Faithful Slumber in Early Modern Households

Sasha Handley (Manchester)
8 January 2015

This paper will explore experiences of sleeplessness in late seventeenth and early eighteenth-century English households. The paper draws on a selection of diaries, personal correspondence, medical receipts and healthcare advice literature to examine the physical and emotional effects of sleep disturbances, the explanations that early modern men and women offered for them, and the remedies that they employed to cure them and to prevent future interruptions to their natural rest. An assortment of sleep disturbances will be distinguished, from persistent ‘watching’ (insomnia), through to more transient experiences of sleeplessness that were intertwined with everyday illnesses and with important moments in the individual lifecycle.

Geographical area: 
History type: