. My friend told me that after the first night he felt like a changed man. He awoke after a refreshing sleep and felt better than he had in years. The whole family soon followed and all the beautiful bedrooms in the house were deserted. The baby got well and stayed well and the doctor’s visits are few and far between in that household.
By all means sleep in the open if you can. Of course one must have ample protection from the weather, such as a porch or piazza with a screen or shelter to the north and west. A warm room in which to dress and undress is also absolutely necessary. If your rest is disturbed by cold, as it will probably be until you become accustomed to it and learn the tricks of the outdoor sleeper, you simply need more covers.
In winter, the bed should be made up with light summer blankets in place of sheets, which would become very cold. Use, as a night cap, an old sweater or skating cap. A good costume consists of a flannel shirt, woollen drawers, and heavy, lumberman’s stockings. With such an outfit and plenty of covers, one can sleep out on the coldest night and never awaken until the winter’s sun comes peeping over the hill to tell him that it is time to get up.
Besides fresh air, another important thing in keeping well is to eat slowly and to chew your food thoroughly. Boys and girls often develop a habit of rapid eating because they are anxious to get back to play or to school. Slow eating is largely a matter of habit as well, and while it may seem hard at first it will soon become second nature to us.
Remember to chew your food thoroughly. The stomach has no teeth. We have all heard of Mr. Horace Fletcher, that wonderful old man who made himself young again by chewing his food.