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 hours; 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 next 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.